Review: Josie and the Pussycats #1 - Can't Improve on Perfection
 
JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS VOL. 2 #1 (2016) - An I Reads You Review

ARCHIE COMICS – @ArchieComics
STORY: Marguerite Bennett and Cameron Deordio
ART: Audrey Mok
COLORS: Andre Szymanowicz
LETTERS: Jack Morelli
COVER: Audrey Mok
VARIANT COVER: Derek Charm, Colleen Coover, Veronica Fish, Francesco Francavilla, Robert Hack, Gisele Legace, Alitha Martinez, Marguerite Sauvage,
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (November 2016)

Josie and the Pussycats began as a 1963 teen-humor comic book entitled She's Josie (cover date: February 1963). Published by Archie Comics, it was created by Dan DeCarlo and focused on the fanciful life and times of a teenager, the sweet and level-headed redhead, Josie. The title was renamed Josie with issue #17 (cover dated: December 1965).

It became Josie and the Pussycats with issue #45 (cover date: December 1969), in which Josie and her friend, Melody, formed a band called the Pussycats. The two friends added bassist Valerie Smith, the new girl in school and one of the first major African-American comic book characters. The trio donned leopard print band uniforms that came with long tails and cat-ear headbands. Hanna-Barbera adapted this new-look Josie into the Saturday morning animated television series, “Josie and the Pussycats,” which ran for two seasons.

The comic book ran until Josie and the Pussycats #106 (cover date: October 1982), but the characters made appearances in other Archie Comics after that and was even the subject of an American manga makeover about a decade ago. Josie and the Pussycats are remade, redesigned, and re-imagined again, this time as part of Archie Comics new-look line of comic books. This new Josie and the Pussycats is written by Marguerite Bennett and Cameron Deordio; drawn by Audrey Mok; colored by Andre Szymanowicz, and lettered by Jack Morelli.

Josie and the Pussycats #1 opens in the bar, “Win Some Booze Some,” in Riverdale. The owner, Pepper, has allowed her pal, Josie, to try out her folksy vocals, but customers are not interested, and even Josie's frenemy, Alexandra, stops by to rub it in. Josie would so like to perform at the charity benefit concert for the Riverdale Animal Shelter, but it is for bands only. Despondent, Josie does not realize how close she is to having a band, but will she know how work it when she gets one?

I have to keep it real. I only have a passing interest in the new-look Archie Comics, and that interest is not strong enough to make me read even the review PDFs I get from Archie Comics. However, I have been in love with Josie and the Pussycats since I was a tyke, so I gave this new look a look.

It isn't bad. Actually, this first issue is average, at best. Honestly, my Josie is drawn by Dan DeCarlo and the other Archie Comics artists who mimicked DeCarlo's style for four decades of Josie comics. New-look Josie artist, Audrey Mok, draws beautiful covers, but her interior art for Josie and the Pussycats #1 but does not rise to the level of her cover art for issue #1. The story is OK, and I might come back for the second issue and maybe a third issue if the second issue entices me.

But this ain't my Josie. This really isn't Josie, but to be fair, I won't grade this series, yet.

[This issue reprints the Josie and the Pussycats story, “Pussy Footing,” which was written by Dick Malmgren; drawn by Dan DeCarlo (pencils) and Rudy Lapick (inks); and lettered by Bill Yoshida.]

Now, these are my girls. I think “Pussy Footing” was one of two Josie chapters in Josie and the Pussycats #45. I love it. Now, I need to get to eBay.

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


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