It's hard to imagine a time when KISS didn't exist. A friend wearing a Gene Simmons mask introduced me to their music when I was five years old, living in Germany. The Berlin Wall hadn't fallen yet. He revealed the KISS Double Platinum as if he were holding the holy grail of heavy metal. Since then, I've watched the band reach the height of their stardom in the late '70s, the nightmare of losing their makeup (and in essence their power), to the rise from the ashes in the '90s with the original member reunion.
Their painted faces mesmerized me, and I devoured their TV movie Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park. Starchild, Space Ace, Catman and, my personal favorite, the Demon battling evil robot doppelgängers: they were my superheroes.