Tag Archives: josie and the pussycats

Review: Josie and the Pussycats in Space

Josie and the Pussycats in Space

In the digital comic series Josie and the Pussycats in Space, Alex de Campi, Devaki Neogi, and Lee Loughridge riff on the 1972 animated series Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space. However, with the exception of the first issue, there isn’t a lot of pop music being played in space. Instead, there’s lots of cosmic body horror and applications of Murphy’s Law as the Pussycats go from their next tour stop to eluding a gooey alien parasite. As the five issue miniseries progresses, the setting shifts from United States Space Force ship to rescue pods and finally the vacuum of space.

Although there are definite elements of space horror films like Alien in Josie in Space, de Campi and Neogi do a fantastic job putting their own spin on the genre through suspenseful storytelling and the out-sized personalities of the Pussycats and their supporting cast members Alan M (Who is now a hunky starship captain), Socks, and of course, the Cabot siblings. They use most of the comic’s first issue to establish the friendships and also tension between the band as they’re tired of touring non-stop and living in such close quarters and want to hang out with other people and try other musical endeavors. As well as creating chemistry between the band, it also allows for a classic, slow burn horror setup that succeeds thanks to de Campi’s tight plotting and Neogi’s clear storytelling.

Speaking of Devaki Neogi’s storytelling, she and colorist extraordinaire Lee Loughridge create tension and generally keep things interesting in Josie in Space thanks to varied layouts and color palettes. The comic starts out with a lot of nine panel grids as it seems like it’s just another week in the life of spaceship-setting pop stars. However, then, Neogi uses Dutch angle panels to create a feeling of unease as the ship loses power, time is a little wonky, and the alien parasite starts to pick off the redshirts. Loughridge matches this energy with color palette using flat reds like alarms blaring. I love how depicts the parasite as an all-consuming blackness that matches the tone he uses for some of the space sequences.

Even though this is a series featuring heightened characters in a (sometimes literally) bone-chilling genre, Alex de Campi peppers her script with human moments. For example, Valerie practices grounding exercises with Melody when she has panic attacks a couple times throughout the series. This validates Melody’s emotions and reactions and reinforces her bond with Valerie. In that moment, they aren’t pop culture ciphers, but people reacting to stress. Devaki Neogi reinforces this with her artwork that features a lot of close-up/medium panels so that readers can empathize with the Pussycats and the supporting cast instead of seeing them as monster bait.

Josie and the Pussycats in Space can definitely be read as enjoyable transposition of Americana icons into a science fiction horror setting with a suspenseful plot. However, the inclusion of the actual United States Space Force (Albeit with interplanetary travel capacities) hints at the layered satire of parasitic American imperialism. The inclusion of the Cabots, whose approach is basically to solve problems through money, explosions, and asking questions later is basically American foreign policy since JFK was shot. Also, it’s only hinted at in the first and final chapters because this is more of a comic about scary things than pop music, but Josie and the Pussycats themselves are just another cog in promoting the military industrial, I guess, space complex instead of being countercultural. Maybe, that’s the real reason why Valerie wants to work on solo material.

After that political interlude, Josie and the Pussycats in Space channels this cartoon band’s strangest era into a riveting thriller. Alex de Campi, Devaki Neogi, and Lee Loughridge masterfully transform a cool tour vehicle into an interstellar charnel house and definitely answer the question of “Could Josie and the Pussycats survive Alien?” This comic is worth a download for fans of all-girl pop bands, horror movies, or just exciting, well-crafted stories.

Story: Alex de Campi Art: Devaki Neogi
Colors: Lee Loughridge Letters: Jack Morelli
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Archies #7

Unfortunately, The Archies’ U.S. tour and status as an actual band comes to an end in The Archies #7 where writers Matthew Rosenberg and Alex Segura, artist Joe Eisma, and colorist Matt Herms have them participate in a difficult battle of the bands against the world famous Josie and the Pussycats at the Hollywood Bowl. Rosenberg and Segura’s writing crackles with self-awareness beginning with starting the comic with Reggie doing a fourth wall breaking monologue/recap instead of Archie. Reggie is more of a straight shooter than the optimistic, messiah complex sporting Mr. Andrews and realizes how many chances the band has squandered throughout the series. (i.e. all the band cameos from Blondie, CHVRCHES, Tegan and Sara, and even the Monkees.) However, The Archies do rock individually, but not as a unit, which is their fatal flaw and plays a big role in the conclusion of the series plot.

