Friday, June 26, 2015

The Grooviest Covers of All Time: Marvel-ous Summer Annuals

Dig it, Groove-ophiles! Ol' Groove's in a summer-time mood, and what better way to celebrate the summer than to look back at some of the grooviest covers to ever decorate a superb-summer annual! Today we dig the most Marvel-ous of summer annuals. To help me narrow things down, I chose covers from all-new annuals, not the reprints (I'll have to find another excuse to run that Conan Annual #1 cover by BWS. Ah, well...) In no particular order, here's some'a the best of the best by Kirby, Kane, Buscema, Cockrum, Starlin, Simonson, Byrne, Miller, and more!
















11 comments:

  1. Oh, yeah! I had/have several of these, most notably X-men Annual #3, otherwise known as the best annual ever. Of course, there's also the now legendary Avengers Annual #7, which is the penultimate chapter in the original Warlock saga. Liked that Star Wars Annual as well - great cover by Simonson, and the story is really one of the better Star Wars comics. And Spider-man Annual #10 is another sentimental favorite - it's the first annual I ever had.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That Spidey annual is a doozy, Edo! Not as important as the Avengers annual or as epic as the X-Men one, but I really dug the new Fly and that Gil Kane artwork on Spidey!

      Delete
  2. Groove - I have a point of inquiry! Every issue above, but FF#5, is an "Annual." FF #5 is a "Special." This made me think that you are referring to King Size "Special" Conan #1 ($.35, June 1973) as the cover you want to somehow find a reason to print? Hands down that Conan is the best of all Conan covers. So, I have a solution. Do an "Awesome $.35 'Specials' " day! E.g., there is also a $.35 "Giant Size Super Stars: Special" that came out in 1974, that I also cherish (Thing boxing Hulk). It is odd b/c "Giant Size Super Stars" is a "$.35 Special," not an Annual, and also prices switched to $.50 for Annuals soon thereafter. (Maybe it was $.35 b/c it had fewer pages than the $.50 Annuals being released and that's what made it "Special?" Anyhow, I am bummed you haven't celebrated $.35 Specials yet (or have you?).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. During the Silver Age, Marvel waffled back and forth on "annuals" and "specials"; guess they wanted to put out more than one some years? Yeah, the Conan Special is the BWS cover to which I refer. It's an all-reprint mag. I'll run covers from the reprint mags another time. The Giant-Size mags are a whole 'nother animal. Originally they were to be monthlies with rotating stars (giving each STAR a quarterly special); then t'was decided that tons of Marvel characters would get their own quarterly Giant-Size mags, but by the Summer of 75, the Giant-Size mags were relegated to annual reprints--then the all-new Annuals started back up into the Spring/Summer of 76. Mebbe Ol' Groove should do a post on this particular topic?

      Delete
  3. Groove - Based on the examples above, are you saying there were not $.35 annuals with original material? (I don't know one way or the other.) This is most perplexing! Help me out and don't let me drift aimlessly throughout the day! Excelsior!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These covers came from annuals (and specials) with all new material. I'll run a post on covers from the reprint issues at a later date, Charley! Hope that helps!

      Delete
  4. I remember that X-men annual as having such intensely detailed art by Perez that inker Terry Austin snuck in a background newspaper headline that said something like "comic book inker goes blind"

    ReplyDelete
  5. I still have that Hulk annual #7! Hulk, Angel and Iceman versus the Master Mold (with the mind of Steven Lang no less), what more can you ask for baby! Great stuff from Roger Stern and John Byrne.

    - Mike from Trinidad & Tobago.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oboy, that Captain America King Sized annual 3!! One of Kirby's greatest 70's comics. I still have it today and re-read it every so often. Really, a scary issue. The build up to the big scares is pretty effective. I recall how shocking it was when the farmer is killed near the end. A genuinely sad note for Kirby. In fact, the story was somewhat atypical for him--more a horror story than an adventure. During this period Jack felt like he was writing AROUND the characters rather than for them. You really didn't even need Cap in this story. That said, I wasn't thinking that when I first read it back then. I just loved it. Exciting genre comics at their best. His drawing was at the top level of imagination in that era. My favourite period for the King.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Somehow, Groove, you managed to peek into the longboxes of young Doug -- because I had almost all of those! Back in the days before we as young consumers ever saw an upcoming shipping list, it was a total surprise to find not only your monthly installment but the title's annual on the same spinner rack. Of course, unless you were packing some serious disposable income (like, $4 I'm talking), choices were going to have to be made.

    Thanks for making me feel like a giddy 11-year old again!

    Doug

    ReplyDelete
  8. Kirby, Starlin, Simonson......great selection of covers. Loved the short lived Marvel Burroughs books - they were a bit dry in some ways, but to see those artists working on material they were really suited to, with some fantastic Filipino inkers was great.
    A nicely understated Buscema Tarzan, and that John Carter cover is like a Platonic ideal of a Gil Kane image. Or something.
    Nice one Mr Groove.

    -sean

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

All other commentary and insanity copyright GroovyAge, Ltd.

As for the rest of ya, the purpose of this blog is to (re)introduce you to the great comics of the 1970s. If you like what you see, do what I do--go to a comics shop, bookstore, e-Bay or whatever and BUY YOUR OWN!