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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Archie Key Issues Part 5

Okay, Okay. I know. I was suppose to just stick with the world of Archie and Riverdale, but I'm gonna throw in some Josie key issues even if her world is in Midvale. 

Elvis Presley was actually a fan of the Archie comics as well as the Captain Marvel comic books. Just a fun fact there.

Alright, let's get this on. If you missed Part 4, click the link. If not, here's some more Archie Key issues.

1st issue to 1st Josie headlining comic
2nd appearance of Josie?
1st appearance of Alexander Cabot III

Dan DeCarlo's creation gets her own series. After failing to sell the character as a newspaper strip, DeCarlo optioned Josie to Archie Comics.

They wanted it and told him to put Josie and her crew in their comics. The character of Josie is actually named after Dan's wife. Pretty cool thing to do.

Alexander Cabot III also makes his first appearance in this issue. He has a crush on Josie and constantly tries to win her over. In later comics, Alexander Cabot III would end up appointing himself the manager of Josie and the Pussycats.

His sister Alexandra would be a major foil to Josie, and a major supporting character for the Josie series. This issue also sees the first appearances of Albert and Sock, both early love interests for Josie and Pepper.

February, 1963 is the cover date for She's Josie #1. This comic supposedly followed after Josie's first appearance in Archie's Pals 'N Gals #23, but it's LoC copyright registration date actually precedes it. This comic may have actually hit the stands before Archie's Pals 'N Gals #23, but the story in that comic is still considered the first Josie story.

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3rd appearance of Josie

Overstreet notes this as the 3rd appearance of Josie, and I don't think this one is too sought out just yet in the market. The newest Overstreet guide clocks a NM- at $60 bucks. Don't know about CGC copies since there hasn't been a CGC sale for this issue in the last two years on eBay.

Then again, there aren't any on the CGC Census, so probably this issue isn't quite a big deal yet or not worth slabbing by collectors currently. Could change in the future. Pep Comics #161 has the cover date of  March, 1963. Over-looked? I would say so.

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2nd appearance of Cricket O'Dell

Archie's Pal Jughead #95 sees the 2nd appearance of the character Cricket O'Dell. Not a terribly valuable or sought out comic yet, and although one of the more minor characters, Cricket O'Dell is pretty known by fans of Archie.

Cover date to Archie's Pal Jughead #95 is April, 1963, and Overstreet has NM- value of $60.

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1st appearance of Alexandra Cabot

Everyone's gotta have a nemesis or rival. That's just life, and in the world of comics, it's an necessary evil for sure. With Josie, Alexandra Cabot is her main rival, and this twin sister of Alexander Cabot III, would continually try to compete for the affections of Josie's boyfriend Albert.

This character became even more of a nemesis when Josie and Melody decided to form a rock band. At first, they asked Alexandra to be a member, and she agreed but only if they changed the name to Alexandra and Cool Time Cats.

Unfortunately for her, Alexandra's twin brother appointed himself the manager of the band and recruited the new girl in school Valerie Smith as the bassist. Upset, Alexandra swore revenge.

Of course, these events do not take place until much later, but Alexandra is the Reggie Mantle to Josie. She's Josie #7 has the cover date of  August, 1964. The title would later change to "Josie" by issue #17.

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1st issue to another Archie comic title

1st issue key comic here, and yet another Archie spin-off title. Those looking for Silver Age Archie comics, this one is definitely one, but so far no one's found anything really significant about it yet other than a 1st issue to another Archie titled comic.

NM- is clocked in at $300 in the current Overstreet. I have no idea why the only CGC copy I could find on eBay at a 3.5 is priced at $200 bucks. It does have a Best Offer though.

Still, kinda pricey for issue and at that grade. I'd rather try my luck with a raw NM- and find it at a con or a local for that kind of money. Well, that's if I were interested. Archie and Me #1 has the cover date of October, 1964.

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1st appearance of Pureheart the Powerful

As long time readers of this site know by now, the Silver Age brought the revival of superhero comics when they fell out of favor shortly after World War II. Of course, Archie was not immune to this resurgence, and creatives over at Archie Comics jumped on the superhero bandwagon.