Even if The Archies get dunked on by Josie and the Pussycats, Eisma and Herms show that they have an enthusiasm and energy to match their power pop sound beginning with the title page. Betty’s hair is flipping everywhere, Archie is being super earnest, Veronica is being cool as hell on keyboards and backup vocals, and even Reggie looks like he cares about hitting his bass notes. When The Archies are actually playing music, they’re pretty fantastic, but the whole interacting after the gig part is not a strong suit for them as is made evident throughout the series and even how they “break up” and react to each other after the battle of the band results. And I like how Rosenberg, Segura, and Eisma play with the slice of life fantasy nature of most Archie comics during the judging stages with long pauses and nice comments to build a little suspense that the band will pull an alternate ending of Rocky and Rocky Balboa. But they don’t, and the story is better for it.

In context of the story of The Archies #7, it makes sense that Eisma draws Josie and the Pussycats like icons with big panels and stage patter plus a little of that salt of the Earth Riverdale humor to keep them relatable. Herms floods their panels with light to show that this is a band that plays stadiums and big arenas while The Archies can barely keep the local dive bar entertained. It reminded me a little bit of the way that David Mazzucchelli drew the Avengers in Daredevil: Born Again, all larger than life while Daredevil is barely able to protect his one neighborhood. And, of course, this unwinnable duel leads to the final bit of band drama, which has been the recurring theme of the series with Jughead and Veronica butting heads. Veronica even does a little bit of upward mobility and joins the Pussycats as a keyboard player in a nice nod to her appearances wearing the cat ears in Riverdale.

Even though their continued success (The fact that they got Blondie to produce their debut EP for one.) is something straight out of a cheesy feel good TV movie, Matthew Rosenberg, Alex Segura, and Joe Eisma spend The Archies #7 deconstructing underdog narratives while still have plenty of rock out splash pages. There are not nice results to The Archies’ in-fighting, and that’s solo careers even though Rosenberg, Segura, and Eisma do leave the door open for future creative teams to explore The Archies’ career as they mature a little bit. (Who am I kidding? The Archie gang will be in high school forever.)

With stunning visuals, actual consequences, and a bittersweet, yet earned ending, The Archies #7 is one heck of a curtain call for this sadly short lived series.

Story: Matthew Rosenberg and Alex Segura Art: Joe Eisma Colors: Matt Herms Letters: Jack Morelli
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Josie and the Pussycats Vol. 2

Josie and the Pussycats Vol. 2

Script: Cameron DeOrdio, Marguerite Bennett
Art: Audrey Mok, Kelsey Shannon, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Matt Herms, Jack Morelli
Cover: Audrey Mok
978-1-68255-917-8
$12.99/$14.99CAN
6 x 8 1/2”
TR
104 pp, Full Color
Direct Market On-Sale Date: 1/31

JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS VOL. 2 sends the world’s biggest comic book band on action-packed adventures all around the world! Collects issues 6 – 9 of the Josie and the Pussycats series by writers Marguerite Bennett (DC Comics’ Bombshells) and Cameron DeOrdio and artist Audrey Mok (Archie).

Logan’s Favorite Comics of 2017

In 2017, I found it increasingly difficult to keep up with all the new comics releases because of personal stuff etc.. There was also the sheer hatred and bigotry of some comic book fans, who foamed at the mouth every time a character that wasn’t a straight white male starred in their own book or if female characters weren’t drawn in an early 90s Image male gaze-y way. Creators and companies weren’t exempt from this either from Howard Chaykin’s transphobia and Islamophobia in his low selling Image book Divided States of Hysteria to the revelation that new Marvel Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski lied about writing comics under the Japanese pseudonym Akira Yoshida for years and suffered little to no consequences for it.

However, there was a lot to love about the comic books of 2017, and I found solace, entertainment, and inspiration in many books from (becoming) old favorites about godly pop stars and dark knights to intriguing new titles about all girl fight clubs and young people experimented on by the government.

