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Comic Book / Josie and the Pussycats

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The first issue of Josie's own title.

Josie and the Pussycats is the eventual title of a long-running Archie Comics feature starring the redheaded Josie. Josie was originally created by Archie mainstay Dan DeCarlo as the star of a proposed newspaper comic strip. She instead ended up becoming an Archie spinoff character, debuting in Archie's Pals and Gals #23 (Winter 1962-1963) shortly before getting her own title, She's Josie.

Originally, she was something of a Distaff Counterpart Archie Expy, a levelheaded and easy-going girl whose best friends were Dumb Blonde Melody and Brainy Brunette Pepper.

Following Filmation's success with The Archie Show in 1968, Hanna-Barbera sought to develop its own Archie property. Since The Archie Show also produced a number of hit records by The Archies, Archie Comics revamped the Josie property to support similar crossover possibilities. Josie became the headliner of a band, Valerie, a new girl at school, was introduced as that band's new bassist, and Josie's series was retitled Josie and the Pussycats in late 1969. The animated Josie and the Pussycats debuted in September of 1970.

Although the Josie and the Pussycats title was canceled in 1982 (followed by a brief revival on the heels of the 2001 feature film), Josie and her friends remained regular Archie Comics fixtures and appeared every so often in other comics. In 2010, Valerie became a love interest for Archie Andrews, a romance that was explored (as with his longtime romantic interests Betty and Veronica) in What If? stories that show an older Archie and Valerie marrying and having a baby together. And then, in 2016, a new ongoing Josie and the Pussycats series was launched as part of the Archie Comics revamp, featuring Josie, Melody and Valerie as twenty-somethings who try to make it big in the music world.

"Josie and the Tropes":

