42 years ago (June 30, 1977) Marvel Comics published a color comic in magazine format, titled A Marvel Comics Super Special !: Kiss which features the band KISS as superheroes.
It was the first of the Marvel Comics Super Special series which will later see the participation of other musicians such as, for example, the Beatles.
On that June 30, 1977, in fact, KISS did something superhero, or super crazy … they went to the printing house where the comic dedicated to them was printed and, with a notary as a witness, each of them had a some blood.
Blood that was poured into the tanks containing the red color that would then be used to print the comic.
Stan Lee’s Tale
I have summarized what happened in two lines, but let’s leave the late Stan Lee himself (take a look at our Excelsior article!) To tell the fruit of that memorable day:
“Advertising is truly one of the most important things in the world. You may have the best product in the world but, if people don’t know it, it dies within a day. I love advertising as long as it’s based on something.
One day we decided to do a comic based on the rock group KISS. I had met … oh that’s great, i forgot her name, the guy with the long tongue … Gene … Gene Simmons? Gene Simmons. Yes. I had met Gene Simmons, and we had become quite friendly. And I remember, when they started and he, Gene, and Stanley came to my office, and they said, “What do you think of our costume?” And they had these boots with so thick soles that they looked like six and a half meters tall, and I look at them and I think … these guys are crazy. Prove what I knew. Anyway, we decided to do a KISS-based comic.
And some advertisers had an idea that KISS would go to the printing plant where the books were printed, and each of the four KISS members would take a pin and prick their finger, and let out a few drops of blood. , dropping those stains of … those patches of blood … drops of blood, in the ink … in red ink. I said, ‘You guys are out of your mind.’ He said, “No, no, that’s great. It will have a lot of publicity. ‘ The idea was that any kid, or anyone else, who bought a KISS comic was somehow getting some KISS blood in that comic book. It is brilliant.
To the typography
And sure, they chartered a plane, I went with them – like an idiot – we flew to Buffalo where the printing house was, and I’ll never forget that. The city of Buffalo was told we were on our way and there were cops stopping … you know, two limousines were waiting. The cops were on the corners to stop traffic on our way to the printing house, and all I could think about was … this traffic that stopped, there is probably some doctor who is going to save a person’s life, there is probably someone going to his job, which is an important job. These people were stopped while five idiots – me and the four of them – were about to go and shed some blood in a printing house.
But anyway, we went there, and they put some of their blood in there, and we went back and … Let’s face it, Gene Simmons has a photographic memory. On the plane, back and forth, he was telling me – apparently a big fan of mine – he was saying, ‘Stan, do you remember that story you wrote in Spider-Man # 23? The third panel on the fifth page when you … He remembered every … I’ve never met a guy … literally, a photographic memory. He … I was so impressed with him. He is a really good guy and a smart businessman. But him … a drop of his blood is somewhere in one of those comics, and it will stay there. “
The 1977 Kiss comic is not the only one
Since the phenomenon created around the first Kiss comic in 1977, many unlicensed comics have been published with various Kiss members. The most notable of these was published by Revolutionary Comics, known for its Rock N ‘Roll Comics and Hard Rock Comics titles. Although the Revolutionary comics weren’t officially approved by Kiss or the band’s lawyers, Gene Simmons was particularly outspoken in his support for the company, wearing a Hard Rock Comics t-shirt in the Alive III video and on the back cover of the same album. Both Simmons and Stanley gave interviews for Revolutionary Comics, and the Hard Rock Comics creative team did various jobs for the band.
Since 1997 a huge number of Kiss-themed comics have been released, just go to Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiss_(comics) to see that the latest prints date back to a couple of years ago.
The vein in question is certainly very prolific, it has been exploited for almost 40 years!
Who knows, soon we will not be amazed again with a new series about the band … perhaps for the 50th anniversary of the release of the Marvel comic, in 2027.
I imagine Kiss going back to shedding blood in some typography because, you know, as Neil Young said: “Rock ‘n’ Roll will never die”