Exactly who is Katy Keene?
That’s what I wondered aloud to myself the first time I saw her comic books next to my usual Archie titles in the newsstand at LaGuardia Airport. I was 7 or 8 years old getting prepped for a family flight down to Florida. She reminded me of Veronica but much more flamboyant and fashionable. I asked my mom and she purchased the book for my in flight entertainment. Sure enough, by the time we landed in sunny Florida I had read that first digest cover to cover and I was hooked. This girl was awesome! Smart, beautiful, kind and spunky! Little did I know she had been around long before I discovered her in the 1980’s.
Inspired by wartime pin-up girls, Katy Keene was created by the late great Bill Woggon in 1945. She first appeared in Wilbur Comics #5 and after a few years of being a supporting feature, she eventually went on to have her very own title in 1949. Her comic ran until 1961 and she was not seen again until the early 1980’s, much to the delight of her fans from the past and new readers alike.
Katy was a model living in New York with her pesky kid sister. The stories depicted her desire to become an actress while juggling her many handsome suitors along with her social life with her gal pals. But the most memorable thing about the comic was the fashion! Katy had a serious wardrobe and there was always something chic and glamorous to gaze upon. The amazing thing about the clothing is that it was always designed by the readers. They would submit their own wardrobe ideas and Mr. Woggon would use them in the comic, giving full credit to the ensembles creator. How cool is that?
My favorite part of every issue were the little pin-ups of Katy that you could cut out and put on your wall. I had so many of them! I used to like to play with the paper dolls as well. The costume designs people would submit were always so exciting and inspiring. Katy Keene certainly played a role in my early interest in fashion and she continues to be a source of inspiration to me as a grown woman! She’s simply fabulous 😉
Until next time, Dolls!