We’ll have to start off with me, Don Fields (left, circa 1974), the fanboy who has been
dragging this money on thou back through out most of his life.
I might as well admit my part to the sugar-filled head count of a generation who wasted
Saturday mornings of the 70’s glued to the TV watching the usual suspects. You name
‘em and I watched ‘em, and over time, outgrew ‘em, too. However, only one show (outside
of The Electric Company) had remained in my head to this very day, Josie & The
Pussycats. Why? I guess it must have been some sort of a TV based puppy love phase I
found myself going through during those early media days; Marlo Thomas was the center
of my then universe and Mary Tyler Moore followed right behind later on, but the residue
from Josie remained.
Soon after the exposure of the show, I discovered the comics. As before, I outgrew those
early impulses and, in due time, I lost interest and/or touch with Josie and went on with
what’s left of my life.
It wasn’t until the late 80’s that I began to get familiar with comics in much more depth, thanks to the discovery of
more “underground” titles like Love & Rockets, American Splendor, Howard The Duck (way before the movie killed
him off) Neat Stuff, the works of R. Crumb and so on. Eventually, this lead to my re-vamped interest in Josie and
found other fans in the along the way and began collecting the back issues.
In the early 90’s, I came upon “zines”, the small-self-publishing movement that began to spread out over the country
thanks to review publications like Factsheet Five and soon began to make some of my own like Bros. From
Bakersfield, NegativFANBOYland (Negativland fanzine) and so on. From this juncture, I was soon making the
connection between my comics and zine pursuits and came up with only one conclusion: ‘JosieAPA’.
As I was a member of an APA at the time, I figured I could come
up with an APA of my own, with Josie/Archie/DeCarlo as a
central theme. However, reality sat in and I ended up
reformatting the project as a one shot zine and guessed up a
new name with a subtle Russ Meyer reference: The Return To
The Valley Of The Pussycats! (cover right)
This reality I just spoke of was both from the serious lack of
response and a cease and desist notice from Archie Comics.
Yup, after years of hearing about Archie lawyer’s itchy fingers
protecting their “property” from the likes of Benn (Ninja High
School) Dunn, Larry (Cherry Poptarts) Waltz and MAD
Magazine, similar to jury duty notification, I finally got fingered.
As you can imagine, novice legal boy here got scared. However,
thanks to the advise of a couple of legal-minded friends (one of
whom was a lawyer), I wrote them back diplomatically stating that
the project was billed as “unauthorized” and it was a fun and
respective tribute to their characters and no adult material was
not going to be used…and that was the last time I heard from
them…directly, that is.
Learning from this brief speed bump, I decided on a new title
and a limited print run of 75 copies, thus once I ran out, I’m out
and there was nothing nobody, including Archies, can do about
Using a 1990 ‘Josie’ article from Goldmine Magazine by the mysterious D. C. Hampton (who later sent me a cassette
copy of the full original Josie LP) and the book ‘Dan DeCarlo’ by the even more mysterious Mary Smith, I began to
do the rough and tumble history research of what little information there was out there. I didn’t even know anybody
who had connections to DeCarlo.
Fortunately, some of my friends and the sudden reliable network of fans (mind you, this was before the internet!)
chipped in with material, artwork and advise (including another mysterious human form known as Mathew Lungsford
who provided the brilliant Meyer-inspired cover). Sooner than expected, I had the 60 page digest-sized tomb ready
and sent it off to some friends and one to the late and great Factsheet Five for review. Soon after FF5 gave it a
great write up (see below), copies flew out the door in an insane pace and heartbreaks for many who can in late for
The response was tremendous! They ranged from “cool” to the more typical “I remember this!” to “Holy Sh*t!” (as
in “I didn’t know that?!” and “How the hell did you dig up this information?!”). One zine’er send me copies of her
JEM zine! I was grateful for all the responses I got, good and bad, but one was a total stand out!
One of the first Valley contributors, Ed Garcia, had long time been pursuing Archie Comics for freelance work for
years. During the San Diego Comic Con, Ed walked up to the Archie table and began to have a nice talk to one of
the editors. During the course of their conversation, Ed brought up the title of my Josie zine. Suddenly, the editor
asked Ed if he knew “Don Fields”. When Ed said yes, the editor excused himself and conferred with the other
editors and management. He came back and notified Ed that he can no longer communicate with him and the
company because of his association with me, and described my little zine as a “rag”.
Sometime later, I was told by another Valley contributor/Archie artist wanna-be that my name was well-known and
forbidden within the halls of Archie Comics offices. At this point, you couldn’t knock the 16-ton ego off my shoulder
with an atomic bomb!
By then the fame of my Josie zine finally reached epic portions and the demand for more Josie was leaning on top
of me like a ton of bricks. Now this was going to be difficult as I strongly believed that I milked as much ‘Josie’ as I
can get with the limited resources and I was now dependenent on others for material and wasn’t in the mood to be
tortured by waiting for content.
However, after I gave into pressure and announced another Jozine, the “waiting” matter became moot as I was
avalanched with contributions, both in text and art (one of which featured me being kissed by Josie! see below
right). I also focused more on DeCarlo than the last issue and used some of his great pin-up art from his
Humorama Magazine work and Millie The Model comics with Stan Lee.
It was also here that I gave the
whole “unofficial” project its
official name ‘JOZINE!’
With the great 70’s revival of
the 90’s at it’s boiling point in
1996, ‘Jozine: The Last
Temptation Of The Josie &
The Pussycats Fandom’ was
released and was greeted as
well as the first.
It was soon after this release
that, through Mike Curtis of
Shanda The Panda fame, Dan
DeCarlo himself caught wind
and received copies of the
issues himself and liked what he
From there, I let the whole thing drift off into its own direction without me and, I, with my own. I still bought the
issues and kept my ear into the ground, some of which was the consistent rumors of a Josie movie.
Remembering the poisonous dimension called Hollywood Development Hell and after what they done with
Howard The Duck, I didn’t give this much thought.
It wasn’t until 2000 that things began to ‘perk’ on the Josie front, mainly that movie rumor was slowly but surely
coming true (I once speculated in #1 about a Josie movie done by John Water and Quentin Tarritino). When the
movie production was official announced, I was pressured into doing Jozine #3.
Sure, what the hell, I said to myself. This should be reasonably easy, thanks to the now-wealth of new and
corrected information on the comic from DeCarlo, Curtis and the movie from, of course, the now-bountiful
internet. Little did I know how ‘interesting’ things would get….