The GeeksverseKiss #1 & Last Temptation

Kiss #1 & Last Temptation
Published on Tuesday, June 26, 2012 by

I want to rock ‘n roll all night and party every day, but not read the comics.

I really enjoyed the Kiss & Archie cross over. It was a fun light hearted comic. Sure, I think it could have been resolved in two parts instead of stretching into four. I don’t know if the four parts were to make room for variant covers with four faces or to justify the inevitable trade paperback. Even with it being pulled and stretched this was my favorite Kiss Komic.

I’ve been a fan of Kiss’ music for years. I’ve watched Detroit Rock City over and over again. I want to like the comics but I just haven’t over the years.

So maybe it’s not them it’s me.

When I heard about 2012 being the year of Kiss Komics for all ages I was initially excited as a fan. Then I remembered I don’t like these comics. Back and forth. Back and forth. When I spotted it on the rack last week I decided to pick it up. At the counter checking out I discussed with the shop owner about my fears and trepidations. We agreed that IDW has had a great few years of excellent titles so if I am ever going to like a Kiss Komic it would be now.

IDW’s KISS series will kick off in a very special way in 2012. “Having done comics with Gene Simmons for a number of years already, I’m ecstatic to now be involved fully with the ‘hottest band in the world,’” said Chris Ryall, IDW’s Chief Creative Officer. “We’ve found a very unique way to launch our KISS comics, and have big plans for the series that we’ll be revealing soon. I look forward to bringing KISS back to comics in a huge way!”

Ryall added “I think this is the first time two comic publishers have shared a license at the same time, and I’m happy that setting this precedent are Archie and IDW. We both have very different audiences and distribution methods to reach our unique audiences, as well as both of us reaching traditional comics fans, too. We’ll be able to reach all ages of the KISS Army in ways never before equaled. We’re both ready to rock and roll (all night).”

Sadly, this comic doesn’t quite do it for me. I like some of the jokes like a villain being named Wicked Lester. I do like the period setting. I like the costume designs which are a mix of new and old. Although at the end of the day it is still the same old same old Kiss warriors trying to be larger than life.

I wanted the best, I got the best, and I am still not satisfied.

My favorite Kiss comic is still the cover of the Unmasked album. It isn’t long or complicated but it is a fun short story in an unexpected place. I like that it is a back stage look at the band as mortals but cooler without the wild super powers. Perhaps if Kiss comics were more like the Helen Kane comic strips I would enjoy it more. It would at least be a refreshing change.

Completists will have a sore wallet. This first issue has 6 variant covers listed. One is a Gene Simmons focused cover. Several are group shots. My favorite cover is tied into my favorite Kiss album and the subtitle: Dressed to Kill.

Kiss: Dressed to Kill #1 has an impressive amount of Kiss related ads. Everything from Kiss Cruise to the Motley Crue ad is being sold in this book.

Kiss & Tell

While reading Gene Simmons biography I could picture him reading comics as a young immigrant boy. Fresh from Israel, living with extended family, watching cartoons and reading comics definitely soaked in to influence the future show man. The comic influences work well on stage as the larger than life characters. I’ve always found it odd that it doesn’t translate back to the comic page again. Or perhaps it does. Many of the Kiss fans have been telling me nearly 30 years that Kiss works well as comic characters on stage and on the page.

Last Temptation

One of the reasons that I don’t like the super natural larger than life Kiss comic story lines is because it does not have any connection to my life. I can’t see myself in it. Alice Cooper’s comic team up with Neil Gaiman on Last Temptation, on the other hand, provided me with a character I could identify with and emotionally attach to. Through that connection the comic provided catharsis.

The Last Temptation was a 1994 album by Cooper that returned to the concept album style of Welcome to My Nightmare and brought back Cooper’s recurring character of Steven. The full story is explored both in the album lyrics and the accompanying comic book written by Neil Gaiman. The comic is a  3-part  book written by Neil Gaiman, the first part of which accompanied the recording. In the comic, the showman (referred to only ever as such) was depicted as Cooper himself. Pages from the comic are seen in the Lost in America music video, while it is being read by Steven. It was originally published by Marvel Comics and later reprinted by Dark Horse Comics, collected as trade paperback.

Cooper’s 20th album, The Last Temptation was released by Epic Records. Like other Cooper albums this one tells a story. The story is simple and spectacular, a showman, with apparent supernatural abilities, attempted with the use of twisted versions of morality plays to persuade Steven to join his traveling show, “The Theatre Of The Real – The Grand-est Guignol!”, where he would “never grow up”. Steven is the character that draws in the reader. Cooper and his fans are eternally teenagers trying to not grow up. In this concept album and comic pair Cooper was cast as the villain instead of the hero. Sure, Cooper lyrically is also Steven the hero, but the show man in make up is the tempting force trying to lure in Pinocchio to keep him from being a real boy.

Tying the album, the concert, and the comic together is a nice touch rather than just co-opting album titles and lyrics randomly.

Kiss could take notes from this comic.

Cooper needs to return to comics again. Since Steven is a recurring Cooper character he has popped up in spirit and name on more recent Cooper albums like Brutal Planet and Dragontown.

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