Chapter Twelve
With the momentum building, it was soon Josie’s turn for a modern reboot
that the other characters had enjoyed and on June 2016, it was announced
a new ‘
Josie & The Pussycats’ #1 would be published in September of
that year. This new series would be written by
Marguerite Bennett (who’s
has been building up her resume with projects like Bombsells for DC comics,
Red Sonja re-bot for Dynomite Entertainment,
[formally] Neil Gaiman’s
Angela: Queen of Hell for Marvel) and new comer
Cameron DeOrdio.
Doing the art chores is
Audrey Mok who is the creator of Heroine Chic and
has been making the rounds through Archie’s new trend title like Cheryl
Blossom stories and Jughead.

Archie was ready to push this new series with a set of 9 variant front covers
by the likes of Gisele Lagace, Collen Cover, Francesco Francavilla, Rober
Hack and Veronica Fish. (some of which you can see to the left and below)

This reboot starts off with Josie in the middle of her pre-Cat days….actually,
at the end of a failed acoustic set in an empty coffee café. 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. After she leaves
(and sneaking off with Josie’s notebook), 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 then tries to
talk her roommate, Melody, into tagging along. Much like the old version,
this new model of Melody is still a bit dizzy, but not in the old traditional
‘dumb blonde’ mode as she is a passionate cat lover and, in the next
scene, she dumps her date after she finds a homeless cute cat.

It is at the animal shelter where Josie and Melody take the new cat for a
check-up where they 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 Melody the cat-lover obsessed monster 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 back-stabbing attempts to poison their party even before the
concert is over and yelling at the audience over Josie’s new band, it is a
success (as one audience member raves, “WHEW! I haven’t felt a rush like
that since fishing Keith Richards out of a New York gutter in ’72.”) with one
more returning character showing up in the final frame….music producer,
Alan M!
The last section of #1 introduces the new readers of Josie Mark 2016 to the history behind it all by not only
featuring a reprint of ‘Pussy Footing’, but in the introduction piece written by
Chris Cummings that goes into a
brief
(compared to this) yet detailed history of Josie and Dan DeCarlo. Quite the pleasant surprise for the old
school crowd.

Where does this series go from here? As of this writing (
late February 2017), three issues have seen print and the
web thus far with updated action and shenanigans with Josie learning important lessons along the way; in #2, the
Cats survive a punk concert and #3 has Alexandria showing up at spring break with the usual drama queen attitude
of chaos and volume (in fact, in a chase scene where Josie chases a bad guy on jet skies, Alexandra chases after
Josie while yelling at her that she will never catches up to him. Looks like someone skipped on their meds!)
…..and Josie’s comeback is no longer restricted to the newly minted page as also as of this writing, she’s
about to return to the TV screen! Last year, it was announced that the Archie gang will be featured in a series
for the CW TV network called ‘Riverdale’. The series is planned as a one-hour teen drama with some Twin
Peaks influences….and along for the format ride is another new version of the Cats!

For the show, Josie Mark 2017 (
see above) not only ditches the classic cheetah print motif but are all played
by African-Americans;
Ashleigh Murray (as Josie), Asha Bromfield (as Melody) and Irie Hayleau (as Val).
This radical direction is part of series executive producer (and ‘Afterlife With Archie writer)
Roberto Aguirre-
Sacasa
plans for the old gang as he saw the Cats as a variation of Destiny’s Child. BTW, introducing new
versions of old characters isn’t over yet as there are rumors of Sabrina making an appearance, no doubt
turning that Twin Peaks volume to 25.

So, where dose Josie go from here….and how many versions can she go through? If you gotten this far in her
history and this piece, the changes will continues as it has in her past, but there are a few fundamental
characteristics that will remain that has carried Josie thus far. The bottom line of Josie’s appeal and longevity
is that she’s basically the real All-American gal; as if fronting a rock band is hard and complicated enough, she
remains uncomplicated, nice, sweet, smart, strong and sexy. These human attributes have made this fictional
character, ironically enough, the real deal.
Footnotes
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