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Your Mind Cannot Handle the Arrant Awesomeness Of This Comic Book Cover

by Glen Weldon NPR

A detail from the cover of a comic book that is gonna rock and roll all nite (sic), by golly.

(Source:That’d be telling.)A detail from the cover of a comic book that is gonna rock and roll all nite (sic), by golly.


… so we’re showing you just this tiny detail from it first.

Look at it for a while.

Take it in.

We’ll reveal the cover in its full splendor after the jump, once your body’s had some time to adjust. We don’t want you to get the cool-bends, after all,
wherein tiny bubbles of coolness work their way into your joints to cause tremendous pain. We’re miles away from a hyperbaric chamber.

Thus: Caution shall be our watchword.

While we’re waiting, here’s some details about the comic book in question.

Rest assured you’ve got plenty of time to mentally and physically prepare yourself — the book won’t be published until right around New Year’s.

It’s the first issue of a 4-book miniseries.

It’s one of two covers. The above detail is from from the one by artist Dan Parent, who also did the book’s interior art. That’s the main cover — the one that will end up delivering its bolus of awesomeness to grocery stores, newsstands and the few remaining big-box bookstores that are still around. The variant cover, by Francesco Francavilla, will be harder to find — you’ll have to hit comic book shops. We’ll show you that one, too.

Okay. How you feeling? Good? Hale? Hearty?

Then take a deep breath.

Cover to Archie Meets Kiss #1: "Sugar, Sugar" has never sounded so ... theatrical.

Archie Comics



Feast your eyes! Look upon’t!

So many questions!

First of all: This is the classic KISS line-up, then? No Eric “The Fox” Carr or Vinnie “The Wiz” Vincent? … Very well. I’ll allow it.

Jughead as Ace “The Spaceman” Frehley? Sure. Yes. I can see that.

But really, Veronica as Paul “The Starchild” Stanley? Because ruthless Veronica Lodge, who could buy Pop’s Choklit Shoppe with her pin money to turn it cold storage for her furs, is such a starry-eyed romantic? I think NOT.

BettyBETTY! … as Peter “The Catman” Criss? Because she, like Criss, came to think of herself as having nine lives, having grown up on the mean streets of … Riverdale Rock City? The very idea!

Finally we come to Archie. Archie Andrews. America’s favorite tic-tac-toe-headed ginger. Swapping his Riverdale High letterman’s jacket for greaves, dragon boots and a codpiece (not, mercifully, pictured) to lead Miss Grundy‘s class into the very mouth of Hell as Gene “The Demon” Simmons?

Yes, I know: Archie’s the frontman. I get that. But the characterization’s all wrong.

Because if Archie is Gene Simmons …. what of Reggie?


(There he is, in the upper left, near the logo. The resolution’s not quite good enough to see whose makeup he’s wearing, but my money’s on Reggie vying w/Archie for the Gene Simmons role and, with it, the right to: spit yogurt-and-food-coloring “blood”; star in a soul-eating reality show; and get
hilariously schooled by public radio talk show hosts.)

Speaking of Blood….

KISS has spent much of its rock lifespan comics-adjacent. They’ve made cameo appearances in several Marvel titles over the years, including Howard the Duck, and had their own Image, Dark Horse and “KISS Comics Group” series. Back in 1977, in fact, Marvel produced a KISS Super Special comic drawn by the great Steve Gerber that was notable for …

Well, why not let the notary public who was on hand explain?

This is to certify that KISS members Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley
and Peter Criss, have each donated blood which is being collectively mixed with
red ink to be used for the first cover of the Marvel/KISS comics. The blood was
extracted at February 21st, 1977 at Nassau Coliseum and has been under guarded
refrigeration until this day until it was delivered to the Borden Ink plant in
Depew, New York.

There you go. Imagine the sign topping comics spinner-racks in 7-11s across the country 34 years ago: “HEY KIDS! IT’S LIKE HOMEOPATHY! BUT CREEPY!”

Questions for discussion: A band that terrified suburban parents more than 30 years ago is now appearing in the country’s most popular all-ages comic. What does this say:

1) About said band?

2) About said comic?

3) About who, exactly, said comic’s target audience might be?

As you break into response groups, here’s the variant cover, as promised:

The (considerably more unsettling) variant cover of Archie Meets Kiss.

EnlargeArchie ComicsThe (considerably more unsettling) variant cover of Archie Meets Kiss.


The (considerably more unsettling) variant cover of Archie Meets Kiss.


ComicsThe (considerably more unsettling) variant cover of Archie Meets Kiss.


Things to love: The blood-drippy Archie logo, the look of Lovecraftian disquiet on Archie’s face.

Things to not-love: Nothing on the variant equals the original cover’s deft placement of the iconic Archie pound-sign amid the red rockin’ riot of Andrews/Simmons’ Demon-wig.

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