Which Comic Book Artist’s Ashes Were Mixed Into Ink Used To Print Comics?

A composite image of Mark Gruenwald and the cover of Squadron Supreme

Answer: Mark Gruenwald

Mark Gruenwald was an accomplished comic book artist, writer, and editor whose career—unfortunately, cut short by a congenital heart defect—included everything from penciling comics to writing the plot lines of Captain America.

He started his career in comics in the 1970s by publishing his own fanzine, Omniverse—a magazine focused on the idea of continuity in comic storylines. Attention to detail and a focus on continuity in storylines would prove to be one of his trademarks in the industry.

In 1978, he was hired on as an assistant editor at Marvel and remained with Marvel comics for the rest of his life, ultimately working his way up to senior editor. Over the next 18 years, he would oversee titles such as The Avengers, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Spider-Woman, and more. He also did pencil work for Hawkeye and The Incredible Hulk. The pinnacle of Gruenwald’s work is widely considered to be his mid-1980s mini-series Squadron Supreme, which focused on the story of an alternate universe where Earth was ruled by well-meaning superheroes.

Upon his death in 1996, his wish to be cremated and have his ashes mixed in with the ink used to print comics was honored. In the summer of 1997, a limited print run of Squadron Supreme, in graphic novel format, was printed in a Canton, Ohio printing facility using ink that Gruenwald’s ashes had been blended with. Every copy of the 1997 edition includes, quite literally, the blood, sweat, and tears of the author.

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