 

  1. Batman #14-37 (DC)

In 2017, writer Tom King and a crack team of artists including David Finch, Clay Mann, Mitch Gerads, Mikel Janin, Joelle Jones, and Jordie Bellaire explored almost every nook and cranny of the Dark Knight’s world in their work on Batman. Sure, there were epic arcs featuring one on one battles with Bane, a yearlong gang war with the Joker and Riddler, and a little family reunion in the “Button” crossover. But what Batman resonate as a comic book was the standalone and two part stories from King and Gerads showing the sweetness of the relationship between Batman and Catwoman to the emotional tale of Kite Man (Hell yes). King has a real knack for telling O. Henry-esque stories of ideas that humanize iconic characters none more so than “Superfriends” where Batman and Superman go on a double date with Catwoman and Lois Lane. An artistic highlight of the book was Joelle Jones’ beautiful, savage, and a little bit sexy depiction of Batman and Catwoman fighting for their love against the most evil of exes.

  1. Josie and the Pussycats #4-9 (Archie)

Josie and the Pussycats is a gorgeous, funny book that ended much too soon although it is nice to see artist Audrey Mok working on the main Archie title. Writers Cameron DeOrdio and Marguerite Bennett craft the rare Archie book that looks at both romantic and platonic relationships from the POV of young adults, not teenagers. They, artist Mok, and colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick imbue the title with a Saturday Morning cartoon zaniness, including high speed boat and motorcycle chases, kidnappings, and jokes about the polar bears from The Golden Compass. Yes, DeOrdio and Bennett overload all kinds of pop culture references and allusions in Josie, but it adds to the book’s energetic feel along with Mok’s fantastic fashion designs and Fitzpatrick’s bold colors. Josie and the Pussycats has some real heart to it with characters having all kinds of intense conversations about love, friendship, and fame between the over-the-top setpieces.

  1. Heavenly Blues #1-4 (Scout)

Writer Ben Kahn and artist Bruno Hidalgo’s Heavenly Blues blends the cosmology and philosophical and theological themes of Vertigo classics like Sandman and Lucifer with a quick and dirty heist thriller as a band of criminals, including a Great Depression Era thief, a girl who was sentenced to burn during the Salem Witch Trials, and a bisexual cowboy team up to break into heaven and steal something you may have heard of. Witty writing from Kahn and rhythmic art from Hidalgo that flows from the building of the Great Pyramids to the Old West and even an angel lounging in sweatpants keeps the story on its toes with flashback to each thief’s past life create an emotional connection to them. This is the perfect comic for folks who like to think about the nature of evil or the possibility of an afterlife while also watching Oceans 11 or Logan Lucky with a whiskey on the rocks.

 

  1. Shade the Changing Girl #4-12 (DC/Young Animal)

The crown jewel of DC’s Young Animal imprint, Shade: The Changing Girl is a beautiful, meditative look at identity and humanity from the perspective of a bird alien Metan girl named Loma Shade, who has possessed the body of teenage girl bully. Cecil Castellucci, Marley Zarcone, and Kelly Fitzpatrick’s story really took off when Shade decides to hit the road first for Gotham and eventually to meet her idol, Honey Rich, the aging star of a 1950s sitcom that was popular all over the galaxy. Zarcone’s artwork is extremely fluid and complements Shade’s reaction to the influx of stimulus all around her that is humanity as she begins to understand concepts like nostalgia and of course the big ones: life and death. Shade the Changing Girl is more poem than sci-fi thriller/mindbender, and Castellucci’s poetic captions, Zarcone’s sincere facial expressions, and Fitzpatrick’s, well, groovy colors bypass the critical part of the brain and go straight for the emotional center. It is an empathetic study into how humans communicate and navigate this complex world from a visitor from an equally as complex society so hence conflict.

