TITLE: Patsy and Hedy vol. 1, Issue #69
YEAR: April 1960
COMPANY: Male Publishing Corp.
By Stan Lee and Art Hartley
Years before Stan Lee would be known for his work on Marvel Comics and before Al Hartley would be known for his work on Archie Comics, the two men worked on a comic book series titled “Patsy and Hedy” for Male Publishing Corp.
The two began their work with each other for Timely Comics (which would evolve in the 1960’s to become Marvel Comics) in 1949 and would eventually work on the series “Patsy and Hedy”.
For Marvel Comics fans, the importance of Patsy is that the fashion-driven girl next door would eventually become the superhero known as Hellcat who was seen in “The Avengers” and becoming a member of the Defenders.
But I’m not going to talk about Hellcat, let’s talk about Patsy and Hedy. I would like to see it as Male Publishing Corp.’s answer to MLJ Comics Archie Comics, who have dominated the teenage comic scene since Archie, Betty and Veronica would first appear in Pep comics Issue #22.
Patsy Walker first appeared in Miss America Magazine #22 (Nov. 1944) for Timely Comics and would appear in issues of “Miss America”, “Teen Comics”, “Girls’ Life” and “Patsy Walker”. Eventually, this would lead to more spinoffs such as “Patsy & Hedy”, “Patsy and Her Pals”, “A Date with Patsy”.
Patsy and Hedy may remind people of Archie’s Betty and Veronica. Hedy Wolfe is rich, conceited and often full of herself and feels that she is often in competition with her friend, Patsy. Patsy sometimes can’t stand when Hedy goes into ego mode but she accepts things the way they are. And right now, Patsy is dating car enthusiast, Buzz and Hedy is dating Ronnie.
Each issue of “Patsy and Hedy”, are various stories similar to Archie Comics but a main difference is the company often had contests for readers to design outfits for Patsy and Hedy and if they win, their outfit sketches would be featured in the comic with the character sporting the outfit.
The concept worked well in enticing female readership but also readership in general.
“Patsy and Hedy” would last through issue #110 (Feb. 1967) with the final issue featuring a column featuring David McCallum, Elvis Presley and Mia Farrow.
In issue #69, Hedy starts becoming jealous of Patsy and seeing how close Buzz is with Patsy, she now wants to steal Buzz away from her. And knowing that he is a car enthusiast, Hedy asks her wealthy father to purchase her an Italian Gumbah-Pizza sports car.
And sure enough, Hedy is able to win Buzz attention. But will Hedy win Buzz’ affection?
Another storyline features famous sculptor Chauncey Chisel visiting the area and choosing Hedy to be his model. And because of this, Hedy’s ego grows.
The third storyline features the ladies and their boyfriends going to a ski resort and when the ladies spot an expert skier, immediately the two young ladies ditch their boyfriends and try to vie for the expert skier’s affections.
There also several one-page stories featured throughout the comic book and for the most part, many will find this issue to be quite entertaining.
For those who love Archie Comics, will no doubt enjoy this series for having a similar style, more closely to the “Betty and Veronica” series. But for Hellcat fans, one will find how interesting how Marvel would convert their beloved high school and career girl to becoming a superhero featured in “The Avengers” issue #144 (Feb. 1976) and joining The Defenders in issue #44 (Feb. 1977).
But for those who want to read the original stories before Patsy Walker became a superhero, will no doubt enjoy reading an issue of “Patsy Walker” or “Patsy and Hedy”.