When I was growing up and all of my friends were collecting Baseball cards I had to say that the things that appealed to me a whole lot more were those weird advertisements that were found depicted on the “Wacky Packages” stickers. My love of absurd humor and wisecracks combined with my interest in comic books probably led this to being the case and soon this all moved onto an interest in Rock & Roll music, most specifically anything that the guys in KISS were doing. In 1978 they made the collector in me go absolutely crazy by sanctioning Don Russ cards to release the first real set of KISS trading cards and I had to say that I spent a lot of allowance money on the things in my quest to complete the set. Back in this ancient day, the packs were only $.20 apiece and I think contained five or six cards along with a horrible stick of gum. There were 66 total cards in the set and the backs featured relevant KISS information and formed a poster. Here is a graphic of the original wrapper that I found while clicking around. As I looked at it, I recall having hundreds upon hundreds of the individual cards and yet in today’s world only think that part of a full set is even in my possession somewhere in a closet that I have safely kept them in for posterity.
Since that time long, long ago there have been numerous other companies that delivered KISS in trading card form and each of them holds some special memories for the ardent KISS fan without any question. The bands reunion and makeup touring sparked a renewed interest in this sort of thing a few years ago and now thanks to the fine folks at Press Pass Inc., those collectors get yet another trading card set to add to their collection that is called KISS “Ikons”. I managed to get my hands on some samples of these wonderful cards and had to say that they made me feel like the kid who rushed to the candy store to buy those Don Russ cards back in 1978 all over again. In looking at the images that they used for the cards I had to say that they did a lot better than I thought they could have and even managed to now rate higher in my ranking of such things when I compared them to the already thought of as cool Cornerstone cards that we saw back in 1999. The trading cards had come a long way from the years of those Don Russ editions and thankfully there was no piece of plaster that was mislabeled as gum included in these. With so many different aspects in this set, I figured I would give a brief overview to better whet the palette for your love of all things KISS.
The set is composed of 90 base cards, and these seem to cover a wide number of years in the bands very rich history. They begin with the first album “KISS” and conclude with “Psycho Circus” it seems and that makes sense since at the time of this writing there is no new studio release from the band. In addition to the amazing images that we find on the faces of the cards, the backs are loaded with personal quotations from the group about a particular topic. For instance the first few cards feature commentary on the bands debut album “KISS” and they line out the songs one by one with members giving their fans insight. It might be nothing new to the hard core study, but it is damned cool for the regular Joe or new fan who wants to get more up to speed. The 90 cards have different labels to them such as “KISS and Make Up”, “Milestones In KISStory”, “KISS and Tell” and “KISS Doctrine”. Once you compile your full set I suggest you make the time to read each and every one since it works well to make you appreciate your new collectibles a little more.
The set also features what appear to be 12 stickers that don’t seem to follow any particular pattern and instead just deliver what the company felt would make a cool sticker. I don’t mind these being the part of a set but I would prefer additional trading cards or more premiums because my days of putting such things on notebooks or lunchboxes are long gone. Perhaps the youth of today can carry the torch forward in this fashion. The next treat I found appealing was the sets 18 “temporary tattoos” and that was because it reminded me of the KISS “Alive II” album which had included something similar when it was released originally. These temporary graphics don’t depict the actual “ink” that the band members sport themselves, but they are cool enough images that relate to the bands classic visages in a few different fashions. I’ve seen a number of Old and New School fans of the band showing off real KISS “ink” and I give them credit for raising the level of their support to skin deep intensity. The final thing that these sets feature is one of the Gene Simmons “memorabilia” cards, and these are probably the Holy Grail of the numerous boxes on the market and something that is very hard to find. Apparently, a real swatch of Gene’s clothing was embedded into a trading card and put in a number of packages to make you feel like you have discovered gold should you manage to find one. Either way, this was surely something that more than just KISS fans will enjoy if they take the time to look into it. There are really only a few bands that can successfully sell a trading card set and in no special order I think those bands are KISS, The Beatles and Elvis Presley. Yes bands like Gwar and Lordi are very visual, but I don’t think that fan base goes for such things. I could of course be wrong and think that a set featuring either of them would be cool. Maybe PressPass Inc. can look into other Horror Rockers and deliver a cool set of cards based on it sometime in the future.
We’ve provided a means for the fans to order a complete boxed set of these KISS cards and while a little pricy, these are beautiful cards and the buyer gets 5 cards to a pack, with 20 sealed packs in the also sealed box. I’m sure that one will be able to get most of the set and a bunch of the stickers by ordering one or two. Who knows, perhaps you will even get one of the treasured special Gene Simmons collectible memorabilia cards as well. You will not know unless you try and if you are like most KISS fans and I, then you have already placed your order for this. Press Pass Inc. will be releasing a follow up set to this edition entitled KISS “360” in the coming months and we will try to get some information on that set as well if possible. Stay tuned.
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