On the road back to ‘Josie’
There was nowhere else to go but up and in ‘Josie’ particular case, back. After years of indifference, a failed movie, a Manga false start and behind-the-scenes politics and its related lawsuits, Archies Comics has finally reformed and revived ‘Josie & The Pussycats’.
….and in the middle of Archie’s move from their traditional simpleton comics to higher quality titles within the past 5 years, she is positioned perfectly for a proper comeback and what better way to do it by going back to her origins.
Issue #1 starts off with Josie flying solo at an empty coffee café, a perfect menu of a disastrous night. In the middle of being consulted by employee and friend, Pepper, Alexandria dances in the middle of their session and hands out her poisonous vibe. It is then revealed that Josie and Alexandra were once dear friends. “You got sick on the same Kermit the Frog cupcakes at your fifth birthday!!”, proclaims Pepper. “Yeah, Well friendship’s a lot more than puking together, Pepper”, Josie retorts. Pepper replies, “I did Greek week all wrong, then”
The plot moves quickly when Pepper suggests Josie to perform at an animal shelter benefit to break out of her rut. From there, Josie tries to talk her roommate, Melody, into tagging along.
In fact, it is at the animal shelter the next day where we first meet Valerie, who proves to be quite useful to Josie new musical plan by calming all the pets in the shelter with her powerful voice after cat-lover obsessed monster Melody innocently freaks out; both herself and the pets. (BTW, don’t ask about Melody’s name of her new cat, it’s a long one)
From here, the plot shifts to the trio’s debut at the benefit and despite Alexandria ’s attempt to poison their party even before the concert is over, it is a success with one more returning character showing up in the final frame, which I’ll let you find out for yourself.
The plot might sound simple as Archie comics of yore, but there’s depth in character development and dialogue thanks to a quality script written by Marguerite Bennett and Cameron Deordio. Josie is still “rated teen”, but now Archies are now treating their readers with some intelligence to the point that ‘old school’ fans can enjoy without feeling self-conscious. Plus, the art by Audrew Mok meets this new challenge perfectly.
….and being an ‘old school’ fan myself, there are a couple more reasons why I enjoyed this issue. First is the return of Pepper, an original Josie cast member from the pre-Pussycats days.
Second, and more personal, I’m glad to read Josie creator’s name, Dan DeCarlo, printed! At the end of this issue, writer Chris Cummins gives a brief summary of Josie history with Dan’s influence all over it, which is followed by a re-print of the first Pussycat strip, ‘Pussy Footing’ with DeCarlo’s name in the credits.
On a personal level, this issue culminates to some sort of closure and a new beginning; the company use to burn many bridges with fans, artists and the rest of the comic industry left and right for decades and now with new calmer blood in charge, there is a more brighter and hopeful future for our favorite red-head.
As for the issue itself….well, you get the idea by now. Ranting is done and let the music begin!
P. S.: I still have issues with this Archies Meet The Ramones "thing". Maybe they're trying to hard...