Monday, 12 September 2011


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

For no other reason than that it's a brilliant piece of artwork, here's the cover to MARVEL ANNUAL 1973.  It was the first Annual tied in to the weekly MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL, and was out in the shops around late October or sometime in November of 1972.  As most Annuals came out about August or September, it's likely it was a last-minute addition to the yearly line-up.  The absence of a date seems to suggest there may've been some doubt as to whether it would be ready in time.

The illustration is a painted version of a panel in 'TERROR Of The TOAD MEN!', reprinted inside and originally from The INCREDIBLE HULK #2.  I won't spoil your fun looking it up by telling you what page it's on - just go to it, tiger!  (As Stan or Mary Jane would say.)

I recall being fascinated by the cover (something about that red) and smuggling it in to school in my schoolbag (perhaps having made a detour to buy it from W. & R. HOLMES on the way, can't quite remember).  That afternoon, I sat in Dougie Smith's maths class, stealing surreptitious glances at the prized possession in my leather satchel while pretending to be looking for a pencil sharpener or eraser.  (Of course, I'd never have called it a satchel back then, so look how pretentious I've become.)

Yup, all in all, a nice little Annual.


Steve Does Comics said...

It's a great cover and I've always wondered who painted it.

I believe I've expressed my concerns in the past though about the soldiers' dainty footwear. What kind of army sends its men into combat wearing what're little more than carpet slippers?

Kid said...

I suspect that's perhaps down to the lack of detail in Kirby's original small pic reprinted in the book. Still a great cover 'though. I seem to remember ('though I could be wrong) once reading the artist's name somewhere, but - if so - I've long forgotten it.

Dez Skinn might know.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't this a 100% Fleetway Annual (and a second Marvel annual from them) with Marvel reprints that was put together to see out IPC's license to publish Marvel strips? McScotty

Kid said...

It was published by Fleetay on behalf of Magazine Management (Marvel's parent company at the time), and it was the first Marvel Annual tied into the weekly MWOM.

The stats provided must have been new ones, because I saw some of the ones used by Odhams Press in the '60s, in the art vaults of IPC/Fleetway in the mid-'80s.

They were good quality PMTs (photo mechanical transfers) which had been cut up and resized on larger-sized art boards. As the pages in the Annual were in their original format, they couldn't have come from Fleetway's files.

However, I'm unsure whether Marvel provided Fleetway with the 'ready to go' product, or simply supplied them with the raw material and had someone at Fleetway put it together under Marvel's direction.

It could've been Pippa M. Melling, who was Marvel UK's first 'editor', who made the editorial changes first, before passing it all to Fleetway for printing.

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