  • Adaptational Wealth: The canon couple, Josie McCoy / James Depending on the Writer and Alan Mayberry are targeted by Shipping Torpedo Spoiled Brats Alexander and Alexandra Cabot. The Cabots are as stupendously wealthy as the Lodges. However, in the Animated Adaptation Josie and the Pussycats by Hanna-Barbera, the Cabot twins seem to be scraping by along with the Pussycats. Only a throwaway line by Alexandra to the manager of a wrecked department store to "put it on Daddy's account" gives any clue that Cabots have resources. It was felt that having wealthy teens buy their way out of scrapes would be detrimental to plot development, so the Cabot twins were kept on a tight financial leash. Archie Comics would later Retcon this as Mister Cabot getting his "worthless progeny" out of his hair by having them manage an all-girl garage band on a global whirlwind tour.
  • Alliterative Name: Josie, sometimes, though the comics are inconsistent about whether her surname is Jones or James, or whether it's McCoy as in the 2001 film.
  • All Witches Have Cats: Alexandra Cabot has witchcraft powers, which may depend upon having her cat Sebastian with her, Depending on the Writer. Even with her familiar's help, Alexandra's magic is always fragile or off-target.
  • Animesque: It received a short-lived "manga" incarnation in the 2000s, which focused on the group's attempt to reach fame rather than on their career after they have already achieved it.
  • Author Appeal:
    • Josie was based on Dan DeCarlo's wife, also named Josie. As you can see here, the real-life Josie also filled out a pussycat costume nicely.
    • Pepper was based on Dan DeCarlo's son's girlfriend.
  • Beatnik: Albert, who plays a guitar, doesn't cut his hair, and hangs out in coffee houses. When hippies replaced beatniks in pop culture, he was dropped from the comic and replaced with the hippie Clyde Didit, who looked almost exactly the same except with Cool Shades.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: Melody, Valerie, and Josie, respectively. Although Valerie could be both Brains and Brawn.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Originally, Melody, Pepper, and Josie. Later, Melody, Valerie, and Josie.
  • Brainless Beauty: Melody, beauty and ditzy.
  • Brainy Brunette: Pepper.
  • The Bus Came Back: Alexandra having magical powers, along with Sebastian, had been missing since the 80s. A 2014 issue brought them back.
  • Cat Girl: The theme of the Pussycats. They are examples of costume wearing cat girls.
  • Cool Shades: Clyde Didit.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Josie's friends Pepper, Albert, and Sock vanished from the feature in the 1969 Retool, though Pepper returned for a brief cameo in a 2007 story.
  • Creator Cameo: Josie #38 has an teenaged Dan De Carlo running into Josie with the usual results when he meets Melody.
  • Darker and Edgier: For a while in the early '70s, the comics featured adventure and even horror stories in addition to the typical Archie-style humor. This trend may have reached its apex with the story "Vengeance from the Crypt". In this story (no doubt inspired by The Exorcist), Josie is a victim of straight-up, no-kidding Demonic Possession! (Don't worry, Satan is ultimately banished by the Cabot family Bible!)note 
  • Deadpan Snarker: Pepper. Valerie also developed into this after her first few appearances.
  • Dispel Magic: The Rich Bitch Alexandra Cabot can cast witchcraft spells, but these are fragile spells whose effects are ended by as little as Melody Valentine snapping her fingers, which Melody is wont to do.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Josie and her early friends were very much opposite-gender versions of the Archie gang- a redhead hero, a quirky best friend, a blonde nice character and a brunette nasty one competing over the hero, etc.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Melody is the poster girl for this trope. When male characters see her, they uncontrollably fall for her and lose all sense of anything else, frequently leading to chaos; although, she is usually oblivious to this.
    • She nearly got lynched by a town full of angry teenage girls whose boyfriends got distracted by her. And she only escaped because Alan M is her male counterpart.
    • She is also a dumb blonde. One time they put her in a heavy fur coat, and the guys are STILL going crazy, which prompts Josie to say, "I dunno. Maybe they have good memories?" And she ignores it.
    • In another, Melody chases off some boys to get "peace and quiet," while Josie and Valerie get depressed.
  • The Ditz: Melody. She is an absent-minded, bubbly sort of character often taken to using silly, nonsense language, and provides much of the comic relief of the series.
  • Dumb Blonde: The blonde Melody is a classic example. There was a story in which she was certain that nylons were an endangered animal and that Josie and Alexandra's fake fur coats were made from "cute, cuddly orlons".
  • Dumb Is Good: Melody may not have a very big brain, but she certainly has a very big heart, making her one of the nicest Archie characters, especially in the animated series!
  • Dumb Muscle: Sock
  • Expy: Several from its sister series, as well as some from other franchises:
    • Josie herself is a near-Expy for Archie.
    • Pepper has a similar role to Jughead, both being the snarky, yet extremely loyal friend of the main character. while also being more emotionally reserved than the others when it came to the opposite sex. The only difference is that Pepper lacks Jughead's love for food.
    • Alexandra, of Veronica Lodge. Same attitude (though Alexandra almost never gets a Pet the Dog moment), same dark hair (with a white streak in it in Alexandra's case), same role towards the Nice Girl Josie. The only difference is that Alan M, her romantic target, scarcely reciprocates her feelings at all - that, and the fact that she had magic powers for a time.
    • Alexander is just a much richer Reggie Mantle.
    • Sock is Moose Mason without the exaggerated lack of intelligence, ie. still pretty dumb but realistically dumb.
    • One issue had the Cabot siblings dress up as Mighty Man and Mighty Girl, obvious Batman and Robin expies. Because of The comic's habits of following pop-culture trends, there is no doubt they were created due to the popularity of the TV adaptation at the time of the issue's release.note 
  • Femme Fatale: Melody becomes this on the rare occasions when she stops being the Innocent Fanservice Girl and deliberately tries to seduce men.
  • Freudian Trio: Melody the Id, Josie the Ego and Valerie the Superego.
  • Fur Bikini: Josie and the Pussycats wear them occasionally. Melody sometimes will wear one in contrast to one-pieces worn by Josie and Valerie.
  • Gender Bender: In the Archie Comics story "The Great Switcheroo", Sabrina the Teenage Witch's cat, Salem, casts a spell that changes the sex of everybody in Riverdale. This includes Josie and the Pussycats, who perform as "Joey and the Junkyard Dogs".note 
  • Glasses Are Sexy: An issue has Melody gets glasses, and for some reason, attracts even more guys (if that's even possible), which prompts Josie and Valerie to pretend to be blind in order to get glasses themselves.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: One issuenote  dealt with Josie preparing herself in order to make a coronation speech, but starts to make horrible rhymes thanks to being serenaded by Albert. Pepper's solution? Ask Melody to "make love" to Albert. She really means to make Albert become crazy about her instead of Josie.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: Running Gag is that Melody causes this reaction wherever she goes, and is too naive/dumb to notice.
