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Josie and the Pussycats

October 2, 2009

We like Josie's origins. Created by Dan DeCarlo in 1963 and named after his beloved wife. Josie was originally supposed to headline She's Josie, a comic strip for newspapers. But since DeCarlo's success on the Archie titles was already unprecedented, Archie Comics convinced him to develop his new heroine as a comic book character.

He did. For seven years, She's Josie sold moderately as a story about a groovy group of high school students (not much different than Archie's clique). It wasn't until 1970, when DeCarlo and his writers decided to revamp their concept, making Josie the frontwoman of all-girl rock trio that sales and interest began to skyrocket.

By removing Josie and the Pussycats from their hometown and high school and sending them on a world tour, DeCarlo was able to considerably broaden their book's subject matter and redefine its premise. Josie and her friends faced off against the millionaire Cabot siblings (Alexander, the band manager, and his conniving sister, Alexandra), occasionally joining forces with them to solve mysteries and book gigs.

The title was primarily marketed to girls, and in 1970, just one year after Woodstock, rock was a very hot commodity. The idea that teen girls could score mainstream success as guitarists, percussionists and singers was absolutely compelling. Even if their skimpy cat costumes may have seemed an artistic compromise, Josie and the Pussycats were rather groundbreaking. They moved a bit left of the fashion-frenzied Katy Keenes and just right of the fierce and infallable superheroines. They represented the everygirl, letting each of them know that dreams were achievable, and that rock wasn't just for folksy female soloists and longhaired all-guy bands. Rock, like dreams, were for everyone.

The group got their own TV show in 1970, which ran for three years in total (the last being a kind of embarrassing intergalactic turn renamed Josie & the Pussycats in Outer Space). And as many may remember, the trio also appeared in a feature film starring Rachael Leigh Cook, Rosario Dawson and Tara Reid in 2001.

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