Dynamite has sent us a new writer’s commentary from Amy Chu where she talks KISS: The Demon #3. Cover by Kyle Strahm, interiors by Eman Casallos.
Hey there, so if you’ve been keeping up with all my writer’s commentaries on KISS, The Demon and Red Sonja, thank you so much! If you know me at all by now, you will know I do enjoy talking about all aspects of making comics. For me, every issue I work on is new, different and a learning process. and if you happen to see me at shows like WonderCon in Anaheim, C2E2 in Chicago and San Diego Comic Con come by and feel free to ask me questions. I’m usually writing at my table or speaking at a panel… about making comics.
The Demon mini-series has been a blast. Now this issue in particular is very important- it establishes Sam Blackwell’s history and motivation, and explains a few things in the main series, so grab a drink, pull up a chair, open Demon #3 and let’s walk it through together… are you ready?
I really should be talking more about the covers on all these series. I know a few fans (and stores) grouse about variants, but it’s been my experience that people want what they want, and a lot of people make their purchasing decision based on the covers, so why not? I’ve had a number of people come up to me at conventions to tell me they picked up the issue solely because of the cover and ended up loving the story. And the cover artwork on all the KISS books IMHO is extraordinary. Probably has something to do with Gene Simmons being a HUGE comics fan and art collector, but you draw your own conclusions.
And I do like that Dynamite has made the effort to have different covers for different tastes. For readers who are missing certain issues, I usually have all of them at my con table and a number of fans have really liked the Tom Mandrake and Kyle Strahm covers. (Coincidentally I’m working on a series with Jan Duursema and Tom is her husband – welcome to the small world of comics!) I’m a retrogamer myself so I enjoy the Michael Adams covers. And with this being a miniseries you can collect all four without breaking the bank!
As mentioned previously, this is my first experience co-writing so I get to see Erik Burnham’s take – let me tell you his scripts are a delight to read. But for this issue, our editor tapped Erik for the KISS annual so I had to wing this one on my own! Let’s see if you notice any difference. Few people realize how many folks are involved in making a comic. This is why we have credits! If we expanded it you would see a lot more names like the people in production. There’s no key grip or caterer department, but you get the idea… making comics involves a whole bunch of people working into the wee hours for you.
Establishing shot – Blackwell Mansion. I love how Eman did the Demon in the background like this. Look at all the detail on this page! This is a particularly lyric heavy issue – it’s the closest thing to what we in comics have as a soundtrack. Have some fun and try to figure out which songs they come from… tweet your answers to me at @amychu
Party scene in Sam’s house. Nice, right? Here we really see the genesis of Sammy’s Demon fixation. You might have thought you’re the world’s biggest KISS fan, but you’re wrong, it’s Sam Blackwell! Of course there’s something really meta about this since he’s a character derived from the Elder album but whatevs…
I’m laughing as I look at this page – Eman went to town on the memorabilia in the background. I’m not sure he could fit anymore KISS in there – Don’t we all want this trophy room?
And here come the Japanese representatives of the Obayashi Corporation! Please remember this moment…There is a method behind my madness – I actually did quite a bit of research about the development of space stations and Obayashi has developed the concept of a space elevator. It’s quite fascinating.
Aerospace?! Hopefully you’ve read KISS #5 by now…. spoilers!
Now we’re getting into some crucial background. Hopefully you are reading the KISS main series too. If not, run out to your local comic book store and pick up the 1-6 if you can still find it! There is an art to the subtle recap in every issue – Mark Waid does it very well, and Gail Simone.
We had a rare moment where Eman thought the panel description was the title of the slide, whoops! But fixed it quickly enough. These are all the things you don’t see as the reader. The script needs to be really clear for the artist – if it’s not that’s where the mistakes happen. Anyway, it’s all good now.
Enter the crazy guy, or is he…? Sound familiar?
Kimi, get a clue… your boyfriend is an insecure douchebag… but hey he’s got a big surprise for you. Wait until page 20….
Milo, our favorite guitar playing hacker, is back! – you saw a lot of him in Issue #2 with his backstory. Now if you’re reading the main series, pay attention to this page… Morpheus’s genesis is right here!
Nutty environmentalist! And no, I don’t want your thumb drive!
Can’t we all just be friends? A little tense there maybe?
For those just joining us, or need a little reminder, here’s a little flashback… for the whole story, go get Demon #1!
If you were thinking this series was about Gene, sorry, you’re only partially right – it’s really about the DEMON persona.
You almost feel sorry for Sammy…
Note to aspiring artists – look how Eman left space above the characters heads for the balloons. No one likes to cover up art, so make sure you do like Eman – the letterer is happy, and you look like a pro!
It’s just like Kimi to try to find the good in a person… but poor Milo.
I’m really glad Eman varied up some of the actions, otherwise it would’ve been just talking heads, and who wants that? I try really hard to avoid lots of talking back and forth in my scripts – but sometimes it’s inevitable. Not everything can be swords and punching like in Red Sonja…
Women. Amiright? But wait, something more important is about to happen…
That’s one environmentalist down… thousands more to go.
Yeah, be careful, Milo!
That’ll teach you to accept thumb drives from strangers!
What did I tell you, Milo?!
Lol, I’m guessing Eman filled in this spreadsheet…
Weather is one of the tools a writer can use to convey mood, and in this case, also make the ground a little more treacherous…
Uh oh, Milo…
And yes, this is a deliberate callback to Demon #1, a very similar scene….
Things aren’t looking good for Milo…. in retrospect, I should’ve asked for a little bit of blood here from Omi, but oh well…
Big reveal here – Remember Sammy’s big birthday surprise for Kimi?
You’ve come this far – stay tuned for the finale next month! What is Milo going to tell Kimi? And what is Kimi going to do with her birthday present?
Preorder the next issue from your local comic book store to find out! Kyle Strahm FEB171534, rad Tom Mandrake cover FEB171535, or the cute retro gaming Michael Adams cover FEB171536.
Shout out to Twilite Zone Comics in Glen Burnie, MD, and Black Cat Comics in Salt Lake City, UT, for being the huge KISS fans they are! Pick up their exclusive #1 store variants and hope to see you again for Demon #4!