Free Katy!

by Erin on May 25, 2006


Katy Keene

Did anyone else ever read Katy Keene? I would read her in the Archie Comics when I was a little girl, and for a while, right after college, I deputized Mr. Dress A Day to look for them whenever he saw a box of old comics. (Not that he ever found any, the boxes being mainly stocked with homoerotic Batman/Superman adventures …)

Katy Keene was a fashion designer (or sometimes a model, or sometimes, I don't know, a pin-up astronaut, these are comics we're talking about) and her clothes were all designed by her readers. Yes, that's right. They let glamour-freak little girls aged about 8 to 14 design what Katy Keene wore. Lamé at all hours of the day, crazy fur, ruffles on top of ruffles on top of bows. Bling of all kinds and all nations. Check out the image above — if this is what Katy (and her arch-rival, Gloria) wore to a DOG SHOW, what do you think they wore on dates? Let's just say, that, if Katy were real, the price of marabou would have topped $100/barrel.

Katy Keene
Now Archie Comics has brought Katy Keene back, and put out the call for readers to design for her again. Which is a good thing, because frankly? The girl needs help. (That's her on the left.) I know Katy Keene has a career (as opposed to Betty and Veronica, who have been living at home for roughly sixty-five years) but that doesn't mean she has to dress like a working girl! Seriously — this is SO wrong. What happened to the organza frills of yesteryear? I think we need to do a guerrilla takeover of Katy Keene. If we overwhelm them with outfits that don't scream "I was Hooker #3 in the movie Angel," perhaps we can push the comic back towards the pretty, albeit WAY over-the-top, ensembles that Katy used to be known for. Click on the image or the link for the address. (Be warned, the Archie Comics site looks like Archie Andrews himself designed it. Or possibly Jughead, between bites.)

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol@Dandelion Vintage May 25, 2006 at 7:19 am

Oh my gosh yes, We have to start a movement to give Katy some decent clothing. Otherwise she’ll end up dressed like Paris Hilton or a Bratz doll.Carol

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Anonymous May 25, 2006 at 9:12 am

And then it’s just a short step to seeing Katy at Go Fug Yourself. Come to think of it, perhaps the girls at GFY could have a comic book battle-bikini special edition.

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Camille C May 25, 2006 at 9:23 am

I actually think they should have left her looks alone (facial features and curves). I know she looks more modern now but she also looks kind of plain. The old Katy was way hotter! Why would they dress her like that. It’s just lude!

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Anonymous May 25, 2006 at 9:59 am

How did I miss Katy Keene during the umpteen hours I’ve spent trolling on eBay? If we’re going to update her, we’ve got to start with the name. How about Katie? I’m sure Katie Couric would understand. Katie Couric is perky, much like I would imagine Katy Keene is. You know annoyingly so. The type that doesn’t need caffeine to wake up in the morning. Probably goes to bed that way too.

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Tailypo May 25, 2006 at 11:14 am

Erin, am I your zombie slave, and did I write this post last night while I thought I was innocently sleeping? For not only was I obsessed, OBSESSSED with Katy Keene (there was a drawer full of my aunt’s old KKs at grandma’s) but I was also obsessed with Angel (High School Honor Student by Day. Hollywood Hooker by Night) having seen fifteen minutes of it on HBO before my mother came in, screamed “My GOD what are you watching?” and snapping it off, but not before allowing me to develop a lifelong worship/terror of Susan Tyrell.

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Erin May 25, 2006 at 1:31 pm

Tailypo — if you also collect songs about robots, I’m going to be really creeped out!I believe I also saw only fifteen minutes of “Angel” as well — I was babysitting, and the parents came home early … Never caught it again.

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Anonymous May 25, 2006 at 3:25 pm

I just went and designed a fantastic outfit- forest green with light green ruffles at the knee, puffy pale teal sleeves and off the shoulder band. and big teal legwarmers and pink shoes. and little brown gloves and a sash with a pink purse. I, personally, wouldn’t wear it. But I do think it’s pretty. And I’m making a note to catch, “Angel.”

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Anonymous May 25, 2006 at 5:50 pm

I was/am a member of the Katy Keene fan club. I sent in my “application” when I was 18 years old. I’m nearing 40. The Katy Keene fan club button and ball point pen that I got when I joined the club are major highlights of my accessories collection. Now that she has a new look, I hope that there are new giveaways for new members of her club, because hers is not a look to which I wish to pledge fandom. I would proudly wave the old Katy Keene freak flag (or at least put the button on my jean jacket), but the new Katy is just whorish and wrong. Give me back that maribou.I so wish the Big Boy fan club would have accepted me when I applied. Apparently, the club was rather elite and limited to people 12 years old and under. If there was a Big Boy character today, he’d probably get a makeover, too! What on earth was wrong with his red and white checkered bib overalls, anyway?

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mk May 25, 2006 at 6:34 pm

Since I contributed at least one Very 80′s Ensemble to Misty (a KK spinoff comic), perhaps I should seek redemption and submit something tasteful.

