Support Shawn's writng with a donation

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What happened to Pepper from Josie Comics?

Before Josie became a Pussycat with a long tail and ears for a hat, she and Melody hung out with a cool girl named Pepper. She had a short Italian haircut, wore cat-eyed glasses and had a KICKASS personality.

What happened to Pepper? It’s a question most comic fans want Archie Comics to finally answer.

Pepper from the Pre-Pussycats Josie was AWESOME. She had charisma, a sense of humor, and a “voice” that spoke loud and clear out of every word balloon. A beauty with a brain, she’s the kind of character who could easily carry her own book today.  

Then one day in Josie #68 everything changed. Josie and Melody formed a band with their new friend Valerie called the Pussy Cats. Josie got a new boyfriend named Alan, Alex’s sister Alexandra came along for the world tour and Pepper and Josie’s original boyfriend Albert just disappeared.

And no one knows where they went.

On the abrupt disappearance of Pepper old-school Josie readers were left to wonder: Did Josie and Pepper have a falling out? Did Melody and Pepper have a falling out? Did Josie catch Albert putting some Pepper on his penis? Was Pepper just a racist? Did she and Josie stop traveling in the same circles when Josie and Melody started the Pussy Cats? Or did she just move out of Riverdale?

It’s one of the biggest mysteries of the comic book world. One comic fans never got closure on.

Yeah, Josie’s part of Riverdale got a bit more diverse with the addition of her new Black friend Valerie. And future Charlie’s Angel Cheryl Ladd singing the iconic Josie and the Pussy Cats singing the theme song made Josie and her new Pussy Cat friends household names. But I’d say someone great got lost in the new late 1960s Josie and the Pussy Cats revamp.

A girl named Pepper.

Pepper was one of the coolest female characters ever to appear in comics. Before Daria was ever a gleam in Jake Morgendorffer’s eye, she was doing things her own way and loving it. It’s a shame she got lost in the annals of Archie Comics.

What readers like myself liked most about Pepper from old-school Josie comics was the fact that she wasn’t afraid to be herself. She was comfortable in her own skin. She liked who she was. And that made us love her as a character.

Pepper belongs in of fame of super awesome comic book women with Harvey’s Black Cat, Phantom Lady, Patsy Walker, Kitty Pryde, Sue Dibney and Jubilee. These are the kinds of female comic book characters who are great role models for girls. They’re the kinds of female characters who girls and women can relate to and identify with. And they just make comics FUN. It’s a shame great characters like this get buried.

If there’s ever a character in need of a revamp at Archie comics, it’s Pepper. Lil’ Jinx got a really cool revamp a few years ago and Robert Hack is doing all sorts of awesome shit with the art on Sabrina, the teen-age witch. Pepper has sat on the Archie Comics shelf for WAY too long. It’s time to give her a second chance in print.

I think it’s about time comic fans learned out what happened to Pepper. In a world where Betty, Veronica and Cheryl Blossom have carried their own Archie Comics, Pepper needs to be given an opportunity to show readers how great she is. Come on Dan Parent, with all the awesome shit you’ve been publishing at Archie Comics give us a Pepper limited series!

Full Pepper Story! Click on it!
I wish I could get a crack at writing a revamped Pepper for Archie. Offbeat female characters are my specialty. Two years ago when I published the novel The Thetas readers around the world gave Colleen Anderson an incredibly enthusiastic response. And with the positive response I’m getting from the heroines in the Isis and E’steem series novelettes, I think I’d be a good fit for the character. I’d love to reintroduce readers to Pepper and show them why she adds some spice to their comic reading experience.

If you ever discover any old school Josie stories in an Archie digest or Double Digest, you are in for a treat! Any stories with Pepper in them are definitely worth a read!


  1. Enjoyable read. I love the pre-pussycat Josie's. It took me a while, but I now have the complete collection of her comics, or so I thought. Are you able to tell me what comic the pic labeled 'why Pepper is so awesome' is from?

  2. Actually, got all those strips from old Archie Double Digests from the 1980s I had. Can't remember the title of the story though.

  3. Thanks for the reply, at least I now have an idea where to start looking. Although I think it will be almost impossible to track down, without the story title or the double digest issue number.

  4. Thsi trade may have some: I know Archie published a trade with all the pre-pussycats Josies, but I can't find it online.

  5. Thanks very much I'll check it out.

  6. Thanks again for the heads-up on this, it didn't yield any new Josie stories, but I got a few new pussycat ones. In my searching I came across the official Archie comics site If you join your able to read selected comics free. One was world of Archie double digest 33, and it had some Josie Pepper stories I hadn't read. I didn't realize new stories were being printed in issues like that at the same time the regular Josie & She's Josie comics were being published. It's given me so much more to search for now :)

  7. Hi
    I was the original model for Pepper. Dan Jr and I were best friends growing up, and the DeCarlos were virtually like family to me. Pepper’s clothes, attitude, and even her glasses were based on me. Wilbur was Dan Jr. My real name is Ginger.

    1. Wow, this is a surprise! I never thought I'd hear from the person who was the model for Pepper! I'm so happy to hear from you! Pepper was one of my favorite characters from the oldschool Josie comics and I wish she'd come back to Archie Comics and the Archieverse because she was so much fun to read when I was in High school.

      There was a magic to those old DeCarlo comics and I always enjoyed reading them.