From the 1940s onward, the titles produced under the Archie Comics banner have tried to keep pace with the changing times, referencing various fads, fashions, and trends over the decades. The same applies to Josie And The Pussycats, a comic about a feline-themed all-female rock trio led by a winsome young redhead. In this case, the comic book might have been a little ahead of the game. By October 1973, when issue No. 72 of the series appeared on newsstands, William Peter Blatty’s novel The Exorcist had already been in print two years, but the blockbuster film adaptation directed by William Friedkin was still a couple months away. Josie beat Friedkin to the punch with a macabre little tale called “Vengeance From The Crypt,” which has now been resurrected at Dangerous Minds. An article there—complete with plenty of amazing images from the actual comic—says that the story likely owes its existence to the Comics Code Authority relaxing its standards in 1971.
Whatever its origins, “Vengeance From The Crypt” is, to say the least, an oddity. Readers will recognize the characters from the popular early 1970s Hanna Barbera series, but the tone and dialogue are entirely different. The plot goes something like this: Josie and the gang visit the mausoleum of the wealthy Cabot clan so that their streaky-haired frenemy Alexandra can pay her last respects to her deceased grandfather. Fun, right? While in the mausoleum, Josie becomes possessed by the spirit of Alexandra’s hateful Aunt Julia, and before long, she’s setting fire to the Cabots’ drapes and smashing furniture left and right. Fortunately, the other Pussycats are able to drive the evil out of their stricken friend with the aid of the Good Book. Once Aunt Julia’s coffin is reduced to dust, all is well again, and the ladies can go back to touring, playing concerts, and trying really hard to pretend that none of this ever happened.