30 Years Ago: Kiss Star in Their Own Comic Book
These days, we’re very much accustomed to the merchandising juggernaut/rock band known as Kiss — and “selling out” for commercials and tie-in products is simply second nature for most pop artists.
But in the ’70s, lending your music or your likeness to a major corporation could still cost you some cred — which is just one of the reasons why it made headlines when Kiss teamed up with Marvel Comics in 1977.
Of course, we’re talking about a band that wore makeup, adopted over-the-top stage guises and filled its shows with fireworks and fake blood, which made them more of a natural fit for the comics than, say, the Moody Blues. But Kiss took things one step further by donating a vial of blood from each of the band members and having it mixed with the ink used to print their full-length Marvel debut — a 40-page ‘Super Special’ that included a superhero adventure as well as other assorted photos and behind-the-scenes features.
It’s worth noting, for hardcore Kiss fans and comics completists, that the band made its first Marvel appearance in the pages of Howard the Duck — but nobody’s blood was used to make that, and Howard was known for subverting the rules of the Marvel universe anyway.
The “blood comic” was released to quite a bit of fanfare, and today, copies in good condition can fetch more than $200 on the used market — but it was just the beginning of the band’s long comics career, which includes more Marvel appearances as well as an Archie crossover and new series launched in the ’10s.
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