THE EVOLUTION OF THE MAKE-UP
The make-up went through many changes before it became what we know (and love) today:
Picture 1 shows Peter as he had just joined the band in late 1972. Like Paul and Gene he wore white face make-up, with painted eyebrows and eye shadow. It is hard to make out what color the eye shadow actually is, but it looks like a blue or purple color.
Picture 2 is from January 1973, when Ace had just joined. Peters make-up resembles early Alice Cooper.
But then Peter started to put his Catman persona together. Picture 3 shows an early variation, with the black/silver nose we know today, but otherwise nothing resembles the finished design.
Funnily enough he seemed to drop the black and silver paint on the nose, and did an entirely black cat nose for a while. Picture 4 is from one of the bands performances in the summer of 1973. He had now added a number of thin whiskers, pointing slightly upwards. The make-up around the eyes was now a round shape, with two points. There were also a differently colored area around each eye... again it's hard to make out the color, and I can't say if it was green, as it would become later on, already at this point.
For the cover of "KISS" Peter let a professional make-up artist put his make-up on, which made an interesting variation. The design around the eyes were still roundish, still with a few points. The black and silver design on the nose is back, while there were only two large whiskers on Peter's cheeks. The whiskers were now three-parted, and pointed slightly downwards. Peter's lips were now painted a bright red (like Paul's), here with points out on the cheeks, one down to his chin, and one very thin one up towards the nose.
Picture 6 was taken late in 1973, for a promotional appearance where KISS signed a record deal, with Neil Bogart also in full make-up. Peter's nose was again entirely black, while the whiskers were now two-parted, and were again pointing upwards. But the designs around the eyes were now roughly the same shape, as the finished design.
Picture 7 and 8 are both from January 1974, and shows that Peter was rather indecisive about his look in this period. The look on the others in picture 7 would indicate that this was taken before picture 8, but video footage from February 1974, shows Peter again wearing make-up very similar to the make-up on picture 7.
Peter's nose was still black, but now Peter had added a black "split-lip" design under the nose. The two whiskers were now in one piece, while still pointing upwards. The design around the eyes was slightly grayish, and a square shape.
On picture 8 Peter's design around the eyes had finally become, what we know today. A slightly diamond-like shape, with a point upwards (under the hair), and two in the corner of each eye. The nose was again black and silver, but the "split-lip" part was gone again. Instead there was a red point coming up from the upper lip, like on the cover of "KISS". The whiskers was now broader, and pointed slightly downwards.
Later in 1974, Peter finally came up with the look we know today, as can be seen in picture 9. The black and silver nose, with the "split-lip" design, and two larger whiskers.
This make-up would still be refined a few more times... first in early 1976 (picture 10), when the two lower whiskers was joined up with the "split-lip" under the nose, and later in 1976 (first seen in the Paul Lynde's Halloween Special) green eye shadow over the eyes (picture 11). This was the look for Peter until he left KISS in early 1980.
Peter put on his make-up again for the release of his
mini-CD "Criss" in 1993 (picture 12). But he didn't get it quite right (or was
it because KISS owned the right to the original make-up?). The shape of the design around
the eyes was more squarish, the nose was entirely silver, and both whiskers were joined up
to the "split-lip" under the nose.
THE OTHER CATMEN:
There were two additional Catmen!!! It has often been rumored that other people stood in for Peter Criss during the '70's, whenever Peter weren't able to perform, or didn't show up! This was always strongly denied by KISS, who says that they never put anybody else in the Catman make-up and costume in the '70's! But after the reunion in 1996, it has happened twice!
Second time came recently, when KISS and Peter couldn't reach an
agreement about the last part of the Farewell tour in Japan and Australia. If rumors are
correct, Peter were unhappy that he had been offered less money than Ace to do the tour
and bowed out!