STATUS: Basically True
Marvel Comics was founded by Martin Goodman, who got his start in the pulp magazine business, which was not the most delicate of business arenas. Right up until he sold his company, Martin Goodman produced men's magazines alongside the comic books of the Marvel line. There would occasionally be some off-color magazines being published by Goodman's men's magazine company. Marvel, though, was kept relatively untouched by such influences, or so most readers thought. However, they most likely did not know about the Adventures of Pussycat.
The Adventures of Pussycat was a men's magazine one-shot in 1968 made up out of a collection of somewhat racy comic strips (and an uncovered, but not nude, centerfold) about a sexy secret agent, in the same fashion as Playboy's popular Little Annie Fanny by Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder (who sadly just recently passed away). The strip ran through many of Goodman's men's magazines. The black and white one-shot was launched the same time as the black and white Spectacular Spider-Man magazine was launched.
What is notable about the strip is that it was produced by many of the same workers who were part of Marvel Comics at the time, including Stan Lee himself doing some of the scripting!
Lee's brother Larry Lieber wrote some of the strips, as well. The series' opening strip was drawn by the legendary Wally Wood. The comic detailed the adventures of Pussycat, a secretary for S.C.O.R.E. (Secret Council of Ruthless Extroverts) who is then recruited to fight against S.C.O.R.E.'s arch-nemesis, L.U.S.T.
It is a hilarious juxtaposition to see names like Jim Mooney and Bill Everett working on a comic like this, but especially seeing Stan Lee himself writing the strip!
Thanks to Fred Hembeck for turning me on to this comic! Here's Fred's take on his first encounter with the comic (that's where the above scans came from - thanks, again, Fred! Check out his website, while you're at it at hembeck.com. And also, get ready to buy his book in two weeks! Preorder it here!)
Okay, that's it for this week!
Thanks to the Grand Comic Book Database for this week's covers!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you next week!