This is considered an alternative universe of sorts and not really part of mainstream continuity, but Archie becomes Pureheart the Powerful in this issue. It is a parody or jab at superhero comics, and Archie's source of power was called the PH Factor.

His powers can only last as long as his heart is pure, which often creates some embarrassing moments for Pureheart the Powerful. Slapstick comedy was of course the goal for this character, and some fans do consider this an Archie Silver Age key worth getting. 

It's guided at $155 for a low NM, so it's not that light-weight in terms of demand. October, 1965 is the cover date for Life with Archie #42.

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1st appearance of Superteen
Origin of Superteen

Of course, Betty also gets to get her superhero on and becomes Superteen in this issue. With a twist of her magic ponytail, she is turned into a superhero.

This comic also has the origin of Superteen, and the character starts off in Betty's imagination really. This character would end up in the really, real world of Archie soon. So, there are two origins to this character, and the other one is Betty and Me #3.

Another comic that's no light-weight, but not overly crazily priced just yet. NM- is valued at $110 in Overstreet currently.

You might still be able to get really good deals on this issue. "Might" is the operative word here since I don't see that many high grade copies online for this one just yet. This comic has the cover date of October, 1965.

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1st Man from R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E.

Parodying spy shows, Archie Comics saw fit to create an alternate world in which Archie and gang are high-tech spies for a world defense organization known as P.O.P. or Protect Our World. The nemesis organization was C.R.U.S.H., and Moose, Veronica, and Reggie were agents of the bad organization.

Low NMs or NM minuses are guided at $115 currently. I don't think high grades will be that crazy just yet for this Archie Silver Age key, but I could be wrong. Life With Archie #45 has the cover date of January, 1966.

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Origin of  Pureheart the Powerful

Much like Betty's introduction as Superteen, Archie's first intro as Pureheart the Powerful or Captain Pureheart was just a dream he had in Life With Archie #42. This issue Archie really becomes the superhero and his origin story is told.

Once again the PH Factor (Power of the Pureheart) is the source of his powers, and this issue reveals how Archie is able to tap into it. In his first appearance, Pureheart's costume was red and had a cape. In this issue, the red is changed to orange.

This comic has the cover date of February, 1966. Life With Archie #46 isn't cheap, but it's not crazy expensive either. I don't see that many slabbed copies for this one online either.

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1st appearance of Evilheart

Of course, Reggie Mantle finds out that he can kind of tap into a polar variation of the PH-Factor and turn into the villainous Evilheart. Sometimes, he would team up with Pureheart the Powerful, Superteen, and Captain Hero in some adventures.

Life With Archie #48 has the cover date April, 1966, and this also details the origin of how Reggie Mantle becomes Evilheart.

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1st United Three appearance

For the life of me, I can't find the first appearance of Jughead as Captain Hero. This issue may be it, but I know it's not Archie Giant Series #142 as this issue came out before it.
So, not sure about that, but issue does mark the first appearance of Captain Pureheart, Superteen and Captain Hero as the United Three. July, 1966 is the cover date for Life With Archie #50.
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1st appearance of the Archies

Although Reggie, Jughead and Archie were shown rocking out in other bands prior, this is the first official appearance of Archie, Reggie, and Jughead as the trio the Archies. Betty and Veronica would later join the group also.

Archie was lead vocals and guitar, Reggie on bass and backing vocals, and Jughead beating the skins. Although a fictional band, the Archies did come out with the hit song "Sugar, Sugar" for the Saturday morning cartoon Archie Show. It was written by Jeff Barry and Andy Kim and was released on the album Everything Archie.

Most everyone knows of this song, and it came out in 1969. I personally like the Mary Lou and Semisonic cover the best, but that song has been covered by multiple groups and artists. My man Wilson Pickett even did a cover of the song.

Don't know no Wilson Pickett? Mustang Sally, guess you better slow your Mustang down. For a little nostalgia, you can check out the original cartoon that featured "Sugar, Sugar".

So, the Archies became a part of the Archie mythos and appeared here and there in the comics, but the fictional band also became a part of American pop culture also. Life With Archie #60 is a late Silver Age Archie key issue and April, 1967 is the cover date.

