(August 25, 1949 – )
Best known today as Gene Simmons and “The Demon,” Gene Klein (born Chaim Witz) was a teenaged New York comics and fanzine fan and fanartist. Active in fandom from about 1966–72, he gafiated and pursued his interest in music, forming the rock band Kiss in 1973.
Born in Tirat Carmel, Israel, Gene changed his name upon immigrating to the United States with his mother in 1958, taking her maiden name as his surname. To help him learn English, he read comic books, monster magazines and prozines, and then made contact with fandom.
As a teenager, he worked selling Life magazine subscriptions door-to-door to earn money to buy a used duper in order to pub his fanzines: Cosmos (later CosmoStilletto and Faun), Id, Tinderbox, Adventure, Mantis, Sci-Fi Showcase and others. Klein contributed articles and artwork to a variety of other fanzines, including BeABohema, Bombshell (he had a regular column called “Hokum”), Dynatron, Ecco, En Garde, Exile, Harpies, Iscariot, Nimrod and Sirruish, among many others.
I haven't been active in fandom for about five years.... By 1969-70 fanzines were getting boring anyway -- politics was making strong headway, and that left me far behind.
He signed the letter with his new surname, Simmons, reportedly taken in homage to “Jumpin’ Gene” Simmons of “Haunted House” fame.
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