Synopsis of Toy

“KISS – That’s their name,
KISS – They might be insane,
KISS – If rock’s your game,
Then KISS!”

Plenty of dolls based on rock stars have been made over the years, but perhaps none of them have ever been quite as cool as the dolls inspired by KISS. These heavy-metal legends were destined to inspire cool toys: after all, they wore superhero style outfits and makeup at all times. Their stage show was also heavy on superhero-style antics: Gene Simmons flew over the audience on wires, and Ace Frehley had a guitar that could fire rockets. It was inevitable that such larger-than-life musicians would inspire their own dolls. When they did, the result was some of the most popular and collectible toys of their time.

The KISS dolls were first released in 1977. The toy line consisted of four dolls, one for each member of the group: Ace Frehley, Peter Criss, Gene Simmons, and Paul Stanley. They were made of plastic, stood 12 inches high, and had lengthy rooted hair instead of the molded-plastic kind. Each doll also boasted a unique silver-and-black costume that was an accurate small-scale replica of the outfit each group member wore on tour between 1977 and 1979, complete with the crowning touch: a very 1970’s pair of platform boots. The dolls lacked any accessories like instruments or microphones, but to make up for this, Mego included cut-out instruments on the back side of the dolls’ boxes.

The most important element of the KISS dolls was the design of their heads. Mego initially wanted to use the same head for each doll (with different makeup for each member) but the band rejected this idea. Since they had likeness approval, Mego had to design a separate head for each doll with person-specific features and makeup. The Gene doll’s head stood out from the rest because it had an open mouth featuring his visual trademark, a long and extended tongue. However, the heads for the Paul dolls were actually repainted heads that were originally used for the Captain dolls in Mego’s short-lived Captain and Teneille doll series.

The KISS dolls were an instant hit with both KISS fanatics and toy lovers who appreciated the cool design of the dolls. Despite their success, these dolls were not produced in massive quantities. Because of this, the KISS dolls have become a ‘holy grail’ of sorts among toy collectors. In fact, a single boxed KISS doll in good condition can easily command hundreds of dollars on the collector’s market. The rarest of the four original KISS dolls is the Peter Criss doll. This is due to the fact that Mego produced less of these dolls due to a rumor around the time of production that Criss was leaving the group (this didn’t actually happen until 1980).

Today, the original Mego KISS dolls remain as popular as ever with toy collectors and KISS fans. Their continued popularity led to a new line of KISS dolls in 1997 when the original members of KISS reformed for a reunion tour. McFarlane Toys produced these new toys, which featured elaborate designs that included plenty of accessories for each member. For instance, each figure had realistically detailed musical instruments that often doubled as weapons (both Paul and Peter’s instruments shot missiles). Like their Mego predecessors, these toys were smash hits and proved that the superhero status of KISS continues to be as strong in the toy world as it is in the rock and roll world.

Release History of Toy

1977 - KISS figures (Mego)
1997 - KISS figures (McFarlane)

Sub Categories of Toys

action figures

Toy and Game Manufacturer

Mego, McFarlane Toys

Other Toy Links