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lucitebox May 25, 2006 at 7:04 pm

Well, I for one, am wondering when Erin will submit the Duro dress for Katy!

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lastewie May 25, 2006 at 8:46 pm

Erin? I think I am in love with the theoretical you. Do you have a Straight, Single, Triangle Man style/size I can try on?Jerry and I have been watching tons of old movies recently, and all I can look at are the clothes/dresses.

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Floridaprincess May 25, 2006 at 10:12 pm

I have never heard of Katy Keene. I read the Archies when I was growing up tho. My former boyfriend is a comic book collector. I used to go to the big Marvel comic book conventions. I used to look through his comic books and read his romance ones from the 40′s. I have never seen Katy Keene. I feel deprived now.Next time I talk to former boyfriend I will ask him about this comic book.

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mk May 25, 2006 at 10:23 pm

Whoops, Misty was not a Katy Keene spinoff – Trina Robbins did use the same clothing-designed-by-readers, and there was a revival of Katy Keene from 1983 – 1990, hence my confusion.

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Jerry May 26, 2006 at 12:56 am

I’m pretty sure that Archie Comics also solicited designs for Betty and Veronica. I remember seeing splash pages in Archie Comics with the gals wearing reader-contributed fashions.While Stewie’s looking at the old dresses in the movies, I’m looking at the cars and the fedoras. I’m sorry; that’s just how I roll.And I’m just going to pretend you didn’t just totally dis my man Forsythe Pendleton “Jugehead” Jones, III. Sure, he’s perpetually in high school, but I’ll bet he would shape up to be a pretty good information architect. You’re right about Archie, though — however well-meaning he may be, he remains a lovable goof.

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CheapCameraTricks May 26, 2006 at 2:01 am

I remember her well – what a treat to be reminded of Katy’s fancy collars and skin-tight dresses (which I studied faithfully during my I-wanna-be-a-fashion-designer phase). Great find, and thanks for bringing a smile to my face.

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Anonymous May 26, 2006 at 1:27 pm

Katy was a very big part of my childhood. My uncle used to buy me Katy Keene comics and I would drool over the fashions. That was way back when women competed to look sophisicated and stylish. Now all I see on the runways are every designers version of HOW SLUTTY CAN I LOOK? By the way, does anyone remember Brenda Starr? I absolutely adored her, too.

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lucitebox May 26, 2006 at 3:15 pm

Of course I remember Brenda Starr. I always liked it that Blondie (the band, not the comic) dropped her name in a song–Rip Her To Shreds.So, is anyone going to purchase the new Katy comic? I might, just for giggles.

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Carbonelle May 28, 2006 at 11:47 pm

Roger! Wilco!

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HouseofComics.com November 5, 2006 at 9:19 pm

I’m happy to see such a nice discussion of the new Katy Keene. I don’t know if it’s that the world is ready for Katy Keene every 20 years or just that 20 years is a good time to renew the copyrights, but it’s fun for us to see her again.I’m not a huge fan of the 80s version but we are probably the world’s biggest seller of the originals. We ended up with a lot of Bill Woggon file copies and tons of the promo items. I’m always amazed at the creativity of all the items. Wallet cards, big deluxe paper dolls, etc. We had a couple of the postcards that the Woggon team would send to kids who contributed fashions and they were just stunning, especially the Christmas ones.Because we’re so easy to find on Google under Katy Keene we get lots of fun correspondence with people who share their Katy stories. I even hear from people who say they had a fashion idea published once and do I know which issue it was? (No, I do not…)There were two actual Katy-con gatherings in Santa Barbara. I believe in 1984 and 1985. It was this revival of Katy fandom that helped lead Archie to publish new stories in the 80s.Btw, Katy Keene was my mom’s favorite comic.Marcinfo@houseofcomics.com

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Anonymous January 24, 2007 at 7:44 am
Anonymous May 20, 2008 at 4:52 pm

I just found my old Katy Keene Designers Club card from 1957 among old stuff I was throwing away. What great memories of myself drawing Katy’s fashions and sending them in to her! My card says that my designs appreared in the comics and that I also sent in a photo of myself. I don’t recall that, but I am wondering what happened to Katy’s persoanl Pin-up board? Thanks for the memories.

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Anonymous August 3, 2008 at 2:26 am

I remember a series where Brenda Starr had gone native (perpetually wearing a bikini for several weeks .)and being in prepubescent euphoria while a man held her bound as a prisoner before being rescued.She came back from this adventure and to relax she did some gardening for several days(in various positions showing her great legs and curvy bottom.)in hip huggers a tiny tube exposing her midriff and navel and walking around barefoot.The next sequence showed her rewarding herself with a sumptuous bubblebath!

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Sedicka August 7, 2008 at 6:40 am

hi alli was a great Katy Keene fan growing up. I now work in the clothing industry.The revamped Katy does NOT look great!!I remember Katy as all feminine, girlie and sexy.What have they done to her now , clonning her into a bratz or barbie, i’m very disturbed !!I loved the frills,furs,big ball gowns and all the tight fitted numbers..

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