Tuesday, September 27, 2011
She's Josie #9
In the late 1940s and 1950s, the Archie brand exploded. Archie's buddy Jughead got his own magazine, as did his girlfriends Betty and Veronica. The character proved so popular that they even started publishing Little Archie, the adventures of our hero as a tyke.
But at the same time, the publisher wanted to diversify. In 1959, Jack Kirby was between his short-term gig at DC Comics (where he created Challengers of the Unknown) and his famed period at Marvel. Archie Comics commissioned Joe Simon and him to create a new superhero, initially known as The Fly (later redubbed Flyman). For the next several years Archie Comics labored to create a superhero universe with The Jaguar, a resurrected Shield, Steel Sterling and other superheroes, collectively known as the Mighty Crusaders.
Ironically, nothing worked except a female version of Archie named Josie. Josie had pretty much the standard backup cast for a teen comic. There's Josie's ditzy blonde friend Melody, her (initially beatnik) boyfriend Albert, wealthy Alexander, and brainy (but plain-looking) Pepper. The comic does not appear to have been a big success at first; I don't remember ever seeing these in the spinner rack in my hometown. But it got lucky. In 1968-1969, a Saturday Morning show featuring Archie in the inevitable rock band was picked up by CBS. It was a huge success, and the group who recorded under the name The Archies came up with a smash hit in the song Sugar, Sugar. Josie quickly became a rock star too, her comic was renamed Josie and the Pussycats, and their Saturday morning cartoon debuted in 1970.
All that was far in the future at the time this issue came out. As you can probably guess, this issue featured Josie and her pals going to the New York World's Fair of 1964-65. Comics often did tie-ins to major events like this, although I confess this is one of the only ones that I can remember for that World's Fair. Which is remarkable, because Marvel's characters were all set in the New York metropolitan area at that time. The story starts out with Josie announcing that she and her pals are going to enter a contest:
Melody eventually turns up with the kid in tow; he's apparently been following her. Unfortunately, he gave the wallet to his mom, and now he's lost. They suggest putting him on the TV at the fair, but:
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
I am surprised. You don't remember "The Flintstones at The New York World's Fair"?
Archie Comics didn't commission Jack Kirby to create a new superhero, known as The Fly. Archie Comics commissioned Joe Simon. Joe Simon then commissioned Jack Kirby to draw some of the stories.
At least one Marvel character made it to the New York World's Fair in 1964 -- Mille the Model. Millie spends a day at the World's Fair in Mille the Model #124(Nov 1964).
Damn, my commenters are good!
Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane both went there in their comics, I think....
wow. I had no idea Josie had a history prior to the Pussycats. Very interesting.
It's remarkable how big box-top coupons were back then. Rocky and Bullwinkle had a story in which Boris plunges the economy into chaos by mass-producing boxtops and then obtaining all the premiums.
Also may be worth noting that Challengers of the Unknown was co-created by Simon and Kirby together as one of the last things they came up with as business partners. When they split, Simon gifted the concept to Kirby and he took it to DC. At the same time Simon and CC Beck were trying out a new strip to be called Spiderman. It went unpublished, but ultimately formed the basis for the Fly...
Post a Comment