Casual Comics Review: “KISS Kids”

Wow. Just, wow… When I got a note on Facebook from CJ, longtime friend of the CCG, about the premiere of a “KISS Kids” comic, I just had to check it out. The cover alone was oddly alluring. I say “oddly” because I’ve never been a big fan of the band, KISS.

Here’s my deal with the band – I’m of “that age”. You know the age… too young to have ever really listened to their music because I was too young in the 70s, but old enough to remember their impact on late 70s culture.  I remember it being a big deal when KISS was going to “reveal their faces”. I even recall a gag to that effect on the sleeve of one of their albums. (I’m not going to look that one up, except if it makes for a good image just below this paragraph).

Geez, Louise. It took a lot longer than I thought to find this. And it’s still more entertaining than the “KISS Kids comic”.

To me KISS was corny, KISS was a weird band my older cousins really liked and, most of all, KISS was that band from “Phantom of the Park”, a strange movie that showed up on late night TV once a year or so.

Maybe my four favorite KISS memories will best let you know where I stand on the band. You will either get me or not get me, so stay with me here:

4. Having my older cousins play KISS albums quietly, so that their parents wouldn’t hear. It felt like a secret club for “older kids”

3. Falling asleep while trying to stay up past midnight to see all of “Phantom of the Park”

2. Gene Simmons appearing on “Celebrity Apprentice”

1. The movie “Role Models”. That’s it. The whole movie. See it.

Paul Rudd is a comedy czar.

So, that’s what I know about KISS. That’s why I was intrigued by a KISS comic. And, I feel like this comic was really only marketed to me. Who else might be tempted by that cover? Exactly.

You might want to know two things. First, does the cover live up to the execution. Second, would I ever want to buy the second issue.

The answer to both questions is an unqualified, “NO!” Do not “Pass Go”. Do not “Collect $200” (unless you’re Gene Simmons and getting a slice of the action on the comic). You’ll have a better time finding back issues of Marvel’s KISS series from the 80s.

Avoid the issue with the blood mixed in, though. You never know what those guys were into back then.

Have you ever seen “The Super Hero Squad” from Marvel? I thought that was ridiculous the first time I saw it. Having watched many, many episodes with the Casual Comics Kids, I really like it. For that reason, I thought I might be OK with KISS Kids.

Hero Up!

I want, so badly, to tell you what I dislike about this comic. Here’s an anecdote that might explain.

Once, when browsing the titles at Blockbuster Video, I looked at the “If you enjoyed (blank), you might enjoy (blank)”. The title on the shelf was “Stop, or My Mom Will Shoot”. Having just finished my SAT’s with analogies a major part of the test, I was keyed in on it. And, my mind went to “If you enjoyed ‘Stop, or My Mom Will Shoot”, you might enjoy drooling on yourself.”

I can’t tell you why it’s a horrible comic. You should just know that it is, has been, and always will be a bad idea.

But, sometimes terrible ideas make up for it with excellent execution. And now, as a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, here’s where I paraphrase John McKay.

Q: “What did I think about the execution of the creative team behind “KISS Kids”?

A: “I’m all for it…”

Here’s why.

Is “KISS Kids” a comic strip? A long form narrative? A single-issue-length story without long term continuity?

These are not rhetorical questions. The authors do not seem to know, so we might want to clue them in.

I had such high hopes when I pulled this bad boy out of the bag. Recall, I had it on order, so I didn’t flip through it prior to buying it. When I got it out, it was nice – glossy paper, thick, decent page count. But when I read the first page, it all went in the toilet.

Don’t describe the characters. We know KISS. Anyone who has purchased this comic knows who these guys are. I know that KISS Kids is supposed to be a twist on that, but just drop it into the action. So why are the first pages dedicated to the characters giving descriptions of themselves?

Please. Kill me now.

Wait… wait…

This is a first. I’ve been writing reviews of movies, books, concerts, music, and so on for over a decade. But, I give up. I can’t spend another minute thinking or writing about this abomination.

This comic spins you the full 720 degrees. Here’s what I mean (think circles and/or skateboard tricks):

  • 0 degrees = Bad
  • 180 degrees = Great
  • 360 degrees = Horrifyingly awful
  • 540 degrees  = So bad it’s good
  • 720 degrees  = Past so bad it’s good and oH DEAR LORD MAKE IT STOP!!! My EYES!!!

I have to admit, I didn’t finish the last few pages. My eyes kept flicking away from the pages, instinctively, the way your hand whips away from a hot stove.

Please, be prepared to look away.  I’m about to post an image of the page that broke the camel’s back:

A single joke that you would typically find on the back of a candy wrapper which was somehow stretched out to a full comic page.

If you could put oven mitts on your eyeballs, I would recommend that at this point.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Come on, man!?! Six panels to tell a “drum roll” joke? Terrible.

This was painful. Let’s all hope we never do that again.

– CCG (limping, slowly, to the Hawkeye Annual hoping it will wash away the pain)

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