Welcome to the United States Space Force (USSF) Greendale! Named, of course, in reference to the notorious town of Greendale and familiar to any fan of the Archie Universe. Traveling on an interplanetary journey aboard the USSF Greendale are Josie, Valerie, and Melody; the three members behind the iconic Josie and the Pussycats trio.

Even in space, the band is epically successful and well-loved by their fans. Exhausted from their latest performance along a cross-galaxy tour, the bandmates are placed in cryogenic sleeping pods on the USSF Greendale until their next stop. However, the girls are awakened early by the discovery of a gelatinous, shapeshifting, flesh-eating monster on board.

Now, this sounds like a premise that, if done right, could be a lot of fun. A campy bubblegum pop girl band versus a demonic space creature sounds like a futuristic grindhouse dream. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case with Josie and the Pussycats in Space. The five-issue collection left much to be desired.

As someone who has loved Josie and the Pussycats since my inaugural viewing of the poorly received 2001 film adaptation, I found this comic pretty hollow. Josie, Valerie, and Melody don’t display any defining characteristics. In fact, aside from vapidity, no member of the trio shows any particular characteristics at all. Only once, at the opening of issue one, does the reader ever see the band in true Josie and the Pussycats fashion: on stage in leopard print attire. Without this moment, and the ever-present cat ear headbands, it would be difficult to identify this comic as a Josie and the Pussycats entity at all.

Multiple references to space-themed media are made throughout the comic; a passing mention of the fictitious planet of Tatooine in the Star Wars universe, multiple homages to Ridley Scott’s 1979 Alien film, and a brief mention of the USS Sulaco spaceship popularized by James Cameron’s 1986 sequel film, Aliens. These tongue-in-cheek winks at the audience only emphasize the detachment of the writers from the source material.

It is difficult to determine for whom Josie and the Pussycats in Space is intended. Older, longtime fans will probably find the comic bland, lacking the notorious kitsch associated with previous adaptations of the classic characters. Younger readers will probably be turned off by several instances of gory imagery present in the work. Perhaps the comic is made exclusively for those looking for an easy, quick read with some fun artwork?

Despite all of its faults, Josie and the Pussycats in Space is competently illustrated. The coloring throughout the work is vibrant and does most of the heavy lifting in conveying tone to the reader. Most notable are the scenes of the actual space monster. Artist Devaki Neogi manages to draw a creepy, gruesome creature worthy of any R.L. Stine book.

Ultimately, the premise of this book, paired with a great cover and built-in fanbase, may be enough to entice potential readers.* Given the influx of Archie Universe TV show adaptations in recent years, including Riverdale, Chilling Adventure of Sabrina, and Katy Keene, this comic may tide over readers eager for more content. However, this reader was thoroughly underwhelmed.

*Jose and the Pussycats in Space is currently an original and digital only exclusive title for Comixology, which does not allow subscriptions for libraries and therefore this title is not readily available for libraries to purchase in digital form. Other Josie and the Pussycat titles are available on Hoopla. Comixology exclusives are available as print on demand paperbacks via Amazon.

Josie and the Pussycats in Space
By Alex de Campi
Art by Devaki Neogi
Archie Comic Publications, Inc, 2020
Publisher Age Rating: 12+

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NFNT Age Recommendation: Tween (10-13), Teen (13-16), Older Teen (16-18)
Character Traits: Black,

  • Olivia

    | She/Her Local History Librarian, South Pasadena Public Library

    Olivia Radbill is the Local History Librarian at the South Pasadena Public Library. In addition to assisting in Adult Services, she is responsible for all archival objects, documentation, and historical inquiry. Previously, she served as the Literacy Services Librarian at the Santa Fe Springs City Library. Originally from Maryland, Olivia has previously aided in archival and genealogical projects at both the National Sporting Library and Museum (NSLM) and the Frederick County Historical Society. In her free time she runs a graphic novel book group for women and indulges in absurd amounts of vegan food.

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