Sep 21st 2007 By: Chris Dooley
Weirdness will get a whole new meaning when rock legend Gene Simmons invades bookstores with his Sci-Fi outsider series, Zipper, this November. Featuring exciting cover art by Adriano Loyola and showcasing the long-awaited reunion of writer Tom Waltz and artist Casey Maloney, the creative team responsible for the hit trade paperback Children of the Grave (IDW Publishing), Zipper promises to take readers out of this world this Fall... in more ways than one.
Xeng Ral is a soldier whose sole purpose is to serve in defense of Etheria, his home planet. Xeng Ral is not an elite soldier, by any means-rather, he is simply one amongst many. But something happens to Xeng Ral while performing his duty, as has happened to others before him: he begins to question his purpose and contemplate his autonomy. He is affected by this... changed. He realizes his own capacity for individualism and wishes to explore it further. He begins to speak of himself as "One." In Etheria's collective society, this will not do. The Etherian solution to individualistic behavior is to "recondition" the Etherians who attempt to break away from the collective mentality. However, Xeng Ral does not want to be reconditioned, and is able to escape by donning a protective zippered dimensional suit (which will become the character's trademark look and claim to fame) and entering a wormhole that eventually lands him on Planet Earth.
This is where the adventure truly begins...
Series mastermind Gene Simmons credits a sci-fi classic as part of the inspiration for Zipper, as well as his own personal immigrant experience.
"The sense of ZIPPER came to me from Heinlin's Stranger In A Strange Land," says Simmons. "A human being, who was born on Mars and was raised by Martians, comes to Earth. The (Silver) Surfer is an alien, who comes to Earth. I was born in another country and came to America. All of us share a sense of being from the Outside. We are all Outsiders. Though I speak English well enough to have taught it in 6th Grade in Spanish Harlem (as well as all the other subjects), I still chuckle when I hear words like HOT DOG. I still envision a...'hot dog'. Literally. I find myself musing about how bizarre people are. 'What fools these mortals be'... indeed.
"Zipper is not from here," Simmons continues. "He is from the Nether Ether. A place Not Here. A place with different values-in fact, if you take Nietzche's take 'there is no universal good or bad' it's simply a cultural point of view, then you might understand some of the areas we will deal with. What I mean is, for head hunters in the Amazon, killing and eating a human being is perfectly fine. But here, if you're Jeffrey Dahmer, you are a monster and depraved. It's all a point of view. Zipper is not from here and the suit he wears is what we might wear when we do very deep into the depths of the ocean. The pressure would crush us, if we didn't have 'protective outer covering'... and that's what Zipper has. Picture Spider Man's outfit and inside is Venom."