Wait, don’t go yet, this is still a comic book related posting. Just hear me out!
Kiss is one of those rare moments where something takes itself seriously, yet understands that its underlying premise is to be completely ridiculously over the top. The fans, the Kiss Army, might be the most loyal and longest lasting organization of fans in Rock and Roll. Sorry Deadheads, but the Kiss Army wins.
Let’s take a look at Kiss and comics:
Constant reboots and lineup changes, with old members coming back now and then.
A reverence for the old material and continuity while producing new material.
Merchandise from action figures to iPhone skins to beer glasses to painfully designed Hawaiian shirts, hoodies, and tees.
Members are known by very simple logos, such as a star or batwings.
Hmmm. Sounds like comics to me!
Talk to anyone walking down the street wearing a Green Lantern ring, and you’ll probably hear the same phrases as a Kiss fan:
“I’ve grown up with them, and they have such a deep catalog. I identify with the fantasy aspect. Ever since I was a kid…”
That childlike wonder that comes with being a Kiss fan for some people was evident when I saw them in concert last year. My first Kiss show was in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and they made it feel like the epicenter of rock and roll. Every concert cliché you’ve ever seen has its origins in Kiss, from the fireworks, to the on stage banter with the crowd, to over-the-head clap alongs. Kiss makes it feel organic, new, and relevant, until you walk out of the venue and realize it’s no longer 1978.
Kiss has made a few forays into comics, from the 70’s through the present. One of my favorites was the Psycho Circus title from Image which ran for a few years and coincided with the band’s reboot of their superheroic images to coincide with the reunion of the original lineup and the Psycho Circus album.
Also, parallel to the world of comics, Kiss was involved in an absolutely horrific motion picture, Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park. I will spare you the video clips, but you can watch the entire movie in pieces on youtube. This abomination of a movie makes Spawn look like Chariots of Fire.
Oh what the heck, this is all you really need to know:
What I’m not quite able to wrap my head around is how people can hate Kiss. There’s an awful lot of music, similar to Led Zeppelin or Michael Jackson, where you could enjoy an entire album of diverse singles and deep tracks and still not be an “all-in” fan. And if you’re willing to put your mind and money into liking, say, a teen bitten by a radioactive spider, or a Canadian with mutton chops and Ginzu knife knuckles, why not Kiss?
Besides making immense strides for charities such as hearing loss and the Wounded Warrior Project, Kiss just kicks ass. My first Kiss concert certainly won’t be my last. Here’s to many more years of some real life comic book characters…