|Maureen is surprised to find out the
men in suits she's now surrounded by are not the police,
but the very "United Group of Humans" Wonder
Blunder mentioned earlier. Citizens standing around the
public scene murmur about their alleged brutality, while
the redhead who's still sitting in the shadows suggests
her ulterior motive for following them is to bring them
to someone called "Jabberjaws" (not to be
confused with the talking Curly shark thing). Then, on
the next page, she suggests her motive is to get Wonder
Blunder alone because she's hot for him.
The UGH has shoved Mortimer and WB into their van and insists Maureen must get in as well. In complete contrast to the cowardly wailer Maureen was mere pages ago, she suddenly screams "I DON'T HAFTA GO AND YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!" and kicks the tar out of a UGH member dressed like a Hare Krishna. She then tries to pull her friends out of the van, but it speeds away before she can succeed.
The Girl in the Shadows we've seen for pages and pages finally appears in full: it's April O'Neil???
No, it's not, April hadn't been invented yet. It's just a wacky coincidence.
|She introduces herself as Clarissa,
and explains it all: her father holds a big position in
the order of the galaxy, and as she insists repeatedly,
this makes Clarissa a "Very Important Person"
with capitalized letters. She also tells Maureen the UGH
went after her because they thought she'd kidnapped
Wonder Blunder. They got this idea because somebody
called in a phony report.
Maureen asks who would do a dumb thing like that, and Clarissa nervously says, "Dunno."
Clarissa leads Maureen to her father's mansion, only to find she's been double-crossed. Her father is in a cage and "Jabberjaws" is running the joint. He orders his robot guards to put both the girls into....THE ATOMIC DECALCIFIER!! No, not that! TO BE CONTINUED!
|This one is going to be a little
harder to understand, as the missing chapter 7 introduced
a new character, Reptilicus (whose appearance I shouldn't
have to describe). Mr. Licus makes a remark that suggests
Jabberjaws is his uncle, but there isn't much resemblance
there. And apparently the entire missing chapter took
place inside the Atomic Decalcifier, which was built to
fillet fish by vaporizing their bones. They gots fish in
Also, Clarissa's dad already fell into the Decalcifier, so...sucks to be him.
Another reason this chapter is harder to understand is that most of it consists of an action sequence staged confusingly. In order to escape the Decalcifier with their lives, Maureen, Clarissa and Reptilicus have to swing on a pendulum, push a platform down, break a hole through the wall, and then ride the pendulum again to escape through the hole. I just saved you a few minutes of staring at the page trying to decipher what's happening in each panel, but you can still try if you want to.
|Once they jump through the hole, they
find themselves stuck again, but this time in the narrow
space between the machine and the wall. Reptilicus offers
to cut a hole through the wall with his jet-boots.
Unfortunately there was water on the other side of that
wall, and it begins flooding the area.
Maureen and her allies quickly swim through the opening, to find.....they're now inside a washing machine owned by Clarissa's neighbors. They break free to the surprise and bewilderment of the frumpy couple whose home they've broken into. "Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Bystandre," Clarissa sheepishly says while dripping with suds.
|So remember that Rudy Lapick guy I was
complaining about on the last page? He inked this one,
and as you can see, it's barely better than when Lori did
In the missing chapter 9 Maureen and company made it back to the Gypsy Moth, only to find it now taken over by Grossniks, who were using it to hold prisoners. A Grossnik then knocked Maureen out and demanded the others surrender.
As chapter 10 begins, Clarissa throws a fit. "I'll have you know that MY FATHER is a VERY IMPORTANT PERSON, and I'm a WITCH!" So she's a witch now?
In the commotion, Maureen gets back up and wanders off. The Grossnik demands someone find her immediately. While her friends also start looking, Maureen thinks to herself she'd better ditch the whole lot because "every time one of those goofs saves me, I wind up in hotter water than before!"
|While strolling down the street
thinking about her next move, Maureen runs into two
aliens who suspect her of being a spy. They mention they
belong to the "War-Hating Optimists," or the
"WHO," leading to a little Abbott and Costello
routine. It turns out organizations are huge on Izod.
Every time Maureen says a word, they think she's
referring to an organization. She says that's dumb, and
the short one asks, "You mean the Democratic Union
of Married Beagles?"
Finally, they scream "A BLOB!" and run for the hills. "Great, the 'Bird-brained League Of Boobs'?" Maureen grumps, but it turns out there really IS something hideous behind her. Remember Clarissa's father, the Very Important Person? You thought he died from falling into the Atomic Decalcifier, right?
No, he just lost all his bones, and in the Lori Walls School of Anatomy, this turns you into the following image:
|After another missing chapter, Maureen
is back in the Gypsy Moth, and all the extra guests seem
to be gone, but Gumbrayne has now found them and they are
surrounded by his troops (who appear nervous about having
to deal with teenagers, har har). Also, the art is back
to being respectable again.
