I finally convinced my publisher to put a new, more KISS-like cover on my Encyclopedia of KISS, with a Gene Simmons-like silhouette and colors inspired by the cover to Destroyer.
(Scroll down to see the original, more generic cover.)
You can order the book with the new cover ON AMAZON.
Encyclopedia of KISS: Music, Personnel, Events and Related subjects is loaded down with everything you ever wanted to know about KISS, including albums, tours, songs, TV and movie appearances, makeup and non-makeup eras, family members and girlfriends, solo work, influences on the band, replacement members, studio musicians, road crew, books, magazines, comics, toys, video games, merchandise, obscurities, and much more, including photos, bios on each member past and present and a history of the band. Everything is in alphabetical order for your convenience. This is a fun read and comprehensive reference for KISS fans, writers, researchers, trivia mavens, and music buffs. More than 150,000 words.
Here's what the experts are saying about Encyclopedia of KISS:
*I keep it near my favorite chair in the family room and pop it open quite a bit...it's a fun book I think fans will like...it's chock-full of great information...great job on the research.
~Mark Cicchini, co-host of 3 Sides of the Coin podcast
*Pretty good unofficial KISS book...a good read for KISS fans.
~Bill Starkey, co-founder of the KISS Army
*A great book...a fun read...definitely a different kind of book.
~Michael Brandvold, co-host of 3 Sides of the Coin podcast.
*Terrific read...incredibly well-written and thorough in its examination of All Things KISS...Author Brett Weiss has been exhaustive in his research...A great book.
~Ross Berg, author of Gene Simmons: A Rock 'N Roll Journey in the Shadow of the Holocaust
regarded as the foremost American artist of the fantastic and outré, the late,
great carved out a career drawing funny animal comic books and classic
adventure strips, but he’s best known
for his otherworldly paintings of musclebound men, buxom women, alien
landscapes and terrifying monsters. His art has graced book covers, magazine
covers, movie posters and more, including album covers for bands as diverse as , Herman’s Hermits, and Nazareth.
was a commercial artist, but his works are considered as important as those of most
any contemporary fine artist. His sketches, drawings, and paintings routinely sell
for big bucks, and many of his creations grace the walls of the Frazetta Art
Museum in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania in the heart of the Pocono Mountains.
Recently, Heritage Auctions facilitated the sale of Frazetta’s At
the Earth’s Core, which was used for the cover of an Edgar Rice Burroughs paperback. It sold tfor $1,075,500, the most ever paid for a
Frazetta work in a public auction. Shortly after the auction, I interviewed my friend Weldon Adams, the Comic and Animation Art Specialist at Heritage
Auctions in Dallas about the sale, and about Frazetta in general.
BRETT WEISS:Do you remember the first time you saw
a Frazetta work? If so, what was it, and what did you think of it? WELDON ADAMS: I can’t remember the exact piece, but I am quite sure it was one of the John
Carter novel covers. I learned about his earlier careers in both comic strips
and comic books after the fact. I knew him as a master painter first.
WEISS: Do you collect Frazetta? If so, please
describe your collection, highlighting some of your favorite books, prints,
was not a collector of his work per se. But it did grace the covers of some of
my favorite novels. In recent years, I am really very taken with his comic
strip work in the 1950s. So I keep an eye on any of the Johnny Comet strips
that come through Heritage Auctions. Also, any of the Li’l Abner dailies from
the era that he assisted Al Capp.
WEISS: If you could own one item,
regardless of the price (something you couldn’t simply sell), what would it be?
would have to be the original art for the reissue of ' . That Frazetta painted cover is so iconic. You can see it echoed over and over again in fandom. Compare it to the original movie poster
for “Star Wars” (IV: A New Hope) by the brothers Hildebrandt. It is easy to
spot that influence.
WEISS: Why do art critics typically prefer
Frazetta to such similar painters as Boris, Jeff Jones and Ken Kelly? Is it
strictly because they came after Frazetta, or is it something else?
a combination of factors. However, it is hard to ignore Frazetta structure and
skill in the mechanics of how he lays out an image. He makes it powerful and
dynamic. The others learned from that and built upon it.
WEISS: When and why did Frazetta become a
household word? Was it the Tarzan PB covers?
much, yes. The ERB Tarzan novels were always a bit more popular than the John
Carter of Mars series. But between the two of them, they cemented his
reputation as THE cover painter for novels. So working on the ERB franchise
reissues was probably the best synthesis of cover painter and novel content
that has ever happened, rivaled possibly only by Boris Vallejo’s work on the Conan novels.
WEISS: Fantasy art is more respected than it
used to be. In your opinion, why is this so?
in general has come out of the shadows. The entire genre is more respected now. Generations
have grown up reading Tolkien, Burroughs, , Anne McCaffery’s Pern
series, and watching Ray Harryhausen animation in fantasy movies such as
Sinbad. So fantasy art is more ingrained for them. And the generations who grew
up playing D&D have demanded more fantasy art as well. Fantasy art has
gotten more sophisticated as the same time. The pageantry of TV’s Game of
Thrones owes much to that.
