Josie and the Pussycats Vol. 1

Writer: Marguerite Bennett, Cameron DeOrdio
Artist: Audrey Mok
Colorist: Andre Szymanowicz, Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Publisher: Archie Comics

A review by Hafsa Alkhudairi

Josie and the Pussycats vol 1

Josie and the Pussycats is a staple for many people’s childhoods and many might find it hard reading a new incarnation of their childhood stories, cartoons, or movie. What Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio did in Josie and the Pussycats Vol. 1 was give a more contemporaneous life into the comic and made it more palatable for both beginners and hardcore fans.

Part of that is the hilarious and dynamic mode of conversation filled with puns and witty comments. The other part is the character development and their unique experiential characteristic. Josie is an ambitious, take-no-prisoner, passionate singer. Melody reminds me of Bubbles from Powerpuff Girls with an edge of the little girl from the ring, meaning she is intense, bubbly, ditzy, and intelligent. Valerie, the only woman of color in the group, is educated with an amazing voice. She is usually the voice of reason and the enforcer of friendship bonding time, highlighting her empathetic, assertive, truthful, and traits.

Bennet and DeOrdio were able to create a story that is filled with pop culture references, balanced emotional and action scenes. It has nuanced female characters, and is presented insanely creatively with fourth wall breaking references that worked surprisingly well in the comic but were never obnoxious.

Personally, it was Audrey Mok’s art that brought Josie and the Pussycats Vol. 1 to life with the character designs and the contextual stylings. Josie and the Pussycats Vol. 1 is a blend of east and west styles of comic arts, combining manga stylings with the sharp lines of western designs. The best example of this is the final production of manga-like character reactions. And off course, the most exciting moment was the introduction of the classical cat-ears that Josie and the Pussycats are iconic for! Even with the iconic cat ears, there is still some creative license taken in the designs. It reminded me of how beautifully comics can represent different ways a woman can dress that matches how they were able to portray the nuances of experiencing life as a woman.

The Verdict
Buy it! Josie and the Pussycats Vol. 1 proved to be the most fun comic I’ve read this year! The characters are well developed, realizing that they have faults and, even when they are oblivious, they accept whatever criticism they are faced with some pains and realize that they can evolve together. The story is pun-filled and philosophical, as well as exciting and action balanced, showing an exciting side and a calm side to the narrative’s progression. The story even manages to address some hard-pressed topics like the issues of having ‘cookie-cutter’ female characters in the entertainment industry. If you want to have a wonderful and easy reading that is fun and relaxing, this is the comic for you!

Hafsa Alkhudairi
Hafsa Alkhudairi doing her MA Contemporary Literature and Culture at Birkbeck College, University of London, living in London, UK. She is graduating hopefully in october and has her heart set on going into publishing until she decides whether there is a PHD in her future. Current Project; Figuring out who is the big bad female villain in Marvel and DC.

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