  1. Generation Gone #1-5 (Image)

Comics’ enfant terrible Ales Kot makes his triumphant return with Generation Gone, which is one of his most accessible works that still takes shots at the kyriarchy and patriarchy through the lens of the “superhero” origin story. Artist Andre Araujo and colorist Chris O’Halloran provide equal parts majestic, disgusting, and triumphant wide screen visuals throughout the series from bodies being stripped down to bone, muscles, and organs to flying in the sunset. The way that the three main kids Elena, Baldwin, and Nick is a little bit of techno-organic body horror like Scanners filtered through 2017. Kot avoids typical superhero team up tropes and has them constantly at each other’s throats that all really boils down to toxic masculinity, especially Nick, who is like Max Landis with a healing factor. Generation Gone is an epic and visceral story with all kinds of carnage and big explosions that is ably balanced by Ales Kot’s nuanced characterization. There’s some decent world building, but it takes a backseat to Elena, Baldwin, and Nick’s journey and squabbles along the way.

  1. The Wicked + the Divine #25-33, 455 AD, Christmas Special (Image)

In its fourth year (Or “Imperial Phase”) as a title, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson’s The Wicked + the Divine became both more self-indulgent and introspective before the ending the year with more emotional destruction and much needed side dish of pure fanservice. The main focus is on the relationships of the Pantheon from Dionysus’ truly soulful friendship with Baphomet (They spend most of an issue talking in the dark, and it’s lovely.) to the intense connection between Persephone and Sakhmet and the older brother/little sister Baal and Minerva that takes a big turn for the disquieting. Even though McKelvie’s figures and fashion decisions are still flawless as usual, WicDiv uncovers every metaphorical wrinkle or mole on the Pantheon members by the time “Imperial Phase” ends in a truly soul crushing manner like the slow build in “In the Air Tonight” before the epic drums. And after it’s over, Gillen and a host of talented guest artists deliver a comic that is sexy, thoughtful, and filled to the brim of feels showing what the Pantheon were like when they were young and less dead. The Kris Anka and Jen Bartel Baal/Inanna short is most definitely the hottest thing I read in 2017.

 

  1. Kim and Kim: Love is A Battlefield #1-4 (Black Mask)

Shifting the focus from Kim Q to Kim D in this fantastic sequel to the Eisner nominated miniseries Kim and Kim, Mags Visaggio, Eva Cabrera, and Claudia Aguirre confidently tell the story of a woman trying to get over an ex that she really cared for, but wasn’t good for her. There are also mech suits, space battles, basses being used as a blunt instrument, and all kinds of space bounty hunter shenanigans. The rift and reunion between the Fighting Kim’s is super relatable as who hasn’t been disappointed in a friend for returning to the same, not cool ex over and over again. However, Visaggio gives the Kim’s great growth as friends and in their chosen career as bounty hunters by the time the miniseries wraps. On the visual front, Eva Cabrera can choreograph the hell out of a fight scene, and there is still plenty of pink from Claudia Aguirre. Kim and Kim: Love is a Battlefield is a smorgasbord of quips, fun sci-fi worldbuilding, and real friend talk and improves on its already pretty awesome predecessor.

 

  1. Mister Miracle #1-5 (DC)

Jack Kirby would have turned 100 in 2017, and there was arguably no better tribute to his imaginative work as an artist and writer than Tom King and Mitch Gerads’ Mister Miracle comic. I know I’m double dipping with King comics on the list, but he’s just that good. In his art, Gerads teaches the old dog of the nine panel grid some new tricks and uses it for everything from a tender love scene between Mister Miracle and Big Barda to him getting repeatedly beaten by his older brother Orion, who plays an antagonistic role in the series. The bar-like grid of the comic book he stars in is the one prison Mister Miracle can’t escape from. (Wow, that got meta.) Gerads uses a trippy, almost television fuzz effect to show Scott’s tattered psyche as he faces death with his escape artistry, goes to war against Apokolips, and is sentenced to execution. King’s gift of writing both the mundane and utterly cosmic comes in handy in Mister Miracle whose most memorable scenes are Scott and Barda cuddling and joking around, not the big battle scenes. Again, he and Mitch Gerads find the human and the epic, which is definitely something the King would be proud of. (Big Barda was patterned off his beloved wife Roz.)

