Kiss 4K Web Comic
After landing what for many would be considered as a dream job, Monsters & Nekkid Ladies artist Adam Black, who we last featured back in January this year, is the artist in charge of bringing hard rockers Kiss to (online) life in their excellent new web comic, Kiss 4K (yep, that Kiss, as in Gene Simmons etc Kiss)!
Always happy to welcome back an artist who has very similar interests to ourselves (who can knock monsters & naked ladies?), we present you with Mr Adam Black! Plus, he wants all the hits he can get (see below!), so even if you hate Kiss then check it out for yourselves here
Hey Adam, welcome back to Voltcase! Do you feel honored to be not only the first feature of 2007, but also the first follow-up feature of 2007?
Hell yeah! This has definitely been a year of firsts for me, and I'm glad to add one more to the list.
Now, the main reason of this follow-up feature is to chat about your online Kiss comic book. Can you tell us a bit about it?
It's a crazy story. Like I said back in the previous interview, I really had no professional plans this year, other than working on a personal horror project--a comic I had started years ago but never finished.
Then, out of the blue, I get an email from a friend of mine, DJ Coffman. He's the writer and artist for "Hero By Night", which won the Comic Book Challenge that Platinum Studios had put on for the first time last year. His email was very brief; it said something like: "Hey, man, do you have any time to do some artwork?"
Now I'm thinking, hey, DJ's swamped doing HBN and needs someone to do some guest art for his webcomic (Yirmumah) or something. So I say, "Sure, dude, no problem!" DJ's a hell of a guy. I always have time for him and my friends over on the Yirmumah forum. We're one big family over there.
Before you know it, I'm in touch with Dan Forcey from Platinum Studios. What I thought was going to be a one-off piece of fan art turned out to be an ongoing webcomic based upon the new KISS 4K comic book that debuted in May!
Platinum's business model is to create a comic book with the intent to move the property to other media: film, TV, whatever. And part of this business model involves webcomics. In Platinum's eyes, webcomics are the future of comic books, a sentiment I agree with wholeheartedly after spending time over on DJ's forums and talking with him about the webcomic industry in private. So, when Platinum decided to release a new Kiss comic, they wanted a webcomic to go along with it. And lo, my new job came to be!
The webcomic itself is updated Monday, Wednesday and Friday, at this URL: www.drunkduck.com/Kiss_4K_the_webcomic
The purpose of the webcomic is to expand upon the characters in the print book...what I do is take somebody and run a little spin-off story. The first eight months of the webcomic will be dealing with the previous incarnations of the 4K: Casanova, Minamoto no Yoshiie, Constantine, and Shaka.
Part one of the Casanova story debuted in May, and then I switched to Yoshiie in June. July will wrap up Casanova's tale, and I'll finish off Yoshiie's story in August. Then I'll do the same thing for Constantine and Shaka.
I've been having a lot of fun with it. Mixed up the art style a little. Casanova's drawn in a more Victorian style, but when I switched to Yoshiie, I tried to make it look like Japanese watercolors. The fans have enjoyed it so far.
And the next obvious question is have you been in contact with Kiss at all? A phone call from Paul, or an email from Gene?
Platinum invited me to Wizard World LA back in March, where they premiered the comic book at a press conference there. They also debuted the Destroyer Edition, which is officially the largest comic book in the world.
While I was there, I got to meet Paul Stanley briefly--they were running a bit late for the press conference, and didn't have time for chit-chat. I was almost late for it, myself. I'd stepped outside for a cigarette before it started, and this nice girl with a huge portfolio bag asked me for a light. I inquired about the bag, and she said it was her boyfriend's art, and would I like to look at it?
I said "sure!" and I swear, she must've pulled 100 pieces of art out of that bag. I looked at it all, too. It was good stuff. I thanked her for showing me, then ran back inside, as it was about five minutes after the press conference was supposed to start.
