Archie and the Riverdale Gang has become an American icon. Whether you read it or not, if someone says "Archie" or "Jughead," you know exactly who they're talking about. Archie Comics have made some pretty bold and exciting moves over the years. The gang has been plopped into each decade and its culture in the Archie Americana Series, they've been made into babies, and most importantly, they had a visit from The Punisher... Yes, Frank Castle ended up in Riverdale.
However, starting in Archie #627 (three months from now), American rock icons, KISS, make their way into Riverdale. How weird is that? Sometimes, the weirder something sounds, the better it ends up being. Comic Vine got to interview writer Alex Segura and artist Dan Parent about their work on the four issue mini-series. KISS Army members and Archie fanatic rejoice, it's about to get magical.== TEASER ==
How did the idea of KISS entering the world of Archie come about?
Alex Segura: It was really simple, actually. Jon Goldwater, our Co-CEO and Mike Pellerito our president let me know we’d agreed with the KISS team to produce a crossover. So, having written an issue of ARCHIE AND FRIENDS (#156), I threw my hat into the ring. Jon and Mike liked my pitch, and once we got it approved by Gene and Paul, we were off to the races. The chance to work with someone of Dan’s caliber is an honor, I have to say. Once I found out he was drawing the book, this already-awesome assignment got that much better.
Dan Parent: I was pretty psyched when I heard this project was in the works, and especially when I found out I would be involved. Then when I read Alex's plot synopsis I got even more excited. Then to top it off Sabrina plays a major part in the story, and I love Sabrina, so that was the icing on the cake for me!
Were there any bumps in the road trying to get this comic made?
AS: No bumps. Gene, Paul and the entire KISS team have been extremely responsive and supportive, and working with Dan has been a real pleasure. He swung by the office a week or so ago and showed me the first batch of interior pages and they look amazing.
DP: I have the easy part, drawing the fun stuff!
What challenges did you both come across trying to adapt these characters to a more light-hearted book?
AS: I think the biggest hurdle, at least when it came to writing the overall story was just the “why?” What brings these characters to Riverdale and what do we do with them after that? Sabrina plays a key role in that, and once we decided to use Sabrina, that made everything else much easier, and gave the entire story a light, fun and magical tone that works really well. Or so I hope!
DP: Adapting characters to the Archie Universe isn't that hard. We have a lot of guest stars in our books, and there's a certain Archie look that takes over, which most celebrities seem to like. So I try to take their likeness and mix in some of the classic Archie look for sor of a Archie/realistic hybrid.
Did any members of the band have any input on the book? If so, what was one of the weirdest ideas that didn't make it into the story?
AS: I’m still writing the final parts, so there’s plenty of room for weird. Fans of KISS will find a lot of Easter eggs in the books and hopefully be pleased in that regard. Gene and Paul and the KISS gang have seen every script and page of art as they come in, and they’ve been really responsive and supportive. Dan and I are still bouncing ideas around, so I don’t want to talk about what’s on the cutting room floor yet – we may end up using it!
DP: Yeah, some of it is still in progress, so we don't want to give it all away!
Did any of the members of KISS want to put their blood into the ink again?
AS: You’ll have to ask them! Not sure you can repeat something like that, though.
DP: I remember that from the 1970's Marvel series. Now I'm giving away my age!
Which Archie characters will this story center around? Are there any that you wanted to see in the book that just didn't make the cut?
AS: All the key characters are in the story – Archie, Betty, Jughead, Veronica, Reggie, Dilton and Sabrina, with cameos by Josie and the Pussycats, Chuck, Nancy and more. It’s the kind of story that affects all of Riverdale, so you’ll see lots of nods and cameos from characters in the town. But the core characters are the five and Sabrina. The story starts with the gang gathering to cast a protection spell as Halloween approaches – but when something goes wrong, Sabrina’s spell instead conjures up a gang of monsters. But they’re not the monsters you think.
DP: In some of the group shots, I'll try to throw in another offbeat character or two. Look out for a little Junx or a Cosmo in there somewhere!
You've stated that we get to see not the members of KISS, but their persona. Does that mean Starchild being shooting lasers out of his eye? What other KISS-powers will we get to see?
AS: There’s a pretty massive throwdown battle in the second issue that will answer a lot of these questions. I hope Dan had fun drawing it, too! You’ll see a lot of flying, guitars as weapons and fire being breathed in the story, so I hope it’ll please the KISS Army and more.
DP: I'm drawing that now. It's crazy stuff. Yeah, it's the actual KISS characters we see, not Gene Simmons or Paul Stanley, hence all the supernatural elements!
Be honest, will there be any romance between Veronica and Starchild? I could see them settling down in Wyoming and owning a ranch.
AS: No plans for romance. But hey, we have to save something for ARCHIE MEETS KISS 2, don’t we?
DP: Maybe we could get a KISS love triangle going!
Will the Archie gang get any super-powers for this mini-series?
AS: I don’t want to spoil anything, but the story as a whole deals with magic and monsters and the more “adventure” side of Archie and friends, so anything’s possible.
DP: What Alex Said!
Any characters named Beth, Christine, Shandi, or Delilah showing up in the mini-series?
AS: That would be telling!
DP: Since "Beth" was one of their biggest hits, that might make sense!
What are your favorite moments in this comic?
AS: I’ve had a lot of fun writing the Sabrina sections, especially Salem. Any chance I’ve had to have the Demon or Starchild get a joke or snappy remark in has been great, too. Plus, zombies! Did I mention zombies?
DP: My favorite moment so far is the final zombie scene in book 1! Mr. Weatherbee makes a cool zombie!
Who's the bigger KISS fan, Alex or Dan and why?
AS: Dan, definitely. We talked a bit about it at San Diego and he just rattled off a ton of memories relating to KISS. I love music and KISS is definitely a part of that, but Dan grew up listening to them. I bow down to his expertise.
DP: I'm older (not that much!) but I was in junior high when KISS had their huge run of hits in the late 70's, and these were the songs played at all the school dances, so these early "KISS memories" are etched in my mind!
HUGE thanks to Alex Segura and Dan Parent for talking to us about this book! The Archie Meets Kiss saga begins in Archie #627. It looks like it's going to be pretty awesome. What do you guys think? Is this book worth a deuce?