The simplest rule of marketing suggests that there always has to be a hook. If you're looking to get people to shell out their money, you need to make sure they're getting something special in return. Unfortunately, that leads to cynical cash grabs designed to part patrons with their hard-earned at the expense of integrity and occasionally logic.
With comic books, there have been some stunning strategies employed to double down on sales, with some working better than others. That's the reason behind endless events, crossovers and variants, which have their value, but it's also why fans have had to endure some ridiculous sales gimmicks over the years. While a few have worked, many have incited no more than head-scratching.
The comic book market has traditionally remained on the outskirts of mainstream pop culture, while struggling with occasionally wildly fluctuating sales and publishers have tried everything conceivable to get new readership. Without being able to do the same type of marketing campaign that movies or TV allow, comic books have had to forge their own path.
And that path has - on several occasions - veered badly into insane territory.
8. Blood In The Comic
In 1977, KISS had a deal with Marvel to appear in their upcoming comic, Marvel Comics Super Special. While just having the enormously popular KISS in the comic would have been enough to drive sales, the marketing behind this has become infamous.
In an effort to help promote the first issue, the idea of adding the blood from each member of KISS and mixing in with red ink was hatched. Thus, the pages of Marvel Comics Super Special #1 contain trace amounts of blood from the band KISS.
As unbelievable as it seems, this is supposedly true. Not only was a photoshoot arranged to show the members of KISS each pouring a vial of their blood into the ink, but a notary public was on site to confirm the validity.
An image of the notarized contract was released as well to help prove the authenticity. It's pretty safe to say that this type of stunt will never happen again.