Wednesday, June 02, 2010

#194: No More People (Mondegreen)

I never could afford to buy the Kiss comic when it was released in 1977. Hell, I was only ten years old, so it wasn't like I even knew about it, as it would have been hidden behind the Spider-Man comics and would have cost too much for me to afford on my limited funds.  Hell, when I think back to the late 1970s I think I lifted more comics than I bought, until I discovered a second hand shop down at Elizabeth South that'd sell all their comics for about five cents each, covers and no covers.  I'd grab a few bucks and go for it.  Never saw the Kiss comic though.

I did read about it as I was growing up, and eventually I did finally see a copy.  I wanted it, but I wasn't about to pay the $100 that the guy who had it wanted for it.  Bastard.  So I passed.  I was gutted, but hey, such is life.

When I finally got a copy I was stunned.  The art, by Alan Weiss, who is now a close pal of mine, was nothing short of amazing.  The story was, well bizarre, but then again it was written by Steve Gerber, a man who created Howard The Duck and also brought us Giant-Size Man-Thing.  I had the chance to speak to Steve before he passed away, what a guy, as funny as you'd want and as generous as they came. 

Back to the comic.  The selling point of the comic was that the thing was actually printed in real Kiss blood!  The photos in the comic book told the story, that the band went to a doctor, rolled up their sleeves, had some blood taken out and stored it.  About three months later they wandered down to the printing press and poured the vials of blood into the red ink.  Along the way they had the whole process documented and notarized and witnessed by, amongst others, Stan Lee, Gerber and Weiss, who were present at both the drawing and pouring of the blood. Gene Simmons remembered, "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 Marvel's printing plant, where they pour the ink and make comic books. A notary public actually witnessed the blood being drawn."

There's another story I could tell about Stan Lee and Kiss, but I'll hold that back for the time being.

Thrilling, eh?  Well, not so thrilling really.  The urban myth has it that the blood never reached the comic book.  Recently I recieved an email that had this to say about the blood/ink combination.  "The band, having done their photo-op with their blood being poured into the ink leave the printing-plant. Later, the printer has to get an issue of Sports Illustrated done and, without a thought, used the red ink that was supposed to be for the KISS Super Special. No one made a big deal out of it when it was found out, because after all, who is really going to be able to tell if there's blood in the ink used or not? Thus, none of the KISS Super Special has "REAL KISS BLOOD!!!" ... but there's an issue of Sports Illustrated that does!"

Now I have no idea if that's the truth, or not, but damned if it doesn't make for a great story.  Now if only Kiss would actually pay the original creative teams royalties each time they reprint the stories, but then that'd be asking too much, wouldn't it?

What we do have left is some incredible art and a story that was as wild as they come. No matter how bad the reprints look, and frankly they look horrid, the original comic book is well worth tracking down, which is what I'm going to start doing.

Oh, and don't bother looking for any of the original art from the book, Gene bought it all at the time.

1 comment:

Dale said...

I remember at the time the confusion a friend of mine had about the whole KISS BLOOD thing. "Why waste the blood to put into the ink? Can't they do something more constructive?" Well, as a matter of fact, at the time the band was talking to the American Red Cross about doing a big promotion related to a blood-drive (I once saw the paperwork on this), but the deal fell through. I can't help wondering if that sparked the idea for doing this thing with the comic ... although, if so, it still seems like a waste of blood.