a photo of William M. Gaines, the
publisher behind EC Comics and
Josie does the Exorcist thing
It's Melody's turn, this time, being
chased by a mummy but the "date"
ends when screen door hits him on
the butt. PS: What is a gook?!
Just one more slice of the danger, this time, from a
claw you shouldn't wear in bed.
Regardless of the reaction of the records, the TV show was a hit. Was it for the ‘Scooby-Doo’ formula?...the fashion
statements?...the young viewers discovering the ultimate rock ‘n roll fantasy? These and other more obvious
questions notwithstanding, it was watched and this made everybody (the networks, producers and Archie) happy.
Maybe a little too happy.
Back at the comics pages, it was the usual shenanigans until #57 (Sept. 1971) when things became more
adventurous. Possibly to keep up with the level of adventure and action from the TV show, the editors decided to
add a little watered down E.C. horror/suspense element into the mix. The first of this new type of stories was #57’s
cover story, ‘The Ghost Of Dark Valley Manor’.
In the ‘Dark Valley’ story, Josie and the ‘Cats’ are looking for a remote and quiet place to rehearse. Alex offers them
the keys to an abandoned mansion his father had just acquired in a foreclosure. Josie is unsure, and shows it by
remarking that she “read someplace” that the place was hunted. However, with caution (and this plot foreshadowing)
thrown to the wind, they proceed to the mansion.
While practicing, the girls are “attacked” by a falling stone gargoyle, interrupted by high-pitched screaming and one
of them even gets kidnapped. When they end up being chased by an axe-wielding crypt-keeper, they manage to
tackle and catch the attacker. When the police arrive, they take off the keeper’s mask and....ah, you get the idea.
More often there was a whole lot more action in the comic pages than in the TV show. Future stories would have
Josie getting possessed first by a voodoo gypsy then by an angry spirit and THEN held at gunpoint as a hostage.
There’s also Melody, who gets kissed by a mummy who hasn’t dated in a thousand years (we’re not making this one
up, folks) and briefly turned into an old hag due to a portable curse. In general, the whole gang ended up in swamps,
dungeons, castles and Bates Motels resulting from the van breaking down during a hurricane or any other heavy
weather catastrophe while lost as a result of Alex’s bad directions....sometimes all at the same time for dramatic
The writers and artists were no doubt borrowing heavily from
the old 50’s classic E.C. Horror comic book line produced by
late, great comic legend, William M. Gaines (left), who also
was behind MAD Magazine. This was ironic and a touch
hypocritical as those same EC comics were detested as being
responsible for the “delinquency in America’s Youth” by moral
naysayers, including Archie’s publisher, John Goldwater. The
naysayers and the general Communist paranoia of that time
lead to a congressional investigation and hearings about the
‘evils’ of comics which ended with Gaines testifying on behalf
of his line. Though no formal charges were filed, the horror
line was forced out of business, thanks to fears of government
pressure on the comic industry and to the formation of the
‘Comics Code Authority’ by John Goldwater, who took pride in
EC’s demise (5).
There still were ‘Josie’ stories of teenage chaos and relationships but they were now pushed back behind the EC-
styled stories. One of the best of these “old-style” stories dealt with a possible band split over love for a man in
“What Are Friends For?”.
Valerie falls in love with Warren Owens, a real lady’s man. After two dinner dates, Warren talks to Valerie about a
future without the Pussycats. Later in a separate scene, Melody overhears Warren talking to his boss. As it turns
out, Warren is a sneaky A&R man who’s been trying to sweet talk Val out of the band and into a solo career and
contract... I wonder if Melody’s ears wiggled this time.
Melody tries to warn Val of this trap, but Val only sees this as jealousy and leaves in a huff. On the way out,
however, she also overhears her “boyfriend” and his boss (again?!?!) and discovers his deceptive plans. She later
breaks off her relationship with Warren and makes up with the girls, thus saving herself from enduring the same fate
as LaToya Jackson.