  1. Giant Days #22-33, 2017 Special (BOOM!)

Although the facial expressions that Max Sarin and Liz Fleming draw are truly outrageous at times, Giant Days is a fairly naturally plotted comic with the friendships, relationships, and life statuses of Esther, Susan, and Daisy ebbing and flowing like normal university students. They begin the year as BFFs for life, but start to drift apart towards the end of the year as Susan and Daisy’s relationships with McGraw and Ingrid move onto the next level. Esther is kind of stuck in the lurch as her penchant for drama bombs starts to backfire. Giant Days nails the constantly evolving fluid thingamajig that is relationships as a young adult.  As an added bonus, we also get to see how the girls act and feel differently around their family versus friends as Susan’s way too big and complicated family makes quite the impression. And, of course, Giant Days is very funny, and John Allison, Max Sarin, and Liz Fleming mine the comedy out of everything from the deliciousness of home cooking, the grossness of nerd dorm food concoctions, and even a video game wedding. (Poor Dean.)

  1. Heavy Vinyl #1-4 (BOOM!)

Reading Carly Usdin, Nina Vakeuva, Irene Flores, and Rebecca Palty’s Heavy Vinyl is like the comic book equivalent of relaxing in a hot tub, but the hot tub is either cupcakes or adorable Corgi puppies. (Take your pick.) It’s about a teenage girl named Chris in 1998, who has just gotten her dream job at a record store and her first big crush on Maggie, her co-worker, who is drawn like a shoujo manga protagonist. But then she’s inducted into a top secret vigilante fight club and has to rescue the frontwoman of her favorite band. It’s high concept and slice of life just like Vakueva’s art is comedic, beautiful, and a little badass. Carly Usdin does a good job in just four issues of giving each member of the fight club their own distinct personalities and relationships while doubling down on the cuteness and awkwardness of Chris and Maggie’s budding romance. But what makes Heavy Vinyl  the best comic of 2017 is its belief in the power of women and music to change the world…

Review: Josie and the Pussycats #9

Josie#9With maybe a few too many guest stars, a couple giant mechas, and a truly heartfelt ending,  Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio’s Josie and the Pussycats run wraps with okay guest art by Kelsey Shannon and flawless colors from Kelly Fitzpatrick. Most of the issue is a giant chase sequence featuring Josie, the Pussycats, and basically every character who has appeared in this comic chasing DJ Quiplo and the Doc Charles Gang, who have kidnapped their opener/sales saving guest stars the Archies.

My biggest issue with Josie #9 is Bennett and DeOrdio is dusting off a character or “forgotten friend” (Pepper), who hasn’t appeared since the first issue and making her almost the center of the story. It’s kind of cool that there are callbacks to issue one in the final issue, but there is no setup for this development beyond a quick mid-issue plot twist and the fact that, again, every character who has appeared in this volume of Josie and the Pussycats appears in this issue. It feels more like a clipshow that a genuine emotional moment even though having an electric cello player join the Pussycats is pretty badass. Pepper’s appearance seems rushed, and the fact that she’s been left behind the whole series is brushed over with jokes and cute pets. It’s also feels like Valerie and Melody’s arc getting put on the sideline for her guest appearance, and there’s no mention of, say, Valerie’s inner conflict about being in the Pussycats for artistic reasons versus commercial reasons.

However, one story beat that Bennett, DeOrdio, and Shannon really stick the landing on is repairing the friendship between Alexandra and Josie and doing it with style. Alexandra’s “thing” with Alan M is getting pretty complicated, especially since he’s the Pussycats manager and had a fling with Josie in previous issues. (Still working on this.) In the past, Josie and Alexandra would have been passive aggressive about this, but thanks to the power of character development, they talk it out while encased in exosuits straight out of Ultraman. Thanks to Alexandra’s presence in most issues of the series and the real selling of her and Alan M’s romance last issue, the reunion between her and Josie definitely feels earned. I was definitely smiling when they texted each other brunch plans.

Along with Audrey Mok’s fabulous eye for fashion that Shannon ably replicates in this issue, the thing I will miss most about Josie and the Pussycats is Cameron DeOrdio and Marguerite Bennett’s scripts that are filled to the brim with clever pop culture references, meta gags, and just happen to be flat out hilarious. One line of dialogue, like calling DJ Quiplo’s EDM themed henchmen “WicDiv rejects” because they wish they were as fuckboy as Woden, could create a direct path between my eye and my funny bone. The Archies also fit in nicely as comic relief in Josie #9 with a nod to Reggie’s roots as a greaser when he tries to get out of ropes by using a comb a la Outsiders, or him, or the kidnappers’ priceless reaction when they realize that they forgot to confiscate Veronica’s cellphone.