WEISS: What was it like holding the million
dollar painting in your hands?
I was giddy. And just to see that piece up close and personal was a huge treat.
you can see a historical artifact from your childhood, it’s a special thing. And
of course, holding a single thing that is worth over a million dollars is
WEISS: Looking at a Van Gogh in person is much
different than seeing a print. The color, the energy, the thick brush strokes…Is there a similar effect with Frazetta. In other words, what’s different about
looking at a Frazetta original than looking at a print?
is detail in the work that is simply not reproduced well in any book cover or
poster print to date. There are soft, subtle lines and colors, and hidden
details in the background that are covered up by cover text and logos. Much
like any museum masterpiece, you can stare at this for hours.
WEISS: Why did that painting in particular
sell for so much? Is there something special about it compared to his other
novel At The Earth’s Core was the first of ’ stories set
in his ‘lost world’ of Pellucidar. Although Lost World stories are their own
sub-genre of fantasy, this is one of the earliest and best. It first appeared
as a serialized story in the pulp magazine All-Story Weekly in 1914, and was
first collected into a novel in 1922. It was reprinted several times, with this
stunning Frazetta work used on the 1970s reprints of the story. Science Fiction
and Fantasy were making a comeback in the 1970s, so the timing on this was just
right to imprint upon the memories of an entire generation of fans. Fans who
would go on to create and influence the genre even more.
for comparing it to his other works, this piece just simply has it all. is known for his gorgeous women from work produced in his comic book
and comic strip days. Here he had a chance to illustrate one of those
characteristically lovely “Frazetta women” and juxtapose her against his more
fantasy style. A style he began to develop in those comic book days as well, The
image tells a rich and moving story in one image, and it’s an essential part of
the tale as well.
I've been doing data entry for an online comic book company, and it's rekindled my reading of various Archie titles. This one in particular sparked my interest as it has , Archie's "girl next door" love interest, imagining that she is a Flash-like character. As many of you probably know, (Barry Allen version) is my all-time favorite super-hero, so this was a fun read. Click on each image for a better look, and enjoy the story!
Kirk, Spock and company began their “five-year mission” nearly 50 years ago,
boldly going “where no man has gone before,” little did they realize that
people would be obsessing over the low budget, but well-acted and intelligently
written series all these decades later.
a diverse cast, cool spaceships and a rich panoply of gizmos and gadgetry, Star Trek is a beloved pop culture
touchstone—as alien as any program in the history of television, yet as
American as baseball, country music and The
addition to spawning sequels, movies, collectibles, internet memes, parodies
and much more, including people who entered the space program because of the
show, Star Trek inspires masses of
like-minded fans to get together at convention halls, celebrating the
phenomenon they love so much.
are 50 things to love about Star Trek.
Gene Roddenberry. Nicknamed “The Great Bird of the Galaxy,” the late, great Roddenberry
gave us an intelligent and diversely cast sci-fi adventure show set in an
Majel Barrett. Roddenberry’s widow (now deceased), Barrett not only played
Christine Chapel and Lwaxana Troi, but also voiced the ship’s computer.
Fans. Whether called Trekkers (nerdy fans) or Trekkies (super nerdy fans), Star Trek devotees are among the most
devoted of any franchise.
Bjo Trimble. The most devoted fan of all, Trimble organized a “Save Star Trek”
campaign that ensured a third season for the original series.
Tribbles. Cute, furry and lovable, Tribbles, first appearing in “The Trouble
with Tribbles” (written by sci-fi author David Gerrold), look harmless, but are
“mortal enemies” of the Klingons.
Klingons. Savage warriors who value honor above all else, Klingons were arch
enemies of Captain Kirk and company, but later reformed (sort of).
James T. Kirk. The greatest starship captain of them all, Kirk was played with swagger
by William Shatner, who delivered his lines haltingly for dramatic effect.
Kirk/Shatner impersonators, who deliver their lines haltingly for comedic
The infamous Saturday Night Live
parody with Shatner: “You, you must be almost 30...Have you ever kissed a girl?”
“Beam me up, Scotty.” Kirk never said these exact words to Chief Engineer Montgomery
Scott (played by James Doohan) in an episode, but the phrase became a meme
Spock. Kirk’s logical best friend, Science Officer Spock, played by the late,
great Leonard Nimoy, is half Vulcan, but is perhaps more human than any other Star Trek character.
The Vulcan nerve pinch. What Trekker worth his or her dilithium crystals hasn’t
tried this knockout maneuver on one of his or her friends at least once?
Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. This Vulcan philosophy epitomizes Star Trek, with each series boasting an
ethnically diverse cast.
“Live long and prosper.” Good advice for any life form.
Green chics in go go boots. Hands down, the original Star Trek boasted the cutest aliens in the galaxy.
Bones. Despite being an ornery old cuss who hated transporters, Leonard “Bones”
McCoy, played by the late, lamented DeForest Kelley, had the best bedside
manner this side of the Romulan Neutral Zone.
