The PUSSYCAT one-shot is something of an oddity in the Marvel back catalog. As it doesn’t carry any Marvel markings, it can easily be overlooked as even coming from the House of Ideas, though the indicia makes things clear. And in truth, while it originated in the same place, it got there the long way around. Nevertheless, in 1968, the same year in which the black and white SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN magazine was launched, the company also put out this black and white magazine, which collected a bevy of the character’s earlier appearances behind a painted Bill Everett cover.

“Earlier appearances?” I can hear you ask. Yes,. PUSSYCAT originated in 1965 as a feature that would run in the pages of some of Marvel publisher Martin Goodman’s pulpy men’s magazines such as MALE and SWAG. Goodman was looking for his own answer to PLAYBOY’s Little Annie Fanny, and given that he had an entire comic book company on teh payroll, he didn’t need to look that far. The first Pussycat adventure ran in MALE ANNUAL #3 and was the work of the great Wally Wood, with Stan Lee apparently contributing the script and some degree of editorial direction.

This sort of strip was very much in Wood’s wheelhouse, and he’d later go on to do his own version of the same sort of idea, SALLY FORTH. Pussycat was a secretary at the secret organization S.C.O.R.E.(the Secret Council Of Ruthless Extroverts) who winds up being recruited as an active agent because her attractive physique and total lack of guile is likely to make her an effective operative against the enemy organization L.U.S.T. (the Legion of Undesirable Sinister Types–the strip strained to make its acronyms work.) It’s pretty dopey stuff, and really just an excuse to draw pretty girls in various stages of undress, accompanied by goofy one-liners.

Wood only worked on the initial Pussycat strip, thereafter leaving Marvel due to conflicts with editor Lee over the amount of plotting work Wood was doing without additional compensation. Thereafter, Lee brought in artists such as Jim Mooney, Bill Ward, Al Hartley and Bill Everett to handle the strip. He also largely turned over the writing to his younger brother Larry Lieber, although he’d occasionally contribute a basic plot idea.

Pussycat never really became anything more than a filler strip, for all that it ran intermittently from 1965-1972 across assorted magazines in Goodman’s line. But for some reason, in 1968 Goodman was inspired to try issuing a reprint magazine of the earlier strips in an attempt to turn it into something larger. But the magazine didn’t sell especially well, and there was never a follow-up issue. As the 1960s drew to a close, the spy spoof conceit of the series was dropped and Pussycat was recast as an intrepid though hapless reporter who’d get involved in researching stories and somehow wind up with her clothes pulled off. This was not deep stuff.

The PUSSYCAT one-shot did include one all-new selection, which ran at the very back of the magazine for some reason. “The Hidden Hippy Caper” was written by Larry Lieber and illustrated by Jim Mooney.

The magazine also featured a brand new centerfold of the title character as depicted by Bill Everett.

3 thoughts on “PUSSYCAT #1

  1. The first article I ever sold was about PUSSYCAT. It’s in AMAZING HEROES # 172, from 1989. I got a few things wrong but I now know better. The series continued on for several years after the one-shot, almost always bylined at that point by Lieber and Mooney from then on, although at least one seems clearly John Buscema’s work. When Goodman sold Marvel, he retained Pussycat since it was really always part of his men’s mag line. The company began reprinting them–slightly retouched (censored) in their numerous black and white pulp paper nudie mags. As the pics in the mags grew MORE explicit, the Pussycat strips were made LESS so. Somehow, Goodman also retained the rights to Basil Wolverton’s 1940s Timely work and the nudie mags were a great place to find Powerhouse Pepper strips–even some that had never been printed back in the day!–right up until Chip went slick with STAG and the cheaper mags fell by the wayside in the early 1980s.


  2. There is an unauthorized reprint for sale on Amazon of this issue by Mini Komiks, so someone apparently forgot to renew the copyright. The stories are dopey, but the art is ok, especially Mooneys ink washes!


  3. Obviously the humor on these stories is infantile, and I’m sure some people would regard this as incredibly sexist. Nevertheless, the artwork is gorgeous. I wonder if the contributors saw the Pussycat stories as an opportunity to briefly work outside the superhero genre that had become more and more ubiquitous as the 1960s progressed.


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