Maureen's friends explain to her that Gumbrayne wasn't the right guy to whiz off, as he controls a large portion of the galaxy and would like to add the rest of the universe under his ownership. Then they offer an explanation for all the organizations on Izod, which makes absolutely no sense:
Let me get this straight....when Gumbrayne found out about all these organizations dedicated to getting rid of him, he didn't shut any of them down....he made it illegal to NOT join one??
|And thus, the real reason Gumbrayne
and the Grossniks are after Maureen isn't because of
anything she's done, but simply because she doesn't
belong to any organized group, therefore violating his
law. Maureen offers, "Well, I was in the Girl Scouts
once, but got kicked out for having a temper."
When the crew doesn't come out, Gumbrayne orders his soldiers to fire at the Gypsy Moth, which they do. It turns out the ship is bulletproof and nothing happens, so Gumbrayne orders that BOMBS be dropped now. Nothing happens still, either because the Moth is that well-built, or the plane pilots' aim is that bad. Maybe it's the latter, because throughout all this, Mortimer is casually walking across the lot like nothing's going on around him.
When Mort knocks on the door, Maureen mistakes it for soldiers trying to burst in and takes the Gypsy Moth into the sky. Gumbrayne's goons follow in pursuit, while the always-morose Mortimer hangs onto the side as the ship careens through the Izod metropolis. TO BE CONTINUED!
|Maureen weaves through the buildings
(actually, she crashes directly through them) trying to
evade Gumbrayne. Reptilicus discovers Mortimer on the
side of the ship, but is bumped out the window himself
when the ship lurches, so they're now both hanging there.
Then the ship's computer, which has never helped them out
before and never will again, tells everyone in robotic
font that Maureen just pushed the
"Space-Skater" switch, which will send them
into hyperspace. The ship blasts off, but Licus and Mort
are still out there!!
But everything's okay, because you can breathe in space. An instant later, they're out of Izod's orbit and away from Gumbrayne's goons.....but now the Gypsy Moth is out of gas. They're stranded. TO BE CONTINUED!
|Fair warning: this is the part you're
never going to forget.
Mortimer and Reptilicus re-board the ship. Maureen refers to Mortimer as "Mort, ol' sock!" and asks if he knows where to find some gas. Mort never answers because the subject gets changed: Clarissa bursts into tears at the sight of her father, who's now turned completely green and is fading fast.
Mr. DuBois can't do much for himself at this point, but he slithers out "I TOOK SOME VITAMINS." Wonder Blunder wonders how, and Clarissa assumes he can just absorb them through his skin. Maureen thinks, maybe there's a way to give him calcium so he can grow new bones.
Thinking about how eggshells are full of calcium, she cracks a bunch of eggs, puts the shells in a bowl and shoves them into DuBois' goopy body. He's also cold, so someone dumps tabasco sauce on him. Wonder Blunder points out, "wouldn't egg shells make for pretty brittle bones?" "That's why I got THESE!" says Reptilicus proudly, holding up an armful of rakes.
|None of that seems to take, and
neither does 13 boxes' worth of high-fiber cereal, so
Reptilicus throws some D-size batteries into him. Maureen
takes his temperature, and gets a reading of one hundred
and eighty-three, and she can't tell if it's Fahrenheit
or Celsius. As a result of all the special care,
Clarissa's dad rises up sporting a melting face from
hell, roars in agony, and catches on fire. And
it's NOT over!
Wonder Blunder tries to examine DuBois but is grabbed by a big slime tentacle and thrown across the room. Reptilicus walks up to scold DuBois as if THEY'RE the ones being treated worse in proportion ("you've got some nerve, mister!") but Maureen screams that he's dangerous and shoves Licus out of the way. Clarissa's dad grabs Maureen instead, throwing her around like a rag doll.
|This is truly horrific. It might've
been funny in a dark sort of way, if his daughter wasn't
right there watching the whole thing. Actually, not even
Clarissa seems bothered by these events now, using her
time instead to scold Maureen and hit on Wonder Blunder.
WB and Reptilicus don't seem fazed by the giant howling flaming monstrosity either, and instead stand around dumping exposition and backstory about Gumbrayne and Jabberjaws. Jabberjaws works for Gumbrayne, and infiltrates the defenses of unsuspecting planets before Gumbrayne can get to them. But Jabberjaws would like to rule the universe as well, and he and Gummy are constantly backstabbing one another. Jabby's latest move was to take over Mr. DuBois's job.
"He was an air traffic controller," says WB. "Ah, but he who controls the traffic controls the world!" Licus points out.
The opening page does explain a bit more about Mr. DuBois: he's "a normal human father with a very nice job, and a daughter who thinks she's a witch." So she's NOT a witch now?
|Meanwhile Mr. DeBlob has taken Maureen
elsewhere in the ship, where she meets up again with
Mortimer. Guess what, it's even worse: due to all the
chemicals and crap everybody shoved into him, Clarissa's
father is about to explode. Lori, you sick
Just when you thought the Grossnik stowaway had been forgotten, he reappears at this moment, and connects the Gypsy Moth monitor directly to Gumbrayne. Gummy orders the Grossnik to kill Maureen right then and there for a large cash reward. Maureen warns the bug that she's sitting on an unstable, flammable nightmare, but the Grossnik doesn't listen and repeatedly fires his laser.