“I'm a doctor, not a bricklayer.” Bones’ most memorable line, spoken during
“The Devil in the Dark.”
George Takei. Best known as Helmsman Sulu, Takei has lived a productive post-“Trek”
life as an advocate for the LGBTQ community.
Nichelle Nichols. As Lieutenant Uhura, Nichols was the first African-American
female to play a lead, non-stereotypical role on television. Martin Luther King
Jr. himself praised her work.
“City on the Edge of Forever.” A tragic love story (between Kirk and Edith
Keeler, played by Joan Collins) and the greatest “Star Trek” episode ever
filmed. Not even studio tinkering with Harlan Ellison’s script could ruin this
“Mirror Mirror.” An evil Spock sporting a goatee. ’Nuff said.
Allegory. Such episodes as “A Private Little War” offered thinly veiled
commentary on real-life woes—the Vietnam War in this case.
“Spock’s Brain.” So bad it’s good, “Spock’s Brain” is Star Trek for Ed Wood fans. Spock’s pointy ears are awesome as well,
though network executives initially worried he looked too “satanic.”
Transporters. Because faster is better. Ditto warp speed.
The future is now. Star Trek
predicted flip phones, sliding doors, diagnostic beds, computer discs and more.
Toon Trek. Filmation’s Star Trek: The
Animated Series won a Daytime Emmy Award for “Best Children’s Series” for
the 1974-1975 season.
The Holodeck. Introduced in The Animated
Series, the holodeck is the ultimate form of virtual reality, making years
in space seem downright pleasant.
Friendly arguments. Kirk or Picard? Star
Trek: The Original Series or Star
Trek:The Next Generation? Play a
game of 3D chess to determine the winner.
Patrick Stewart. Shakespearean actor Stewart, as Picard, brought a
distinguished “ask questions first, fire phasers later” ethic to the role of
Starfleet captain, separating The Next
Generation from The Original Series.
“Engage” and “Make it so.” Genteel orders frequently given by Picard.
Data. Played brilliantly by Brent Spiner, Lieutenant Commander Data, an android
who longs to be human, is arguably the third greatest “Star Trek” character of
all time (after Kirk and Spock).
“The Offspring.” A funny and poignant episode of The Next Generation in which Data “fathers” a female android he has
The Borg. Because resistance is futile. And oftentimes terrifying.
“The Best of Both Worlds.” Picard as Locutus of Borg is utterly chilling,
especially when Commander William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) orders the Enterprise
to “Fire!” at him.
Deanna Troi. Played by Marina Sirtis, Counselor Troi is one of the classiest
and prettiest members of Starfleet, and definitely the most intuitive.
Wesley Crusher. The kid character you love to hate (or just hate). Although we enjoy
Wil Wheaton’s guest appearances on The Big
Worf. A Klingon raised by humans, Worf (Michael Dorn) was in more “Star Trek”
episodes than any other character, appearing as a regular in The Next Generation and seasons four
through seven of Star Trek: Deep Space
Benjamin Sisko. Stately and reserved, Sisko (Avery Brooks) commands a space station
(Deep Space Nine) instead of a starship, but he’s a great captain nevertheless.
René Auberjonois. As Odo, one of Deep
Space Nine’s best, most fully realized characters, Auberjonois brings
subtlety, apprehension, nuance, and pliability to an unlikely role: head of
Quark. Deep Space Nine tends to be a
somber show dealing with deep (so to speak) issues like war, religion and
politics, but Quark (Armin Shimerman) brings levity and mischievousness to the
Girl power. Females have played crucial roles in “Star Trek” from the
beginning, most notably Star Trek:
Voyager’s Captain Kathryn Janeway, played with steely resolve by Kate
The Adventures of Captain Proton. During
their long voyage home, Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill) and Harry Kim (Garrett
Wang) acted out chapters of this 1930’s-style serial in the holodeck, complete
with black-and-white visuals. Retro cool, for sure.
Former Borg drone Seven of Nine. Every Star
Trek sequel needed a logic-based character to substitute for Spock. Voyager’s just happened to be played by
the drop-dead gorgeous Jeri Ryan.
Scott Bakula. Most fans agree that Star
Trek: Enterprise is the weakest link in the “Star Trek” franchise, but
Bakula of Quantum Leap fame was solid
as Captain Jonathan Archer.
Movie marathons. If you’ve never stayed up all night watching the first six
“Star Trek” films featuring the original cast, you haven’t truly lived.
Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn. Or should we say, Wrath of “Kaaaaaaahhhhnnnnn!!!”?
The nuclear “wessels.” Some of the franchise’s funniest moments were in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, such as
Pavel Chekov’s (Walter Koenig) repeated butchering of the word “vessels.”
J. J. Abrams. Before he directed Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015),
Abrams revitalized the “Trek” franchise with two exciting films: Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013).
A new movie. Star Trek Beyond is in
theaters now and will be followed by a new Star
Trek television series (Star Trek:Discovery) in 2017.
50. Streaming episodes. Netflix currently streams tons of “Trek,” including complete series, so what
are you waiting for? Binge-watch like no one has binged before!