Robot 6

Robot 6 Q&A | Jon Goldwater on Cheryl Blossom

Just when you think they had run out of ways to shock us, Archie Comics delivered some startling news last week: The latest twist in the Life With Archie series is that Cheryl Blossom, the pretty, flirty, wealthy girl of Riverdale, has run up against a problem she can’t take care of with a smile or a credit card: She has breast cancer. (Note for Archie newbies: Life With Archie follows the Riverdale characters as twentysomethings and is not part of the regular Archieverse.) We checked in with Archie co-CEO Jon Goldwater to find out what happened and how this storyline will be handled.

Robot 6: First of all, why Cheryl Blossom? Is it because her identity is so tied up with her appearance?

Jon Goldwater: Well, Cheryl’s such a recognizable character—to fans and people only loosely familiar with Archie. We really wanted this story to resonate, so it had to be an important character that fans could connect with.

Robot 6: Can you tell us a bit about how this particular plot will unfold—how did Cheryl find out she has cancer, how serious is it, how do her family and friends react?

Jon Goldwater: We’ll see how her family reacts in the coming issues—mainly her brother, then her “extended” Riverdale family, which consists of Archie and friends. Cheryl set out to become a big star in LA and gradually found out how difficult that was. In the process, she also discovered that she had breast cancer and realized she had to come home to Riverdale for treatment.

Robot 6: As I understand it, Cheryl will be returning to Riverdale to fight her disease. What does she expect to find, and how will this play out?

Jon Goldwater: Well, we don’t want to give the entire arc away, but suffice to say Cheryl will be an active part of LWA and we’ll see her progress—fighting the disease and dealing with the issues that come with that—in the pages of Life With Archie. She’ll also discover that she has a strong support group in the friends she’s reunited with.

Robot 6: Miss Grundy died quietly of some vague disease—there wasn’t much detail of her diagnosis or treatment, and she sort of faded away. How will Cheryl’s experience be different? Will we see more of the day-to-day life of a cancer patient?

Jon Goldwater: You nailed it, actually. Ms. Grundy’s passing was sudden and while foreshadowed, not a central issue for the series. Cheryl’s illness is something that’s struck one of the gang, and it shows the others how precious life is.

Robot 6: What will her life be like outside of that realm—will she work or have a romantic attachment?

Jon Goldwater: No romantic attachments for now, but we’ll see what she does with her time now that she’s in Riverdale fairly quickly.

Robot 6: Will the story be different in the Archie-Marries-Veronica and Archie-Marries-Betty storylines?

Jon Goldwater: As of now, it’ll be contained within the Archie Marries Betty universe.

Robot 6: Are you going to be grittily realistic and discuss Cheryl’s health insurance situation?

Jon Goldwater: Well, Cheryl’s lucky—she doesn’t have a health insurance situation, because she’s rich. But that fact does not escape her. In fact, she soon realizes that she’s very lucky to be able to afford things like health care, chemotherapy and proper medical attention. That realization helps her see that there are many, less fortunate people who need the same care and attention. It motivates her to fight on their behalf. You’ll see that as her main narrative in the coming months.

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Comments

11 Comments

Whoa, I did not see such a twist like that come into an “Life With Archie” comic. :(

I’m almost glad that it settled in the “Betty” universe of the series, as it is a place where a situation like that can be handled. :(

I didn’t actually know who Cheryl Blossom was until I saw this news story floating around; I have a stack of old Archie Comics at my grandparents’ house that I think date from the late ’70s/early ’80s and she isn’t in a one of them. Is she specific to a particular time period of Archie comics?

Brigid Alverson

March 13, 2012 at 4:34 am

She was introduced in the early 80s but then removed because she was too hot for Archie; she made a comeback in the 90s and has been in the comics on and off since then. I wasn’t reading Archie comics back then, so she’s not part of the traditional canon for me, either, but she definitely is an important character in the Archie world. Her defining characteristics in the regular continuity seem to be that she is rich and sexy, which is why the cancer storyline is an even bigger twist for her than it would be for some of the other characters.

Hmmm…. I don’t think we’ve seen Forsythia “Jellybean” Jones in LWA… or Betty’s siblings.

Will they make appearances the same way, via “very special issues”?

I realize LWA is a soap opera, but this is getting a bit crazy.

I don’t mind this being part of Archie it makes more since then Kev gets an interracial wedding or Miss Grundy dies . If done right this could be educational. I worry that like most stories of Archie it will be ruined a by a bucket load of saccharin

Betty’s sister — a journalist — showed up in LIFE WITH ARCHIE briefly. It was in the “Archie Marries Veronica” storyline, where Reggie ended up on trial for corporate fraud; Betty is dating Reggie in that timeline, and her sister helped uncover some evidence to clear his name.

And bravo for their taking this opportunity to speak up on the realities of American health care. Archie Comics is impressing me more and more with each new storyline, especially in the LWA book but also in Kevin Keller’s title and other “mainstream” Riverdale tales.

Judge Fred MANSON

March 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm

I was first intrigued by the LWA mag. But not hooked. A death of a “second role”? What a surprise! Hum… Maybe this book has something which is special after all. Then the marriage issue. The biggest step forward in all the mainstream comic book industry in the USA! I should have bough this issue but it was to late… And now, Cheryl with her breast cancer.

I do not know about you, but LWA is actually the most thematic mature comic books on the shelves. OK, it is a soap. OK, all the characters have their idiotic smile on their face. OK, the stories are not deep in the treatment of these thematics.

But above all, above being an Archie title – the most iconic character in the US comic books industry, this book is serious. It is really an all age book which treats about real themes in its manners.

It may appears stupid for some, boring for others, excellent for other ones.

I read comic books since the age of 14. I live in France, the country of the 9th art. I have cried once with the best of the best saga in the French graphic novels, “The Quest of The Time Bird” (“La Quete de L’Oiseau du Temps”). Only once.

Now I am feeling “alive” in viewing and reading the reactions about the LWA comic mag. And I really want to be a part of the Riverdale people, to smile and laugh with them, to be in anger with some, to cry about someone turn of life…

This is that that makes a durable and serious comic book: when the readers want to be a part of the universe of the characters and not solely viewers of this universe.

We can say without shame that LWA is the actual true comic book from the mainstream US comic books industry.

There is also the comic books from the indy scene, but this is another discussion.

I have written the LWA on my pull list. And with great pleasure.

I’ve lost a mother and a few other women in my family to breast cancer. I appreciate the idea, I just don’t like the idea of Archie becoming an Afterschool Special just to get press. Just try telling a funny story again.

That is alot of exclamation points!!! And based on the second panel picture of Cheryl – I can’t see her being excited and yelling just a few seconds earlier!! …. “I’m coming home Jase!”

Now that that is out of the way! This is another great story line for LWA!

And when are we gonna see some trades already? I’ve been trying to hunt down the early issues and the are expensive!

… yes, I meant to do them …!! haha…

Brigid Alverson

March 14, 2012 at 4:54 am

@Faust: Archie just published the second trade under the title Archie: The Married Life. I think it came out this week.

@Michael: I’m hoping this won’t be an Afterschool Special but will be an integral part of the storyline—not so much a big dramatic moment as the day-to-day reality of living with breast cancer. Kupperberg is doing a good job of weaving these different elements into an ongoing story, rather than doing one issue here and one issue there, and I expect this will be more of the same.

Thanks Brigid. I’ll have to hunt it down :)

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