KARL KESEL talks with AMY CHU about KISS #4, on sale NOW

WRITER 2 WRITER: KARL KESEL, writer of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: GODS & MONSTERS #3, talks with writer AMY CHU about KISS #4, on sale NOW from Dynamite!

KARL KESEL: What appeals to you about KISS? Why were you eager to bring them to comics?

AMY CHU: KISS comics have been around since the ’70s. There is no convention I go to where someone doesn’t ask me about that infamous Marvel blood issue. So the opportunity of actually writing a KISS comic, there’s no way I could turn that down. And being the first woman to write KISS is kind of cool. Like Becky Cloonan being the first woman to draw Batman cool….

KK: It’s one thing to adapt a movie or TV show to comics— but KISS are musicians… and comics is a silent medium! Did that create any unique challenges? And if so— how did you overcome them?

AC: Absolutely. This isn’t my first music comic — I wrote the DMC comics before, so I have experience bringing cultural icons like Darryl McDaniels to comics. What I found, it’s not so much about the music itself, but translating the personality of the band and the concert experience. It’s the challenge of taking something larger than life and conveying it in comic format.

KK: The issue’s solid and fun. It moves fast, but I never felt lost or confused, and it drew me right in. I noticed one scene in #4 had a “soundtrack”— lyrics from one of the group’s songs, I assume. If I were a hard-core fan, would the issues have other KISS “Easter Eggs” for me to enjoy?

AC: Thank you! I’m so glad, because we put a lot of effort into making this enjoyable for everyone. It was a huge priority for me to make it a solid story first and foremost, and still have lots of things for hardcore fans to enjoy. There are plenty more Easter eggs even I don’t know about. This is what happens when the artist and colorist, Kewber and Schimerys Baal, and the letterer, Troy Peteri, are all KISS fans…

KK: I’ve heard the costumes KISS wore change and evolved, so I assume the Protectors are based on the costume variations KISS wore over the years. The “Gundam” twist is fresh and fun! Are you a fan of Giant Robots in general, or did the idea for the Protectors come from some place else?

AC: I am! When you’re writing a comic that’s been done for years, and your ultimate boss is a mega comics fan like Gene Simmons, how do you deliver something new? Robots. Big ones! I was also inspired by Japanese fan reaction to the band. We’re going to explore more of this in the next arc. I just sent Kewber a bunch of Harajuku street photos for inspiration. Part of it is giving a great artist like Kewber fun and cool stuff to draw. I think everyone wants something more than talking heads. Also, have you seen CP Wilson III’s amazing Japanese inspired variant covers for Issues #6 and #7? I ordered a bunch for myself — they’re just out of this world!

KK: One of the most fascinating things about this comic is that the original KISS members don’t actually appear! Pretty gutsy. Why did you decide to sidestep the band in favor of four new main characters?

AC: That was a huge decision. You asked earlier about the attraction of KISS – part of it I would say is their larger than life persona. They are essentially rock GODS with their own mythology. I figured, therefore, perhaps we aren’t actually meant to connect with them as characters or get inside their heads. I’m glad the idea got approved, because it wasn’t a no brainer. The fan reaction to this has been really great, so I’m glad.

KK: Gotta ask: Will we see the original KISS band members before the story ends? I’m talking in the flesh here— not symbolically.

AC: Interesting idea, but this is rock sci-fi and we’re way in the future. The band is long dead but their music lives on. Unless… maybe they’ve been cryogenically frozen? Or they’re talking heads in jars like in Futurama? Hmmm, so many possibilities…