Creator Commentary: Kewber Baal Talks Final Issue Of KISS

Dynamite has sent us a special creator's commentary as they have put out the final issue of their KISS series with issue #10 by Amy Chu and Kewber Baal. The majority of the commentary is by artist Baal who includes some of the commentary in his native Portuguese as well as English. Then, at the end of the piece there are a few comments by writer Chu. The covers for this issue were done by Kyle Strahm and Baal, and of course, Baal did the interiors.

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Olá, everyone!

The final issue! The conclusion of the incredible saga of our teenage heroes inside the KISS Universe! If you have come here, thank you for joining us on this incredible adventure, and I am very happy to know that we are all in this together! Well, let's go to the comments!

Cover: Desta vez, posso começar pela capa alternativa, feita por mim! Uma curiosidade sobre ela é que a fiz antes da edição #4, pois conversei com Amy sobre a possibilidade das crianças usarem as maquiagens da banda, e claro, só uma pergunta por escrito não basta, já enviei também esta pinup para ela. Amy, além de ter aprovado, ainda deu a idéia "esta deveria ser uma capa", então mostrei para os editores, e sim, eles aprovaram!! Uma idéia de bastidores que acabou se tornando uma capa oficial!

This time, I can start with the alternative cover, made by me! A curiosity about it is that I drew it before issue #4, because I talked with Amy about the possibility of the kids using the makeup of KISS personas. And of course, only one question in writing is not enough, I already sent this pinup for her. Amy, in addition to having approved, still gave the idea "this should be a cover!" So I showed it to my editors, and yes, they approved it!! Well, A behind-the-scenes idea that turned out to be an official cover!


Pages 1 and 2:
We started with flashbacks, and a basic summary of what happened so far. All the scenes were chosen by Amy, and I really liked the way she associated the captions with the images, making us remember several scenes that happened even in the first editions. And, a sad thing for me, when re-drawing the Morpheus computer with the KISS band holograms, reminded me that this would be the last issue of this series!

Creator Commentary: Kewber Baal Talks Final Issue Of KISS Creator Commentary: Kewber Baal Talks Final Issue Of KISS

Page 3:
We return to the Obayashi museum, where we have the giant cube that supposedly guards a person. Was this Mr. Blackwell at last? Was he alive after all these centuries? All the scenes in this environment were the ones I liked the most to do, because I could play a bit with lights and shadows, also with the bold shades of color, and the textures that Schimerys added just completed the tone! And the door opens! What do we find?!?

Creator Commentary: Kewber Baal Talks Final Issue Of KISS

Page 4:
Nothing?? The chamber is empty??? Now what? Again, shades of blue and red dominate the environment until something happens.

Creator Commentary: Kewber Baal Talks Final Issue Of KISS

Page 5:
We saw then that everything was a hologram, and we see Mr. Blackwell in his last recording! For anyone who has read KISS: The Demon, you know what happens to him. And voila! I wanted to do this panel 2 since I started the layouts. For all this scene, I imagined an old tube TV, off the air, in a room with the lights out. For me, this should be the tone of this whole scene, because the TV off the air always takes us to our childhood, good moments, or for those who did not live in this time, it shows you how much this scene happened long ago, and how old we are.

Creator Commentary: Kewber Baal Talks Final Issue Of KISS

Page 6 and 7:
Now, something cool! A flashback about Mr. Blackwell from the city's founding in the late 1800's to the last days of the planet. What I liked was that several panels are recaps from the mini-series The Demon, and I had the opportunity to tell this story too, in my version.

Page 8:
Mr. Obayashi and the council decide that Blackwellians are guilty about what happened to the planet, and they can not stay on the ship. Behold the Obayashi Protectors appear again, and the tone comes out from the nostalgic blue, to a menacing red. If you look again, you will realize that even the shadows I used here are a bit more frightening, and old Obayashi's expression does not change, but we note that now he appears to be evil.

Page 9:
The protectors take the kids out, but Karin stays because she is of Japanese descendant. So only she can now convince Obayashi's council to save Blackwell from tragic fate!

Page 10:
Eran, Noa, Alex and Adi are already back on the Blackwell ship. Sad, and hopeless, especially to know that the ship needs to be evacuated as fast as possible!

