Sunday, August 21, 2011

Deconstructing Archie Meets KISS

The Archies Unmasked at Balto-Con!

At this weekend's Baltimore Comic Con at the downtown Convention Center, I spotted Dan Parent selling this poster for the upcoming Archie Meets Kiss comic (slated for November 2011 release) written by Alex Segura and illustrated by Parent. This mash-up between America's Favorite Teenagers and the Knights In the Service of Satan was just too cool to pass up, so I bought copies for both my Archies-fanatic-friend Scott Wallace Brown and my KISS-fanatic-friend Scott "Unpainted" Huffines.

As Alex Segura explains, "The idea of having KISS come to Riverdale is the perfect mix of fun and off-the-wall. It's two pieces of Americana coming together for the first time, which should be fun and entertaining for readers of Archie and members of the KISS Army." While the pairing of the wholesome redhead with the Twitter # sign permanently embedded in his scalp with the oft-unsavory KISS crew may seem an unlikely teamup, it's certainly not without precedent, as Casey Seijas points out in his "Six bizarre music/comic book mashups" blog post (which profiles historic teamings between Lois Lane and Pat Boone, Eminem and The Punisher, Springsteen and the Transformers, New Kids on the Block and Richie Rich, the cast of Saturday Night Live and Spider-Man, and Dethklok with The Goon).

Too Marvel-ous for words: The Boss' alter-ego "Brick Springhorn" meets The Transformers

But while Archie is obviously taking on the Gene Simmons role (his tongue hanging out and his orange locks tied in a Kabuki-style knot), there's more than meets the eye to this poster. Upon closer inspection, comics-and-KISS otaku "Big" Dave Cawley corrected Scott Wallace Brown and I when we mistakenly assumed Jughead was fulfilling the Peter Criss role on drums.

"No way!" Dave exclaimed excitedly (a redundant adjective when it comes to the natural-caffeinated Mr. Cawley), "Look at his face - that's Ace Frehley's Spaceman makeup. Trust me, I know my KISS!"

He was right! How unobservant we were. And Veronica, incongruously playing keyboards instead of guitar, was donning Paul Stanley's solo eye star makeup. I started to see Dave's point that there was more thought put into comic covers than meets the casual glance: for wasn't flakey Jughead really a "Space case" (like Space Ace)?; wasn't girl-crazy Archie a natural fit to fill Simmons' devilishly horny big boots?; and wasn't Veronica the true band leader (like Paul Stanley) who holds it all together with her flexible keyboards (able to play both rhythm and lead riffs) adding the melodic hooks to what would otherwise be a bass-and-drums ensemble? At least Betty was thematically linked to the original KISS percussionist by bang-shang-a-langing her tambourine in Criss' Catman-'do face paint.

That Dave Cawley: always an OCD-ish eye for comics-and-music detail! No wonder Kevin Keller, the openly gay Archie character (who just got his own spin-off comics line) goes for Dave's anally-compulsive type - not to mention the open-minded Scott, as shown below:

Kev's type is partial to the Davids and Scotts of the world

Related Links:
KISS meets Archie? Six bizarre music/comic book mashups

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