Sunday, June 30, 2013

Today In KISStory - 1977

1st KISS Marvel Comic Released

Today In KISStory - June 30, 1977: The members of KISS were immortalized in the pantheon of legendary comic book superheroes alongside the likes of Superman, Batman and Wolverine. KISS were already real life superheroes to millions of  fans around the world but now they were the stars of their own comic book.

From this moment on, Gene, Paul, Ace and Peter would be forever known as The Demon, The Starchild, The Spaceman, and The Catman. These iconic characters have become a part of American folklore and have endured for over three decades in the form of movies, toys, action figures and comic books (not to mention, over 80 million records sold!).

The perfect combination of rock and roll and science fiction, KISS were a natural to feature in their very own comic.

After all, the bands outfits were inspired by those of Marvels superheroes.

So, befittingly, in 1977, the legendary Stan Lee and Marvel Comics published the first KISS comic book.

The monumental first issue was called KISS Marvel Comics Super Special! #1 and it quickly became Marvels best-selling comic book ever!

Realizing this was a major event in the comic book industry, Marvel opted not to print the KISS comic in standard comic
book size and decided instead to release it in the much larger magazine size format.

The forty page book featured the origin of KISS and an epic battle between KISS and Dr. Doom plus never before published KISS photos and features.

Also, in keeping with the bands outrageous image, the comic was printed in real KISS blood!

The band was flown to Marvels printing plant where they added their own blood to the ink used in the KISS comic book.

Never one to pass up a good marketing opportunity, KISS came up with the promotional gimmick to spur sales of the first edition.
The four members of KISS, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley, allowed their blood to be drawn during a concert stop in New York at Nassau Coliseum on February 21st, 1977.

They later flew up to the Borden Ink plant in Depew, New York, to be photographed adding their vials of donated blood to a barrel of red ink on May 26th, 1977.

A notary of the public duly certified the authenticity of the process, and the notarized document was made available as the KISS comic book contract.

Gene Simmons recalls: As the KISS comic book project moved along, someone came up with the idea of putting real blood in the ink.

It wasn't me maybe it was Bill Aucoin or Sean Delaney. We got into a DC3, one of those big prop planes, and flew up to Buffalo to Marvels printing plant, where they pour the ink and make comic books.

A notary actually witnessed the blood being drawn.

The promotional stunt paid off. The first KISS comic broke every comic book sales record imaginable and soon became the biggest selling comic book of all time.

KISS Marvel Comics Super Special! #1 would hold that distinction for fifteen years until it was dethroned by Todd McFarlanes, Spiderman #1.

It was the beginning of 30 years of KISS comics and the transformation of four kids from the streets of New York to international superstars.

This major milestone in KISStory also touched off an explosion in new KISS merchandise and a starring appearance in the bands own 1978 NBC movie of the week, KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park.

- Source: KISS OFFICIAL Magazine Issue #5 by Spiro Papadatos