It's up to Mortimer now. "Hey, there's medicine in here," Mort shouts, pointing to a laboratory. Mr. DuBois quickly slithers into the room, shoving Maureen aside and pushing the Grossnik in. Mort quickly locks the door behind them. No, there was no medicine in there; no hope.
So is this heartless crew really going to let Clarissa's father explode in this story?
Yes, they are, and Maureen thinks for a second about cleaning up that room, but decides "nah, let's let Clarissa do it." OUR HEROINE!
|As the opening narration to this
chapter points out, the Gypsy Moth is still stranded in
space. The position in Laugh has been gone for a
while, so at one chapter every two months, it seems like
a really bad time to devote an entire six pages to a
petty argument between Maureen and Clarissa instead of
resolving anything. At least the art is the best-looking
of any chapter I could find.
But, as I guess someone will point out, these ARE teenagers and they're GOING to do stupid reckless things, like stuff a bunch of harmful chemicals into a hapless disabled man, set him on fire and blow him up. It's the same rationale people keep using to defend Korra every time she acts like an unbearable ass.
Anyway, if they're trapped in the vacuum of space with a presumably finite air supply, and they want to spend their time flunking the Bechdel Test, then I guess so be it. Clarissa accuses Maureen of being mean to her because she wants Wonder Blunder to fall in love with her; 'cause Clarissa thinks that'd turn him on? Maureen laughs and says she has no romantic interest in ol' WB. Reptilicus, though, has developed a massive crush on Maureen and it's the main reason he switched sides after working for his uncle.
|Clarissa warns Maureen that she better
watch it, because she's a WITCH and she'll "zap you
between the eyeballs!" So back to this question. Is
Clarissa a witch or not? We do get an answer in the
following pages: she isn't, but she uses parlor tricks to
make people believe she is. I guess that would make the
information we've been fed so far consistent.
Upon hearing this threat, boy does Maureen unload into Clarissa:
Clarissa gets so angry, she declares she'll put a curse on Maureen right then and there. She has her bat Cecily turn out the lights, then she stuffs a plasma cannon and a flamethrower into each of her sleeves. She yells evil-sounding incantations and makes a big show of it, but Maureen doesn't buy any of it for a second; she's laughing her head off through the whole spectacle. This is in contrast to WB and Licus, who fully believe everything they're seeing and beg Clarissa to stop.
"Hey Clarissa, why
don't you summon the ghost of Sherlock Holmes, and ask
him to look for your marbles?" Maureen laughs.
Sherlock Holmes was a character.
Maureen finally ends Clarissa's showboating by nailing her with her squirt gun. I haven't mentioned this is her main weapon, which she keeps filled with "the smelliest cologne in the entire drugstore." I think Lori could have pleased the censors with a laser ray instead of something more overtly childish.
Now sprayed with stink, Clarissa storms off to the barracks fuming. She should be even more mad when she picks the exact room her father blew up in, but.....things turn out differently.
It turns out the blob survived his own explosion....somehow. When are they going to put this poor thing out of his misery??
Thanks to an idea sent in by a reader, Clarissa thinks she knows how to restore her father: the $6 Build-A-Bionic Kit. If it's good enough for a chihuahua, it's good enough for Pop.
Did it work? I really don't know. The next and last Maureen chapter I could track down was #20, where things had completely changed.
|After over a dozen extremely long
titles, seeing the name of this one listed so short is
jarring. There's also a completely different ship being
used, and the only other passenger on it besides Maureen
is Mortimer. It's still Lori Walls handling the script
and pencils, but Maureen has a new, hideous hairstyle.
This is also a new plot that has nothing to do with anything we've read before. A part is busted in this mysterious new ship Maureen has, so she must land somewhere as soon as possible. She picks a deserted asteroid....only she thinks it's deserted.
Soon enough, of all things, a giant bird starts pecking at her windows, causing her to squeal "WHERE'S COLONEL DANDERS WHEN YOU NEED HIM?" I don't think KFC would really care if an Archie comic mentioned their mascot by name. They've become more relaxed about this sort of thing in recent years, thankfully.
This time, Maureen even points out the implausibility by yelling "BIRDS CAN'T LIVE IN SPACE!" She could call Izod for help, but she refuses to do anything until "Clarissa apologizes." With survival instincts this bad, how has Maureen lasted twenty chapters?
|They eventually figure out it wasn't
an asteroid they landed in, but a nest for two giant
space birds who think the new ship is their egg now. TO
BE CONTINUED.....maybe. This was the last Maureen story I
As you can tell, there's a moral to Maureen's entire story, and that moral is: just because you can put anything on a piece of paper doesn't mean you should. I can't believe this kind of material ran alongside average, normal, healthy Archie stories like this one!
Err.....on second thought. Maureen fit in pretty well.