When Kiss Starred 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. That's just one of the reasons why it made headlines when Kiss teamed up with Marvel Comics on June 30, 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. 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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