Saturday, September 22, 2012

Reader's Diary #872- Alex Segura (script), Dan Parent (Pencils):Archie Meets Kiss

I've never been into Archie comics or Kiss, but I respect them for what they are. Actually I respect them for not demanding respect. Pop with no pretensions. They wouldn't even use a word like pretensions. I like when pop knows its place. So I'm surprised that a Kiss- Archie mash-up has taken this long. It seems like It's a no-brainer.

My daughter, on the other hand, is into Archie comics. So when I saw an Archie app at the iTunes store, I decided I'd get it for her. And those people at Archie Comics are nothing else if not great marketers. Once you get the app they give you a wide selection of free comics, and of all those Archie issues that have been making headlines over the past year or so: Archie gets married, the introduction of Kevin Keller (the first openly gay Archie character), and of course, Archie Meets Kiss. So why give them away? Ah, there's the clever part. All of these stories were published over a multi-issue arc, and it's only the 1st issue they give you for free. To find out what happens next you have to pay. Archie Meets Kiss, however, was wildly successful and is now available for purchase as a single volume, even in a graphic novel hardcover edition.

A cousin's ex-wife was wildly into Kiss. (He was a Ramones fan— is that why it didn't work out?) It was at their house that I first saw the notoriously awful movie Kiss Meets Phantom of the Park. And when I say notoriously awful, I mean to say hilariously awful. The acting was terrible, the effects were cheap, and for some reason Kiss had superpowers. Apparently the band was so embarrassed by the film that for years afterwards no one was allowed to even mention it in their presence. But it would appear that just as they've had to make their peace with wearing those costumes (make peace with, make $, what's the difference?), they've also found peace with the movie. They now openly joke about it and it's easy to draw parallels between it and this Archie storyline.

There's a lot not explained in the storyline, but whatever, it's Archie. The gang have all gotten together with Sabrina the Teenage Witch who's about to perform a protection spell. However, to show her up, Veronica and Reggie try to prove to everyone how easy this magic stuff is. Of course they quickly find it's not easy and instead of a protection spell they cast a projection spell. Suddenly Riverdale is playing host to four monsters, who are hellbent on using a magic amulet to turn the town into boring zombies, and to Kiss who are there to stop them with, you guessed it, rock n roll superpowers. Why Kiss? Why monsters? Where did they all come from and who made that amulet? Well now, you're starting to over think this thing.

Clearly the whole motivation behind this series was to give Archie and Kiss fans alike what they wanted. The Archie gang dresses up in Kiss makeup at one point. Sabrina is but one of several guest stars: Josie from Josie and the Pussycats makes a brief appearance and Kevin Keller continues to assert his presence. And of course, there's a lot of rockin' out to klassic Kiss tunes.

But, oh crap, I overthunk it. Why would monsters make the town more boring? Doesn't the mere presence of monsters make Riverdale more exciting? Shouldn't the writers have chosen businessmen in beige suits or something, anything other than monsters? And why would Mr. Weatherbee be shown as a zombie when the monsters are claiming to be targeting teenagers? And why...

Why did I read it in the first place? Cheap entertainment. Good enough.

A quick note about the app. It's easy to use, the comics are specially formatted to fit the screen better (not simply a scan of the original paper edition), and the artwork shows up quite nicely when it's backlit. Archie fans should be quite pleased. I'll probably not be visiting Riverdale again any time soon, but if I was, I'd be doing it electronically.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

I've never been either an Archie fan nor a Kiss fan, so I don't think I would ever be tempted to read this. Thankfully I don't have a youngster pleading with me...

John Mutford said...

Barbara: Do I at least get credit for being well rounded?

Jason Abbott said...

John, you've taken you first step in a larger world! I was an avid Archie comic reader... I think my wife and I were trying to rhyme off Archie character names just a couple nights ago before going to sleep.

I don't know what they're like these days, but the advertisements were sensational when I was young. The kind of stuff that made sea monkeys seem completely reasonable.