Comic-book creator Mark Gruenwald's dying wish was to be thrown into the pages of his work. Literally.

After his death, the Marvel Comics writer and editor's body was cremated and the ashes were combined with ink. The ink, mixed by a Canton company, was used to print the 12-part comic series "Squadron Supreme" as a single volume.

The 100-page book, which reveals in the foreword the mixture of remains and ink, flies into bookstores today.

"He remained true to his passion for comics, as he has truly become one with the story and blended himself in the very fiber of the book in his ultimate desire for uniqueness and a brush with immortality of sorts," his widow, Catherine Gruenwald, writes in the foreword.

The original 12 issues, written between 1985 and 1986, were combined as a tribute to Gruenwald by Marvel Comics, where he was senior executive editor.

"He believed in heroes and in the possibility of what people could do if they really applied themselves. He was a real good guy," said Marvel editor-in-chief Bob Harris.

The book was printed at Danner Press Corp., where a majority of Marvel Comics' paperback books are printed, Harris said.

Danner officials would not comment on its assignment or the ink-mixing process.

Gruenwald, 43, was an eccentric comic-book genius who created a utopian society in the pages of "Squadron Supreme," his masterpiece about superheroes who battled moral issues to create a perfect world, thus pitting individual rights against the good of society.

"Mark always wanted to do stuff nobody did in comics. He had one of those interesting and eccentric personalities," his widow said during a telephone interview from her home in New York.

Gruenwald died suddenly Aug. 12, 1996, after a heart attack, she said.

He never reached the pinnacle of fame, as did some other comic-book writers, his colleagues said. But he was second in command at Marvel Comics and the mastermind behind titles such as "Captain America" and "Quasar." He also once self-published an epic essay, "The Treatise on Reality in Comic Literature," which explained his belief that comics mirrored the great archetypes of mythology.

"A lot of people would know his name, but his is not one of the famous names out there. He labored in the shadows," said Tom Mattevi, owner of Comics, Cards and Collectables in Canton.

"This is something that was very much a part of him," Mattevi said of Gruenwald's comics. "And now he'll be a part of eternity."

The special edition could become a collector's item. Mixing human remains or fluids with ink is something that has been done only once before, Mattevi said.

Marvel published a 1978 comic book by the rock-and-roll band Kiss with ink mixed with a vial of blood from each of the band members. The comic book originally sold for $2.50, but today is worth about $40.

"So to be able to say it {Gruenwald's Squadron'} will become a collector's item, because of the uniqueness of it, yes, but will it be a good investment, that is something we won't know for certain," Mattevi said.

The "Squadron Supreme" special edition will sell for $24.99.

Before his death, Gruenwald had been assigned to write a new series of "Squadron Supreme" comic books, but he died before work could begin, his widow said. Gruenwald's ashes also were mixed with the ink used to print a poster displaying the characters of the Marvel universe. The remaining ashes will be thrown outside the window of his home office just as he asked, Catherine Gruenwald said.