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1st appearance of Hot Dog
Hot Dog first started out as Archie Andrews' dog, but later became Jughead's pup. Hot Dog became a prominent character in the Archie comics.

He would later inherent the same characteristics as Jughead, and developed a love for food and was lazier. Archie would be seen owning dogs in his early appearances, but the other dogs didn't stick around long unlike Hot Dog.

Pep Comics #224 featuring the first appearance of Hot Dog has the cover date of December, 1968.

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  • 1st appearance of Alan M 

In the comics, Alan M is a folk singer and would actually take the place of Albert as Josie's main love interest. Like Albert, Alexandra Cabot would scheme to win the affections of Alan M also.

So Alan M would become an important supporting character in the world of Josie's comics, and of course, his first appearance is in this issue. It would only be a few months and a few issues later when Josie's title would change again and become Josie and The Pussycats.

August, 1969 is the cover date of Josie #42, and this key issue is an important one in Josie comics.

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1st appearance of the Pussycats
1st appearance of Valerie
Title changed

I don't even have to be a fan to know that Josie and the Pussycats are probably going to show up in the Riverdale TV show that's in development sometime. Why?

'Cause there's gotta be some Rock 'N Roll element in it, even if they most likely do a contemporary take on the gang. After all, we are talking about teenagers here, and the Archie comics definitely put a lot of pop culture in the background of the stories and music as well.

From Marilyn to the Beetles to Elvis to Benny Goodman, music had a strong presence in these comics. Josie, Valerie and Melody are definitely going to be in the TV show. I would actually be disappointed if they weren't, and they would probably be the only thing I'd really want to watch in that TV show.

Why? I like female rockers. I was never one of those guys who said girls can't rock or girls shouldn't rock or even play sports for that matter. I'd always been down with that.

Actually, I dig female musicians, and have a definite soft spot for 'em. A female that can wail on the drums? Fugged aboud id!

This issue has the first appearance of Valerie Smith, the brains and songwriter behind the group. In the comics, she had the last name of Smith, but in the Saturday morning cartoon, they changed the last name to Brown.

Brown was the surname also used for the character in the 2001 movie, and she was played by none other than Rosario Dawson! While I doubt that Josie and the Pussycats will be part of the main Riverdale TV show cast, I'm pretty sure that they may have some episodes where Josie and her band pop up in Riverdale, or maybe the Archie gang find themselves in Midvale, the neighboring town where Josie, Valerie, and Melody come from, in a few episodes here and there.

But back to comics, due to the success of the Archie Show, and the Archies hit radio song "Sugar, Sugar", Hanna-Barbera contacted Archie Comics about adapting one of their other properties into an animated cartoon show. Archie Comics wanted to redevelop Josie into a teenage music band, and granted Hanna-Barbera the rights to a morning cartoon show.

Thus, the result is Josie and the Pussycats, and some original supporting comic characters like Pepper, Albert (Josie's early main love interest) and Pepper's dim-witted boyfriend Sock were eventually phased out from the comics.

Hey, if you're a fan of the comics or looking for a currently under-valued Silver Age Archie key comic, Josie and the Pussycats #45 is definitely high on that list and has the cover date of December, 1969. Not an easy find in the market at all, especially for higher grades.

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I definitely missed some Silver Age Archie key issues, so I'll just name a few. Since I talked a little bit about Rock N' Roll or more like Bubblegum Pop in Part 5, Jughead's Folly #1 may have the first mention of Elvis Presley in a comic. I don't think Elvis actually appears in the story.

There's also Archie's TV Laugh Out spin-off series that came out during the Silver Age as well, and Betty and Me. As I mentioned before Betty and Me #3 has the origin of Superteen. 

Then there's Josie and the Pussycats, and if they do end up being on the show and the show is successful, I do wonder what spin-off TV series will be considered. After all comic book TV shows are being spun-off left and right, but who knows.

Don't even feel like speculating. We'll, Part 6 will be hitting the Bronze Age of Archie key issues, so I'll see you in Part 6.

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