Pages 11 and 12:
Karin explains to Obayashi's council her origin, and about the Ishida family, and now we know that yes, Obayashi was also guilty about the end of the world! So Blackwell can not perish alone in his own fate, what to do then?

Page 13:
This was a funny scene because the kids think Obayashi would attack again, perhaps to destroy Blackwell definitively, but it was actually Karin and the Council girls, going to save Blackwell! Finally the two civilizations will unite!

Pages 14 and 15:
Rescue of the Blackwellians. But the last ones to stay are our heroes. Because we must always save our culture and our history! Something I liked to do in these pages was the destruction of the ship happening slowly, with each panel we see more things falling, more electric fails, sparks, and wait! Does Obayashi decide to stay? Doesn't he need a space suit? And I must say I loved the last panel, it was also one of my favorites of this book. For me, sometimes a simple panel, with a simple expression, should already tell a whole scene, or even show everything about a character. And this panel is one of them.

Pages 16 and 17:
And FINALLY!!! A double spread page! I was missing them! This was definitely the page I most enjoyed doing throughout the series! Explosions, flying objects, astronauts and guitars! Here, I could play around a bit with white paint, something I'm trying to catch, and mix blast effects, jetpack smoke, and the stars. I loved the colors Schimerys made, and how the warm colors gave prominence to space suits, which have cool colors. Sometimes, I believe she was planning this all the time. We also see that Mr. Obayashi is back! Or not, this is another copy, because, for those who distrusted, now we are sure that yes, he is a robot! I wanted to give it a scary look when it reveals itself, I think I want to show that no matter how cute and beautiful it is, the robot is always a menace!

Page 18:
Noa reminds Eran about the Morpheus program, but it is safe. The girls celebrate singing! I spent hours on this panel, trying in all possible ways to find the most perfect positions possible for Noa and Adi, looking for photos and concerts for reference, but I still do not know if it worked … But that does not matter, because now everyone is coming back to the Earth!

Page 19:
We are now at the stadium, where everyone joins for a concert! We do not know how much time has already passed, a few months, that's what we know. But we have noticed how Obayashi and Blackwell people are already united, and learning from each other! And the main thing, the music. As we know, and I've said before, music unites people.

Page 20:
And the grand finale! We are back! The Earth, again green and blue! Finally we see hope, and so I made the first white page after 10 issues! You may notice that all pages I've done are black, but some lapse of hope can be seen throughout the series. I think one or two scenes. It's lapses like this that I strongly believe leads us to want to be better people, and I wanted to portray this in my own way. All best wishes for all Blackwell and Obayashi people, and I hope the KISS Army will make this new world better!

E, isto é tudo! Estou muito feliz por ter tido esta honra de trabalhar nesta série, e agradeço a todos, escritora, editores, e à própria banda KISS e the KISS Army por ter confiado a mim ajudar a contar esta incrível história! Este é um momento inesquecível, que fará para sempre parte da minha vida! São pessoas como vocês, que me fazem querer ser um artista cada vez melhor!

And, that's all! I am very happy to have had the honor of working on this series, and I thank everyone: writer, editors, and the KISS band and KISS Army for having entrusted me to help to tell this incredible story! This is an unforgettable moment that will be forever a part of my life! People like you are the ones who make me want to be a better artist!

Creator Commentary: Kewber Baal Talks Final Issue Of KISS

Some parting comments from KISS series writer Amy Chu:

"So my ten issues are up. I didn't want to water things down by stretching the story out. I'd rather write ten issues that you read twice, than 20 issues you only read once. Can I just say, it was a personal thrill and honor to have worked on this series. A big shoutout to all the stores who supported this run — especially Midtown Comics, Things From Another World, Black Cat Comics, Twilite Zone Comics, Main Street Comics… and many many more! Props to Dynamite for letting me bring KISS to the future and a new generation. It was a big risk to make a KISS comic that didn't feature the band members. It was always about the fans. I've seen so many fans at conventions across North America, and I can tell you the KISS fan base is diverse and AMAZING. I've never seen anything like it!

And in case you didn't know, the biggest KISS fans really are the artists Kewber and Schimerys Baal and letterer Troy Peteri, who put Easter eggs in every issue. So go back and reread the entire series and enjoy!"

About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.