Unbeknownst to your writer until recently, Stephen King wrote a short segment in Marvel’s Heroes for Hope Starring the X-Men back in 1985. The comic book is a round robin taken over every few pages by writers including Stan Lee, Alan Moore, Harlan Ellison, Chris Claremont, Mike Grell, as well as artists, including John Byrne, Berni Wrightson, Richard Corben, Frank Miller, John Romita Jr. John Buscema, and Howard Chaykin, all big names now if not then.

The story opens with the X-Men challenged by events around the mansion–the story works like a smooth seamless anthology. They exit the front door to find Kitty Pryde dragging a mailman out of what is now a desert. Next, Colossus faces a challenge about his humanity. And then we have King’s part, which takes place on pages ten through twelve, but, wait there’s more, Berni Wrightson does the art for it. What a beautiful horror lover’s combination.

On page ten Kitty enters a room alone. She had just finished discussing the first two events with others and as the conversation changes to food the story segues to the King and Wrightson story. That’s when the comic takes on an EC tone as Kitty faces a literal Death-like figure who touches her causing her to grow more emaciated and hungrier. He then teases her with a plate of delicious food, which, when she touches it, turns into a “sickening slush of putridity”, King’s words.

The reigning king of horror’s narration and dialogue is not without levity, but luckily it does include more parts horror than humor. Death makes a joke of Kitty Pryde’s last name and recites the classic meal prayer, “Good God, good meat” as he teases her.

Wrightson starts the panels off in traditional format which lengthen at some parts vertically and other parts horizontally, and all the while grow literally darker, at one point creating a zoom as the death-like character reveals itself to be Famine, or as King calls him “Misery’s Maitre D’, the chef of starvation,” and several more euphemistic nicknames.

Ever wonder what else is out there that Stephen King has written that is this obscure or that maybe we don’t even know about yet. Stephen King’s a smart man, and your writer always thought that the discovery of his Richard Bachman pseudonym was discovered a bit too easily. It would be no surprise if after his death that it’s revealed he had been writing under one or more other pen names all along, and maybe the Bachman revelation was just sleight of hand. And if not, at least we have great little works like Marvel’s Heroes for Hope Starring the X-Men.

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