Guitars and Sharps and Flats: Josie and the Pussycats Mini Mood Boards

A while back I shared a few mini mood boards featuring some of my favorite ladies from Archie Comics. This week, I’m back with more Riverdale women, specifically the three rockin’ ladies from Josie and the Pussycats.

The Pussycats started appearing in comics in 1963, although they are probably best known for their Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning cartoon released in 1970. Because the animated series eclipsed the comics’ popularity, it isn’t very well known that bassist Valerie was occasionally a third option love interest in some Archie story lines. There was also a live-action movie loosely based on the characters released in 2001, which was one of the first PG-13 movies that my parents ever let me watch.

These boards were a little more difficult to draw inspiration for than the other three. Aside from a few general traits (Josie is the leader, Valerie is smart, Melody is spacy but considered exceptionally attractive), the characterizations and background stories for each character wildly vary. Even the Pussycats’ last names will be completely different depending on who is writing about them. While it was frustrating not being able to pin down specific signature items, hobbies, or personality traits as I had for Betty, Veronica, and Sabrina, I also enjoyed creating new personalities and aesthetics for these classic characters. I hope you enjoy these boards as much as I enjoyed making them!


My main source of inspiration while constructing Josie’s board was her signature red bobbed hairdo. I reimagined her as someone with a penchant for vintage clothing in bright primary colors and for lo-fi, girl group-inspired surf rock. Her main musical inspirations are Best Coast, Shannon and the Clams, and Peach Kelli Pop.


When the animated Pussycats series debuted in 1970, Valerie was the first African American cartoon character to be a regular on a TV series. I would like to think that today she would still be working on creating groundbreaking media, possibly as a riot grrrl creating politically driven, socially conscious music and zines as part of her local punk scene.


Melody’s last name in the 2001 film, as well as certain Pussycats comics, is Valentine, which is fitting considering her early characterization. In early comics, her defining trait was that she was irresistible to all men, but absolutely oblivious to it. A pale Valentines’ Day pink was a key element to creating this board, and I kept the v-day love going with nods to her love of animals and vegetarianism referenced in the movie.

The next batch of Archie ladies is going to hopefully include more obscure characters, including Katy Keene and Cheryl Blossom. Stay tuned for more!

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Hey there, I'm Ellen. 23-year-old film & gender studies student. Art house valley girl. A full-on Monet. I wish Sofia Coppola directed my life.

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