Released: 2012, Archie Comics Publications
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to review ARCHIE MEETS KISS for Metal-Rules.com, as it is not really a ‘serious’ Metal book. However, I decided to do it for two reasons. One, I want the Library of Loudness to be as comprehensive and complete as possible, including as many publications about Hard Rock and Heavy Metal as we can. I've reviewed a few other metal-themed comedy/comics so why not? Secondly, I’m on a bit of a Kiss and Archie kick. A while back a family friend gave my 13 year old kid a stack of Archie comics which I have been flipping through as I defending the throne of evil (aka going to the bathroom). Good ol' Jughead...he sure likes his hamburgers! In addition, I just read the Paul Stanley autobiography, FACE THE MUSIC (also reviewed here this month) and I'm enjoying the new Kiss compilation CD, 40 YEARS:DECADES OF DECIBELS, also reviewed here this month. Therefore the timing was right when I saw the collection at my local comic store.
ARCHIE MEETS KISS is a compilation of four comic books, originally published back in 2012. The oversized, full-colour comic is 110 pages long (20 pages per original comic) and includes the original covers as well. It has some bonus features such as 14 pages of sketches and an opening foreword by Gene Simmons and some photos of Kiss.
The plot is simple enough, the Archie gang is hanging around with Sabrina, the teenage witch and after a spell goes wrong they accidentally open an inter-dimensional portal in which four creatures emerge. No, not Kiss but a Frankenstein’s monster, a Werewolf, a curvy female Mummy, and a wimpy Vampire, loosely patterned off of the main dude in Twilight. Shortly after, Kiss (Starchild, The Demon, Space Ace and The Catman) follow through the wormhole to do battle with the creatures. The classic movie monsters are turning the good people of Riverdale into mindless zombies, not the fleshing-eating kind but the kind who don’t like to have fun or listen to Rock and Roll. Over the course of the series they fight and have various adventures. I won’t spoil the ending but it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out how it all concludes. It’s all squeaky clean, family entertainment compared to some of darker, adult oriented Kiss comics published by Dark Horse years back.
The art is bright and bold, the dialogue is classic Archie, simple, fun and non-offensive. There are many, many little Kiss references scattered through the comics, lyrics and so on. Many of the Kiss-based references would not register with young readers but older Kiss fans like myself may get a sly smile out of some of the little jokes. Sure it is a novelty and you can see Gene fingerprints all over this with his life-long desire to be a larger than life superhero. With the clever pairing of Archie and Kiss, it seems have finally achieved one of his many dreams since way back when he wished upon a star. This is classic Americana without any hint of irony. Well done. I really like ARCHIE MEETS KISS and would rate it higher, but because of the overall idea and content being, well…not very ‘Metal’, this is probably for die-hard Kiss fans and curiosity seekers.