From 1959 to 1964 Stan Lee and Stan Goldberg produced 27 issues of Kathy the Teenage Tornado. The subtitle was just a flourish of meaningless branding on their part as Kathy’s standard teen adventures were (not surprisingly) bland distant echoes of Archie Comics. Her predictable entourage included dreamy boyfriend Ricky, his faintly creepy rival for her affections Ace (no means no, Ace), goon Speedy, incredibly ugly best friend Fanny and total bitch Liz. Long before the term “frenemy” was coined women, at least those written by Stan Lee, invariably had that one ‘friend’ who openly hated their guts and was always trying to steal her boyfriend and destroy her self-esteem. Kathy’s was Liz.
There was only, and only one, interesting thing about Kathy. Through out her run she started being drawn more and more realistically until about two-thirds of the way into it the comic dropped all pretense of being an Archie clone and was either a dull romance comic with reoccurring characters or a humorless teen title. I’m honestly not sure which, but this version wasn’t any more interesting.
There is something about the early 1960’s I don’t think I’ll ever understand; this hairdo. I can still remember my bitter disappointment when in Amazing Spider-Man‘s sexy ‘older woman’ Betty Brant lost her cool head of curls and went all helmet head on us, losing the majority of her appeal in the process.
And remember when I called Liz a bitch? Here she is, ratting out Kathy to the FBI. Now that’s a bitch.
Marvel’s Kathy shouldn’t be confused with Standard’s (a.k.a. Nedor, a.k.a. Better) Kathy, which ran for seventeen issues published between 1949 and 1955. This Kathy had such a healthy figure she had to wear her ‘k’ on her skirt — never saw that one before.