Wednesday 24 July 2013

Marvel Annual 1972

There's a whole bunch of annuals/comics that I've treasured ever since I read them, either one's I've kept since they first came out:

Or that I've still to track down for my collection:

And occasionally, VERY occasionally, I come across something that i'd loved dearly, but had totally forgotten about.
And that's the case with this here annual:

I was at a friends second-hand bookshop in Margate, having a natter while leafing through a bunch of british annuals, when I came across the cover above.
Time stopped.
Suddenly I was 10 years-old again, staring and staring at the Hulk lifting up that cannon against a vivid red background.
"I know this" I sort of stammered.
"Yeah, that's a great one" says my friend.
I turn the first page and, like Mr Ben in, er, Mr Ben i'm transported back in time, to be discovering the book for the first time, again.
SO many stand=out images that used to entrall and fascinate me, its untrue.
On page 3, we have this classic view of the Hulk that I remember well:

But its the depiction in the first story that I recall being fascinated and a bit horrified by. At this point, the classic Universal horror films were becoming known to me, but don't know if I made the Karloff connection by then:

That shot, and this, I still remember as being subject of much scrutiny:

And this shot of the Toad Mens underground escape I know I focussed on a great deal:

Reading again the Conan strip, the masked bad guy sent me some echoes from the past:

And Conan himself, with his natty spiked helmet and medallion, I thought cooler than cool:

On to Spider-Man now and, like all the characters here, i'm guessing was my first exposure to Marvel characters, being a tad before the Mighty World Of Marvel first issue.
The strange, red only colour palette I didn't find too jarring as I was used to that in British annuals alreay, and The Tinkerer's look was straight out of anything in Lion, Thunder, etc:

Spider-man I was fascinated by. I was already used to Batman, Superman the JLA and the Flash through the American imports in my local newsagents, but the way this guy was handled was VERY different.
The split-face affair was a very new device to me:

As i'd never seen anything like it before and I loved it, especially when we got a full-length shot:

And his nifty under the arm webbing I found especially intriguing:

Out of the other tales, the Fantastic Four one I remember responding to, not for our heroes or anything they did, but the final sad fate of the bad guy:

Lastly, an image of a character I knew nothing about at this point, but the image had me wanting to know more:

To sum up, a true classic of an annual, one i'm totally mystified as to why I forgot all about it. Won't make that mistake again.