For those who don't know, KISS is rock band famous for having black-and-white painted faces. I did not expect to see them in a Howard the Duck comic, but here we are. The comic was Howard the Duck #13 (I believe), released in 1977. Howard was in a mental hospital of some kind, I think, and the band emerged as some sort of demons out of another patient's (Winda was her name) body. They proceeded to hiss some warning at Howard and then disappear. I have many questions about this. Because I don't have the preceding issues, what was the context to this situation? Why was KISS there?

1 Answer 1


Howard the Duck was a Marvel comic written by Steve Gerber in the 1970's.  Steve Gerber was also one of the writers of the upcoming Marvel Super Special #1 starring the rock band KISS.

Howard had come to Earth accidentally (in the Man-thing comic also scripted by Steve Gerber) and found himself stuck here (Earth-616 in the Marvel multiverse) with Beverley Switzer as his only friend.  He has a series of madcap adventures which culminate in him losing his Presidential nomination bid due to a fake sex scandal, followed almost immediately by his being dumped by Bev. 

As a result of everything that has happened, alone and friendless in a hairless ape world, Howard has a nervous breakdown and ends up being incarcerated in a sanitarium.

The Gerber Curse website ( http://www.thegerbercurse.yolasite.com/Chapter_3.php ) has the following description within its Chapter 3 text:

The next few issues (#10-15) deal with Howard's nervous breakdown.  #11 introduces Winda Wester, who would be added to the cast of supporting characters.  (Winda speaks with a lisp, so her name might actually be Linda Lester.)  Winda was possessed, so Gerber brought in Daimon Hellstrom to exorcise her.  He also gave the rock band Kiss a cameo as Winda's demons.  Their appearance was more or less to promote the upcoming KISS #1, a large, full-colour, $1.50 comic magazine starring the band -- battling Doctor Doom -- written by Gerber.  Now a collector's item, the magazine was produced with the full cooperation of the band, particularly Gene Simmons.  (In fact, the red ink used in the printing was partially mixed with blood donated by Kiss.)  The initial press run of a quarter million sold out, and a second edition sold 80% of its press run.  In all, half a million copies sold, in percentages not seen for decades.

The website comicbook.com shows the first appearance of KISS at moment #6: http://comicbook.com/2015/03/10/great-moments-from-great-comics-1-steve-gerbers-howard-the-duck/

In issue #12: With the rock band Kiss materializing out of Winda's mind, panic erupts in the sanitarium. After subduing the security, the Catman tells Howard the word, which is "When you meet reality head-on -- Kiss it, smack in the face!" before disappearing back into Winda's mind.

Essentially, the appearance of KISS was simply a gratuitous advertising ploy for their upcoming magazine.

  • Apparently, this was the first step in the plan to make KISS bigger: "Creative manager Bill Aucoin felt, however, that the cycle of album releases and touring had taken Kiss as far as they could go, and that it was time to elevate the group's image to the next level. He formulated a plan to cast Kiss as superheroes, a process that began with the 1977 release of a Kiss comic book." -- Wikipedia Apparently it started with Howard the Duck. Mar 12, 2021 at 23:05

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