AwkwardFace

Shannon is pretty badass at drawing vehicles and also slays on the double page spreads featuring Josie and Alexandra’s Megazord mecha things. Her faces are a little weak though. For the most part, this doesn’t hurt the story, but it’s a little hard to read Josie’s reaction when she and Alexandra have their *important* conversation about their friendship and Alan M. Is she angry, cool with it,  just plain indifferent, or pulling a weird face? The dialogue confirms that they’re friends, and that Alexandra still wants to pursue Alan M romantically, but Shannon’s art isn’t as expressive as Audrey Mok’s. But her chase scenes are high energy, and the bright yellow and orange backgrounds that Fitzpatrick uses add the artistic equivalent of nitrous to them.

Josie and the Pussycats #9 is a mixed bag plot and Pepper-wise, but Marguerite Bennett, Cameron Deordio, Kelsey Shannon, and Kelly Fitzpatrick include a lot of what made the series so great, including clever humor, exhilarating setpieces, and a focus on female friendship. It’s fitting that the comic ends in one big, adorable sleepover reminiscient of scenes in the fantastic 2001 Josie and the Pussycats film, but without Bullseye the Target dog mascot as a guest.

Story: Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio Art: Kelsey Shannon Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

 Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Josie and the Pussycats #9

JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS #9

Script: Marguerite Bennett, Cameron DeOrdio
Art: Kelsey Shannon, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Jack Morelli
Cover: Audrey Mok
Variant Cover: Javier Pulido
On Sale Date: 8/23
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

The Pussycats and their various musical allies and friends must unite to save the kidnapped Archies! Don’t miss the stunning finale to “FASTER, PUSSYCATS: DRIFT, DRIFT”!

Review: Josie and the Pussycats #8

Josie8In the penultimate issue of Josie and the Pussycats #8, the band does Japan with the Archies in tow. Writers Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio also bring a boatload of romantic angst to their script as Alexandra Cabot (who recently became friends with Josie again) becomes friends with benefits with the Pussycats’ manager Alan M, who broke Josie’s heart a few issues back. Audrey Mok and Kelsey Shannon’s art is glorious per usual, and they get to fly high fashionwise when the Pussycats and Archies visit the Harajuku District, which ends up to be a calculated move in former supervillain, Alex Cabot’s bid to be their new manager.

The crossover with the Archies is handled in DeOrdio and Bennett’s usually clever way as Alex slips that it was a “PR move” on Josie’s part to let a bunch of cool teens who believe the world revolves around them (Except for Jughead, duh.) open for them. This joke has another, meta, comic book industry level because companies often bring in more popular characters to save lower performing books from cancellation, which is like Deadpool’s only job. And who’s more popular at Archie Comics than Archie? The Archies are used mainly for comedy/cliffhanger setting up, but Deordio, Bennett, Mok, Shannon, and colorists Kelly Fitzpatrick and Matt Herms include a wonderful shopping montage featuring Veronica and Melody, who bond over great outfits and selfie filters.

Other than the frankly insane and Saturday morning cartoon type ending, the main conflict in Josie #8 comes from the not-so-great people that still have an influence onjosieInterior the band, namely, the Cabot siblings and Alan M. Alan M and Alexandra spend most of the issue eating tasty ramen and having cringeworthy banter about their relationship status. It’s the dark mirror of the Josie/Alan M adorableness in Josie #4 so Fitzpatrick and Herms’ palette is more restrained and not so romantic. They do pour on the intense blues and pinks when Josie finds out about their tryst in an extremely emotional sequence. Josie, Valerie, and Melody are a cool right now, but they should really find a new manager who isn’t a total player or supervillain-turned-sycophant, who makes random Sean Connery references. Those kind of people are great for drama purposes though.

In Josie and the Pussycats #8, Audrey Mok and Kelsey Shannon demonstrate that they’re the perfect artists to draw high grade angst with close-up shots of Josie and Alexandra crying over their shared soft boy experience. This builds nicely from a quick shot/reverse shot sequence at the Shinto festival the bands go to where Josie almost puts together the Alexandra/Alan M shaped pieces and is cushioned in a few panels that focus on Josie, Valerie, and Melody’s flawed, yet amazing friendship. Yay, hugs!

