Come November, Riverdale will rock 'n roll all night -- not to mention, party every day -- for the four-part storyline "Archie Meets KISS" running through "Archie" #627-630. Written by Archie Comics' Executive Director of Publicity and Marketing Alex Segura with art by Dan Parent -- an Archie mainstay most recently known for creating Kevin Keller, the publisher's first openly gay character -- the story will find Sabrina's errant protection spell inviting a horde of demons to town, with the comics-inspired KISS personas of the Demon, Moonchild, Spaceman and Catman arriving just in time to help save the day.
This will not be Archie Comics' first somewhat odd inter-company crossover -- most recently, the characters met DC Comics' Tiny Titans and, most notoriously, they once faced Marvel's Punisher -- but it does continue a tradition of unexpected team-ups which Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, Reggie and their friends seem to take in stride.
CBR News spoke with Segura and Parent about "Archie Meets KISS" and how the two worlds will collide.
CBR News: First, guys, how did this unusual team-up come together?
Alex Segura: Pretty easily, actually. Gene Simmons called up our Co-CEO Jon Goldwater with the idea. Once the deal was struck, I pitched my story to Jon and President Mike Pellerito. I'd written an issue of "Archie and Friends" before, so they knew I was interested in writing more. The timing worked out really well and the chance to bring together two major pieces of Americana -- Archie and the KISS gang -- was impossible to pass up.
Have you had any input from the band on this story?
Segura: Gene and Paul [Stanley] see everything at each stage, so they chime in. It's been pretty smooth sailing, though, and they've been amazingly supportive. It's one of the easiest collaborations of this kind I've ever been a part of.
Dan Parent: From the art perspective, KISS (particularly Gene) has to approve the art. So far, so good!
Are either of you big KISS fans? Is there anything you can share about your experiences listening to, seeing or following the band?
Segura: Dan's a huge KISS fan -- his stories blow mine away. I love music and I've followed KISS for a long time, so I'm pretty familiar with all things KISS. But even that pales in comparison to Mr. Parent! Dan's not just a card-carrying member of the KISS Army, he's a lifetime member.
Parent: Yes, I was (and am) a big KISS fan, so I would've had a fit it I didn't land this project! I was particularly into them in the late '70s, when their songs were a staple at the high school dances. I had a lot of their albums. I still have the 45 of "Christine Sixteen!"
What can you tell us about the story we'll be seeing here?
Parent: It's got Sabrina, Salem, the whole Archie cast, KISS, demons, monsters, zombies -- and that's just in the first two books!
Segura: When a spell goes wrong, Sabrina and the Archies discover that Riverdale's overrun by a gang of dangerous monsters. Who will help them corral the creatures before they turn everyone into mindless zombies? None other than KISS, who arrive on the scene ready for a fight!
Riverdale has been host to some unusual guest stars -- I'm thinking mostly of the Punisher here, though I know there have been others -- so I'm wondering how Archie, Betty, Veronica and the gang might react to the KISS characters?
Parent: They're a bit shocked, but in comparison to the other crazy things going on in riverdale........
Segura: Everyone stays pretty much in character, so Archie and the crew are pretty surprised when the KISS gang appears -- even more so when they start breathing fire and flying around!
How do the various Archie characters get along with the KISS personas? Is there one, for example, that Jughead is able to bond with over a hamburger or three?
Parent: I think Betty and Veronica like their look, but I think bonding will occur when they combine musical forces. Music is that common thread that unites people.
Segura: You'll see a lot of the direct interaction in the final two parts -- part one and two are about setting the stage, presenting the conflict and seeing these characters dive into action. There's very little breathing room. In fact, there's a pretty fun, all-hands-on-deck fight scene in the middle of issue two that should get people talking.
With the musical nature of the crossover, will Josie and the Pussycats be making an appearance?
Segura: They're definitely in the mix -- but not the way you'd expect. How cryptic is that?
Dan, given KISS's more hard-edged image -- as evidenced in the band's other appearances in comics -- are there any challenges in melding their style into the Archie world?
Parent: Not really. They fit the Archie style pretty well. Our style is based in "semi-reality," so their basic look is all there, just simplified a bit.
Have there been any scenes you especially enjoyed writing or drawing?
Segura: I've enjoyed writing Sabrina and having scenes that involve the KISS guys interacting with "classic" Archie elements, like the Chok'lit Shoppe or Riverdale High. Basically, the melding of the two concepts has been a lot of fun. Also, Jughead's always cool to write. His sarcasm makes everything more fun.
Parent: I've enjoyed drawing it all -- this story is pure fun. But I love to draw Sabrina, so it's really great having her in the story. I love Halloween and it feels like one big Halloween story, which is loads of fun to draw.
While I wish the fight with The Void had been a few more pages, I thought it was cool. Of course we knew the outcome thanks to all the Heroic Age teasers, but for a second I was thinking "oh shit, how will they do this?