  • Hot Witch: Alexandra, in a number of stories, was secretly a witch, with Sebastian as her familiar, and would often use her magic or mischief or to get back at Josie for perceived wrongs — though it would almost always backfire on her in some way. The original concept was that she was descended from a warlock named Sebastian Cabot, who had re-incarnated as her black-and-white cat — and so, whenever she held Sebastian in her arms she could cast all kinds of spells. It would vary from story to story whether she needed Sebastian or not; in some stories her powers wouldn't work without him, while in others she was fine working magic even if he wasn't around. It also varied wildly whether Alexander knew about her magic or not.
  • Inept Mage: Alexandra, in the issues where she had magical powers. "I seem to be some sort of an inaccurate witch."
  • Informed Deformity: Several early issues imply Pepper is supposed to be unattractive.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: One comic has Melody try to undress in front of men, only to be shielded from view by "spoilsport" Josie.
  • I Owe You My Life: The plot of issue #8.
  • It's Fake Fur, It's Fine: Alexandra switches her furs to this, but Melody thinks she just killed a bunch of orlons.
  • Jerkass: Alexandra. Also, Alexander can slip between this and Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Large Ham: While this fell to Alexandra in the cartoon, Alexander often exemplified this trope in the comics.
  • Love Triangle: A minor one between Josie, Albert, and Alexander at first, though Alexander was clearly somewhat unwanted. With the "Pussycats" retool came Alan M., and then it became purely unrequited on Alex's part.
  • Malaproper: Melody does this frequently. One story has Josie and Valerie shocked that "she finally got one right!" In another story, Melody's 'mixed-up maxims' are mistaken for Spy Speak, and she's handed something from another agent, because she inexplicably rattled off a code-phrase!
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Melody. She wears the skimpiest outfits and draws all the male attention.
    • All of the Pussycats qualify. They perform in basically one-piece leopard swimsuits with heels and bare legs.
  • New Season, New Name: Twice, the comic was initially called She's Josie (see image above), then changed its name to Josie starting with issue #17, only to change its name to (the obviously most famous title) Josie and The Pussycats starting with issue #45.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between: Melody is the ditzy but nice one, Alexandra is the mean and sarcastic one, and Josie is really nice, if not as nice as Melody.
  • Obliviously Beautiful: Melody. Often she misinterprets the reason why men are interested in her.
  • Pretty in Mink: Alexandra.
  • Retool: She's Josie was a fairly simple series, featuring Josie as a red-haired everygirl who had a snarky, odd-dressing best friend, a nice blond and a nasty brunette fighting over her, a rich rival, etc. Basically a Distaff Counterpart Archie. When Hanna-Barbera asked the Archie company for another group to mimic the success of "The Archies," Josie suddenly shifted into being defined by her existence in a band. Best friend Pepper was dropped, Token Black Friend Valerie was added, and the focus of the feature became "traveling band" instead of a regular teens in high school.
  • Rhyming Wizardry: When Alexandra Cabot casts a spell, it can be done with or without her familiar, Sebastian. Always, however, the spell must rhyme, even though it tends to be fragile or off-target. One particular instance happens when she aims to counter-prank her brother by making inanimate objects near him hurl snarky comments. An addendum to the spell makes the remarks only audible to Alex, not his companions.
    Alexandra: Girls, I'm turning off your ears / What comes next, only Alex hears.
  • Rich Bitch: Alexandra, the sarcastic and selfish twin sister of the Pussycats' manager, Alexander.
  • Rock Trio: A pop version that, in the cartoon, swapped the bass guitar with a tambourine.
  • Sexily Modest: In one classic installment, they had to go after Melody, who had wandered off in an extremely skimpy costume and was causing men to stare at her and have accidents all around. When they found her, they gave her a bedsheet to cover up with. But Melody managed to arrange the sheet over her to look like a form-fitting evening gown, so she simply couldn't help looking sexy.
  • Shoo Out the New Guy: The issue that introduced Alan M. also introduced two other new characters as potential regulars, The Unintelligible drummer Gloomer and his girlfriend/translator Instant Replay. Neither one ever appeared again.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Alexander and Alexandra. Alexander believes he's the only person on Earth that can out-nasty his sister, and Alexandra believes that nobody else knows how to make her brother look like a fool than she does. There were several instances where Josie (whenever Alexandra was trying to steal away Albert) or her friends (whenever Alexander was trying to steal away Josie) would enlist the help of one Cabot to sabotage the plans of the other. Eventually, they realized how counterproductive this was and started forming temporary alliances so both could get what they wanted
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Melody is so beautiful that almost any man who sees her gets Distracted by the Sexy and suffers Amusing Injuries.
    • A story before the Retool involved her trying to lose this, as Alexander had entered her in a beauty contest but her parents threatened to disown her if she came home with another trophy. Josie and Pepper's attempts to hide their friend's allure from men but it results in her capturing the hearts of little boys, senior citizens and at one point, male dogs instead. So it's not just limited to men.
    • In one story, the Pussycats can't get any work at a club because the female customers are so infuriated at losing all their boyfriends to Melody.
    • Zig-zagged in a story where a little boy is seen stalking Melody. When Alexander uncovers him, the kid tearfully confesses that he was stalking Melody because he was in love with her. Melody is so flattered she kisses the boy right on the lips, which sends him rocketing into the sky.
  • Standardized Leader: Josie suffers from this at times. Alexandra is the main plot driver, and Valerie is the main problem solver, leaving Josie not very much to do.
  • There Are No Adults: Teenage musicians just wander around performing in strange places with no parents, or chaperones, or other authority figures... and everyone's okay with this.
  • The Three Faces of Eve: Josie the child (sweet, lovable, innocent), Melody the seductress (Head-Turning Beauty, Ms. Fanservice), and Valerie the wife figure (smartest, looks out for the others).
  • Token Wizard: Alexandra Cabot is not only the Token Evil Teammate of the group, but also wields magical powers.
  • Tomboy: Valerie is frequently a Wrench Wench or Tsundere. She Cleans Up Nicely, though.
  • Town Girls: Wrench Wench Valerie is the butch, Dumb Blonde Melody is the femme, and Standardized Leader Josie is the neither.

Alternative Title(s): Shes Josie