Josie and the Pussycats #8 has comedy, sadness, and a few great Jughead one-liners plus Audrey Mok and Kelsey Shannon’s intricate attention to costuming and setting, which makes me excited for Mok taking over as the main artist on Archie. Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio craft a solid story out of the lingering feeling Josie has for Alan M plus the drama bomb that is the Cabot siblings and then go bonkers at the end because the next issue is the last one.

 

Story: Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio Art: Audrey Mok and Kelsey Shannon Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick and Matt Herms
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

 Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Josie and the Pussycats #8

JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS #8

Script: Marguerite Bennett, Cameron DeOrdio
Art: Audrey Mok, Kelsey Shannon, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Matt Herms, Jack Morelli
Cover: Audrey Mok
Variant Covers: Rian Gonzales, Brent Schoonover
On Sale Date: 7/12
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

The Pussycats take Tokyo! As the band prepares for the biggest audience of its career, two men enter, one manager leaves in… BEYOND TOKYO DOME.

The Pussycats take Tokyo in Josie and the Pussycats #8!

JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS #8

Script: Marguerite Bennett, Cameron DeOrdio
Art: Audrey Mok, Kelsey Shannon, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Matt Herms, Jack Morelli
Cover: Audrey Mok
Variant Covers: Rian Gonzales, Brent Schoonover
On Sale Date: 7/12
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

The Pussycats take Tokyo! As the band prepares for the biggest audience of its career, two men enter, one manager leaves in… BEYOND TOKYO DOME.

Review: Josie and the Pussycats #7

Josie7CoverEven though each issue is chock-full of great jokes and pop culture references, the through-line of Josie and the Pussycats has been a little of the sad side with Josie being a flawed heroine and sometimes the villain in her own story. However, Josie #7 is more of a feel-good issue from writers Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio, artist/should design all the Academy Award dresses Audrey Mok, and colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick. It does grapple with the nature of fame, but there are plenty of Melody non-sequiturs, “head pats”, and the ending is quite sweet.

Melody continues to be the most entertaining and hilarious Pussycat and her mix of erudition and cluelessness makes her a very unique character. She’ll go from using five dollar words that she picked up via osmosis from an audio book to taking everything literally with a couple of Les Mis and Lord of the Rings along the way. Bennett, DeOrdio, and Mok also give her an active role in the issue’s big double page spread fight scene against an EDM group’s evil robot backup dancers. This sequence parodies superhero comics and hullabaloo over award shows in one fell swoop and throws some shade on the EDM craze. (If the Chainsmokers ever played MTV Unplugged, it would be a disaster.) It reminded me of episodes of the Jem and the Holograms cartoon that shoehorned crazy fight scenes into a show presumably about music, magic, and sisterhood and is loads of fun.

But Josie and the Pussycats #7 is really a story about why Josie, Valerie, and Melody love making music. They will sing songs to an arena filled with celebrities and a big ass video screen behind, or to a small group of fans at a charity gig very similar to the one that the not-so-famous Pussycats played in Josie #1. Audrey Mok shows this through the passion in the Pussycats’ faces when they play their new hit single, or decide to ditch the awards show to be audience members at small concert held for disadvantage children in a field somewhere. They may wear well-tailored suits or gorgeous leopard print dresses, but they’re still three girls from Riverdale with big dreams and a love of their craft. However, Josie is definitely more image conscious compared to Valerie, who is more concerned with heartfelt lyrics and life goals.

Josie and the Pussycats #7 is a treat for anyone who has thought about pop stars, selling out, and why the hell we keep tuning into a half dozen music award shows for artists who we don’t even care about. (Honestly, why is the American Music Awards a thing?) Also, Audrey Mok’s art is beautiful as ever, Kelly Fitzpatrick captures the pizzazz of a awards show with a flashy color palette, and Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio’s script is filled with clever jokes while still expanding upon Josie, Valerie, and Melody’s thoughts and motivations as they hit the big time.

Story: Marguerite Bennett and Cameron DeOrdio Art: Audrey Mok Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

 Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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