"I was immediately drawn to the idea of the cape and fancy outfit."

Gene Simmons
Gene Simmons (Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post)
Sunday, November 18, 2007

Depending on your age, you think of Gene Simmons as the painted, long-tongued leader of Kiss or as the father on the A&E program "Gene Simmons Family Jewels," which shows his real life with longtime love and former Playboy playmate Shannon Tweed and their two children. Less known is Gene Simmons, comic book freak. Recently we called upon the 58-year-old Simmons, who publishes his own line of comics, to talk about his passionate relationship with Superman.

-- Sridhar Pappu

What's your deal with Superman?

Well, Superman caught me as an immigrant. I came to America [from Israel in the 1950s], and I didn't look like everybody else. I didn't talk like everyone else, and yet I didn't actually feel lower than anybody else. I did feel like Superman inside.

I was immediately drawn to the idea of the cape and fancy outfit because we all wanted to show off, but I loved that underneath that was a mild, meek guy.

Did your love of superheroes at all influence the presentation of Kiss?

There's a direct correlation. With Kiss, there was a certain stage persona and an offstage persona, an alter ego. For the first 10 years or so we protected our secret identity. People wanted to see what we looked like offstage, and we didn't do that for the longest time.

Do you still have Superman stuff around the house?

Sure. I've always wanted to have Superman meet Kiss.

Does DC [Superman's publisher] know about it?

I don't know. They're probably not aware that with Kiss and Superman together, their sales would skyrocket because we have more fans than they do.

I'm curious as someone who's getting married . . .

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