I get to the top of the stairs, and directly in front of me is a glass door with Paul behind it, talking to Scott Rosenberg (the president of Platinum) and Ricky Sprague (the writer of KISS 4K). I stood there for a minute, then said, "fuck it" and walked right in. Scared the security guy a little (he was about 18 inches shorter than me), but that all worked out in the end.
I walked right up to Paul and shook his hand. "I'm Adam Black," I said. "I'm your webcomic artist."
He smiled and said, "It's nice to meet you! We were just talking about you. I look forward to seeing your work!" It was pretty cool.
Didn't get to meet Gene, though. He was constantly on the move, and constantly surrounded by people and his camera crew. But eventually I'll get to meet him, I'm sure. And when I do, I'm going to see if he'll teach me how to breathe fire. How cool would that be?
Were you a Kiss fan before all of this, and has this changed the way you look at them at all?
I've been a Kiss fan since 1979, actually, and this hasn't changed a thing for me. It sure changed things for my parents, though. They hated Kiss when I was a kid, but now they think they're great. They watch Family Jewels religiously, and my Dad wanders around the house saying, "And that's why it's good to be...me!" all the time. It's hilarious.
Despite being a comic about Kiss, are you going to work some of your 'Monsters & Nekkid Ladies' into it at all? I'd imagine the later one would be quite easy to do!
Already done! May's story had about as much nudity as I was allowed to show. I asked Dan Forcey about that when I was in LA and he said, "Keep it PG-13." It's more like PG-14.5, but they're apparently cool with it (read as: I'm not fired!), so I'm happy.
As for monsters, check out the Jorogumo (wicked spider-demon-woman) in June's story. That was a lot of fun to draw. Japanese mythology has some great monsters.
I'm working on Casanova Part 2 right now, and I can assure you there will be plenty more monsters and nekkid ladies on the way.
Any plans on making hard copies of the comic, or is it purely an online thing?
I've heard nothing official, but I was given two guidelines before I started. One, they wanted the original art scanned in at a certain dpi, which happened to be the standard dpi for printing. Two, they wanted the text of the comic on separate layers, so they could replace it with non-English translations.
I get the feeling that it'll see print next year or so, in multiple languages worldwide. Or at least Europe-wide.
I remember Todd McFarlane mentioning before that the hardest part about drawing Kiss was trying to make the cat make-up look cool - do you have any similar problems drawing Kiss?
You know, I thought the Cat make-up was going to be difficult, but it managed to turn out okay--even when I was doing it Japanese watercolor-style. Hasn't given me any problems at all.
For some reason, though, Paul's star gets a little uncooperative from time to time. Go figure.
So, besides Kiss, are you up to anything else at the moment?
I'm doing some artwork on the side, for the Kiss tribute band "KLOWN". It's going to be similar to Ken Kelly's Love Gun album cover art, only with clowns, more clowns, balloons, and maybe even a circus midget or two. It's hilarious. I have to stop painting it at regular intervals due to chuckling uncontrollably.
If you have no idea who KLOWN is, check them out here.
I'm also working on two other projects, slowly but surely. Hit my website in a month or so, then follow the CafePress link. Do so especially if you're a fan of 1970s Kung Fu movies. I promise you won't be disappointed.
Have you got any words of wisdom for any budding young artists who might be reading this feature?
Don't stop drawing and don't give up. Ever. I waited 20 years for my big break, and if the webcomic's not the big break, then it sure as hell is the prequel to it. Whatever it turns out to be, it was definitely worth the wait.
Cheers for chatting to us, Adam! Any final words?
Thanks for having me (again)! My final words are: I hope everyone reading checks out the webcomic. One page at a time. Every day.
See, I'm a competitive bastard, and am currently trying to beat DJ for most pagehits. His webcomic's wildly popular (and 100% awesome), so I can use all the help I can get. Notice how I haven't given you a URL for his Hero By Night Diaries? Yeah. I'm a dirty cheater like that.