KIDS REVIEW: 9 1/2 OUT OF 10!
January 29, 2014
KISS Kids written by Chris Ryall & Tom Waltz
art by Jose Holder

Reviewed by: Conan Tigard

KISS Kids is a wonderful read that I just couldn't put down. I joined the KISS Army way back in the mid-1970's and have been a fan ever since. I never saw them play live, but has always enjoyed listening to their music. In fact, since I have twenty of their album ripped onto my computer, while I read this graphic novel, had their music playing. It really enhanced my reading of this fun-filled book.

The concept of a book for early chapter readers about a hard rock band may seem a little strange to most people, but it really works. The children that read this book don't have to know who the band KISS is to enjoy it, but will certainly know more about them after they finish then when they started. The four main characters are just that, a bunch of cleverly created characters that practically jump off the page. I loved the way that Chris Ryall and Tom Waltz used their creative juices to turn Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss into smaller versions of their adult selves. Their imagination enabled them to wonder how the band members would have acted as children while already having formed the band KISS and have them already wearing their stage makeup.

The artwork by Jose Holder is what really sold me on this book. It is fantastic! Every page was perfectly imagined and drawn to perfection. I soaked in each page and wondered how it could get any better. Then I would turn the page and discover another wonderfully drawn page. Wow! that is all I can say. Wow!

This book isn't just for children. It can be enjoyed by adults too. As you might have guessed from my comment that I joined the KISS Army back in the mid-1970's, I am no spring chicken myself. What I thoroughly enjoyed was all of the references back to the adult band; from the titles of the chapters being either titles of songs, or altered titles of a song, to hidden jewels in the story. This includes thing like the seeing makeup like a Fox in the park, referring to the makeup of Eric Carr, the drummer that replaced Peter Criss. My favorite hidden jewel was the name of the park, Phantom Park, referring to the made for TV movie KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park, which I watched on television when it came out in 1978. The movie wasn't very good and the band members weren't the best actors, but I do remember enjoying the film as a 13-year-old boy.

Overall, KISS Kids is an excellent collection of short stories that I absolutely ate up. Early Chapter Readers will really enjoy all of the antics of these crazy KISS Kids and the trouble they find themselves in. Adults will enjoy seeing their favorite hard rock band members as children and finding all of the references back to the band. I highly recommend this book for everyone, whether they are fans of the band or not. I hope that this creative team decides to do more KISS Kids books. If so, count me as a fan and know that I will be reading those also.

You wanted the best! You got the best! The greatest graphic novel in the world! KISS Kids!

I rated this book a 9½ out of 10.


Synopsis

KISS Kids is a bunch of short stories involving the members of the hard rock band, KISS, as children. The members of the band are Starchild, Spacey, Catkid, and Li'l Demon. Each story is between two to ten pages long, but there are single page stories also. The following is a brief synopsis of each short story, excluding the single page stories:

Carnival of Soles - The KISS kids are excited about getting back to school, but they are bummed because something ate all of their boots. They all blame Catkid's cats, but he insists that his cats didn't do it.

...(Birthday) Party Every Day - It is Li'l Demon's birthday. Starchild, Spacey, and Catkid are walking to the party when they run into the KISS Robots, who claim that the swings they are in front of belong to the robots. The robots demand a toll for passing through Phantom Park and want Li'l Demon's presents.

Mr. Speed - Spacey is helping Li'l Demon with his paper route. Spacey figures out a way to shoot the newspapers at the houses using his guitar. Is this really the best way to do it?

Dressed to School - As summer ends, all four of the KISS Kids finds themselves being dragged to the store for new school clothes . . . clothes they don't want.

Sure Know Something - It is the first day of school. It seems that everyone read a book for their summer book report, except for Spacey.

Lonely is the Homework - Spacey is struggling with his homework. The rest of the guys head off to go to the movies. Meanwhile, Spacey opens a black hole so he can pulls someone through to help him with his homework. Will this work out the way he hopes?

Science (Not) Fair - At the school science fair, Cadkid is disappointed that putting ribbons on his cats doesn't really count as doing science. Starchild's kissing booth is also ruled out. Spacey opens a mini black hole and pulls out an alien. What does Li' Demon has in mind?

Rowdy Roadies - Spacey brings in some Roadies to help them with the upcoming Battle of the Bands. But these Roadies only want to cause trouble, not help out the band like they are supposed to do.

Calling Dr. Love - While playing dodge ball in P.E., Starchild pretends that his arm is hurt and has to visit the school nurse. Later, while in Science class, Starchild pretends to feel sick. Off to the nurse. Then he does it again in Math, Computer, and Spanish classes. The rest of the band wonders why Starchild likes visiting the nurse so much.

Field Trippin' - KISS Kids' class is heading to the Museum of Natural History for a field trip. The tour guide, Kenny, tells everyone that there is no touching of the exhibits, especially by the KISS Kids. Well, you know what is going to happen, don't you? The day is saved by three of the kids' female classmates, who know exactly how to fix the mess. Who are these girls?

Gah! All Night - The babysitter is watching a not-so-scary movie when she hears something upstairs. When she goes upstairs, she is confronted by very scary shadows.

Got to Choose - After the failure of the Roadies, Spacey comes up wit the idea for stage costumes for the upcoming Battle of the Bands.

Kids in Santa's Service - At the mall, Spacey asks Santa for a new guitar, since his old one is shorting out. Catkid wants a scratching post. Santa starts to get worried when he asks Starchild and Li'l Demon what they want for Christmas.

God of Blunder - While the others play baseball, Li'l Demon practices his Thunder Trick.

Battles of the Bands - After Ronnie J., the Hard Luck Girls, and Little Caesar and the Wrong Direction play, the KISS Kids take the stage. While KISS is rockin' on stage, the other bands decide to set things right, since none of them want to lose.

Snowblind - While playing in Phantom Park in the snow, the KISS Robots show up again. The KISS Kids decide to fight back and start a massive snowball throw-down. Of course, the KISS Robots cheat, and then the three female classmates get involved. What a mess!

KISS Kids is a early chapter graphic novel about the members of the hard rock band, KISS, as children. The book is written by Chris Ryall & Tom Waltz with art by Jose Holder and colors by Jeremy Colwell. This book is intended for young readers ages 4 to 8. This graphic novel is a collection of the following comic books:

KISS Kids #1 - 4