KISS returns to comics and superstar artist Jamal Igle (The Ray, Superman) assures us that every page is lookin’ good. Jamal and IDW Publishing’s Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall return to the comic book Dynasty for a brand new number one issue with a story called ‘Dressed to Kill’.
Jamal was a guest on LeaguePodcast this past December and had a table at this year’s Boston Comic Con to promote his New 52 limited series, The Ray. He promised the League some big news when we ran into him, but had to keep the jewels to himself … until now.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today, Jamal. We know you are a very busy man. You’ve got another awesome book coming out this week starring hard rock band KISS!
You know the League members are huge fans of your work. We talked not too long ago about your reboot of The Ray with Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti. The KISS book is written by the big guy, Chris Ryall [Publisher/Editor-in-Chief] at IDW.
How many times have people said, “You wanted the best, you got the best” to you since the book was announced?
Not as much as you’d think. It’s been interesting, because a lot of the announcements about what we were doing were coming from the KISS website, so every so often I’d get friend requests from KISS fans. So now people send me links to old concert footage or photos they’ve taken of and with the boys.
I absolutely flipped out when Archie Meets Kiss came out from a different publisher a few months ago. The band has a long history with comic books. Some younger fans might have no idea that in 1977 KISS mixed their own blood into the red ink used for printing their first Marvel Comic. The Nineties gave us a great Image Comics run with Psycho Circus.
What is new and different about this IDW run? We see Tommy guns and pin stripe suits on the cover of Dressed To Kill #1. Do we have time travel? You know that there is nothing I like more in comics than time travel! KISS not only has a lengthy discography, but also a continuity in comic books. Can we expect to see some familiar themes from previous books?
It’s not a time travel story, so much as the band travels in time. My issues actually take place in Chicago, 1929. It’s about the Avatars of the Elder giving the powers to a group of four men, two beat cops, a Treasure agent and a Mob informant become KISS to battle Wicked Lester. There’s Tommy guns and Model T’s everywhere.
Essentially, the book is about the spirit of KISS fighting for justice across space and time. We acknowledge all of the past comics and make them a part of what we’re doing with our series.
What’s been your favorite thing to draw in this series (…please say The Demon’s boots, please say The Demon’s boots, please say The Demon’s boots…).
We did a little trick with Gene’s boots that I think people will dig. The fun part for me was in Issue #2, but I don’t want to spoil it.
I vacillate between “Shout it Out Loud,” God Gave Rock and Roll to You II,” and “You Wanted the Best” off of Psycho Circus, which was the first KISS Album I bought back in the ’90s. I knew the band, but didn’t realize how many KISS songs I actually knew back then.
My problem was I missed the original makeup days in the ’70s, so the only version I knew was the post makeup days when Eric Carr and Vinnie Vincent were still in the band.
To talk about the comic market for a little bit, I feel that IDW is hands down the best at dealing with licensed properties. And that’s what you have with KISS. From Hasbro (G.I. Joe, Transformers), to Star Trek, Doctor Who, True Blood and many more. What do you think is the secret there?
So many artists and writers are dedicated to giving the fans of the properties what they expect and over-deliver more than half the time. With approvals from editorial and from the IP holders themselves, consistency and quality must be upheld or the deal is off. Have you had any notes related to your interpretation of KISS in the book? Are Gene and Paul signing off on every page?
I think it’s a respect for the material, really. Chris and Tom Waltz are good guys, smart editors, and they love comics. You’d think that would be a commonality, but it really is a rare combination. they take the material seriously. The books aren’t just comics, they’re IDW comics and everything gets the same amount of attention. I know from talking to Chris that they’ve been working very closely with Gene, specifically on the books.
Gene and Paul signed off on all the artwork.
My interpretation really boiled down to trying to make them move and act like what you’d expect them to. I spent months while working on the books watching footage of the boys, concert footage, documentaries, even KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park … that was an experience!
And it looks like you’ll be signing books next to The Demon at San Diego Comic Con this year. That’s amazing. You no doubt will have more KISS fans in that line than comics fans. To my point that the band must be very happy with what you and Chris are doing to put their name on it!
I hope so. No, I’m really looking forward to meeting Gene at the show and signing with him.
Will you come back and talk to us about your new Kickstarter project, Molly Danger? We’re pretty excited about what we’ve seen there too!
Absolutely. I’m really excited to finally be working on Molly. This is something I’ve been developing for 10 years.
You’ve got a signing today in Manhattan as well, yeah?
BUT WAIT…THERE’S MORE! CHECK OUT LEAGUEPODCAST.COM — BOSTON’S COMIC BOOK AND POP CULTURE PODCAST — “Thinking about Comics since 2009″!
League of Ordinary Gentlemen Podcast Episode #102 — Interview with Jamal Igle
From way back in December 2011, we chat with Jamal Igle about his new project The Ray for DC’s New 52. Plus, his travels to comic-cons around the globe, his long association with DC, and even his brief but poignant meeting with John and Dursin years ago. And he remembered! Plus, some big news from Big Josh!