Ah, the Annual. When I first started reading comics in the late 1970's, I loved 'em. And why not? For a few extra coins, you got a much bigger comic. And back then, the story mostly stood (or fell as the case may be) on its own. Almost always a done-in-one, with a notable exception being Amazing Spider-Man Annual #13 in 1979, which was continued into the first ever Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man Annual.

I now know that Annuals have had quite the history at Marvel and DC. In the late 50's and early 60's, DC collected past stories to make one giant sized reprint; Marvel gave readers an original lead story with one or more reprints. DC let Annuals fall by the wayside and put reprints into 100 page Super-Spectaculars and the like. Starting (I think) in the early 1970's, Marvel went reprint only with their Annuals, but by 1976 reversed course. Annuals were back, super-sized with original stories and no reprints. DC followed suit in the early 1980's - for instance, the very first Justice League of America Annual was released in the early 1980's, despite the title being around for two decades. Things continued like this until the late 1980's, when crossover craziness ensued, with a single storyline taking place over the whole line, or one storyline between a number of annuals, or some variation on that. My own natural, er, let us say "thriftiness" soured me on that, but I'm guessing at least for the first few years, these mega-sized stories were a hit, as they kept doing them. But eventually both companies stopped around 2000; and then after about five years, Annuals made yet another comeback. I'm about 85% sure that the current revival can be credited to Marvel's Ultimate line, which had Annuals for each title and they were a smashing success, so much so, that titles like Black Panther, Iron Fist, and Nova had their first ever Annuals within the last few years.

Anyhoo, with all the various Annuals over the decades, I was wondering which ones were favorites of the Legion. So share, my friends, share!

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Ron M. said:

Anybody have any ideas or guesses about why they might have started calling their annuals "King-Size Specials" instead of Annuals?

Here's a total guess: It gave them leeway to put out more than one of these oversized comics per year? Likewise all the misnamed "Anniversary" issues for the 25th or 50th issue of a title.

The size and specialness were the selling-points.

Always wondered why John Buscema made the Hulk so ape-like. Did he think of Banner as regressing to a more primitive state? The fight seems horribly one-sided.

This is one of the first annuals I remember. Blew my mind!

Doc Beechler (mod-MD) said:

As a kid...

Ron M. said:

Always wondered why John Buscema made the Hulk so ape-like. Did he think of Banner as regressing to a more primitive state? The fight seems horribly one-sided.

Yeah ... two teams of five Avengers, but one side has Thor, Iron Man AND The Hulk -- and one doesn't?

The other side's strongman is Giant-Man, but he's on the team with Thor, Iron Man AND The Hulk, too? Might as well go home; this fight is over before it started. 

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