Friday, August 30, 2013

Marvel's Most UNUSUAL 1960's Annual

As summer winds down thoughts drift to those lazy days of childhood in the mid-late 1960's, when school was a distant memory, and the anticipation of picking up the latest Annuals in corner candy stores and luncheonettes was a thrill. Marvel produced its share of truly SPECIAL annuals which not only featured exciting, long stories, but many special features and pin-up pages. Folks like Lee, Kirby, Ditko, Colan, Ayers, Lieber, Romita, Thomas, Buscema, Heck and others did there best to give its fans a roller coaster ride, all at the cost of twenty five cents.

Along with the super-hero Annuals, there were the OTHER Marvel Annuals, the ones most boys didn't buy, although perhaps a few looked at their sisters comics. Millie the Model was a perennial, one of the better sellers from its track record, running 12 issues (from  1962-1975, skipping a few years when Marvel produced no specials). There was also a Mad about Millie and Chili  Special, both featuring reprinted material in 1971.

Just as Marvel had special events in their superhero Annuals, the same occurred in the girl line. Here "the most gorgeous girl in all the world!" travels around the world in a full-length extravaganza. Millie, is of course a QUEEN size Annual, with More Glamour than thrills! Stan Goldberg art, possibly inks and colors, Sam Rosen letters, from Millie the Model Annul # 5, 1965. The interior story is by Stan Lee and Al Hartley, with art by Stan G (and likely some uncredited inking by Sol Brodsky)   

Millie's Annual also included features that appeared in the monthly title, such as clothing designs and hair styles sent in by fans, pages YOU can color, and a special featured that Stan Lee copied from his other Annuals, the villain pin-ups. Here he uses those pages to reference past guest stars in Millie's comics, sans commentary but with a pointer showing the original cover.      

Patsy and Hedy was granted one Annual in the Summer of 1963, consisting of reprinted material.

Patsy and Hedy Annual # 1 and only, art by Al Hartley, lettering by Sam Rosen, coloring likely by Stan Goldberg. 

The most unusual Annual, however, appeared in the summer of 1965 

 Patsy Walker's Fashion Parade # 1, Summer 1965, Al Hartley pencils, Frank Giacoia inks?, Sam Rosen letters.

What's so unusual about this annual? There are no stories featuring Patsy, Hedy or any of her cast of characters. The entire issue consists solely of dress designs, hair styles, riddles and activity pages, all no more than one page.

 The splash page of Patsy's Fashion Parade introduces the readers to the book, which appears to be a new page by Stan Lee and Al Hartley (Sam Rosen letters, for those of you who just had to know!)

Sue Storm never looked like THIS! Because these comics were intended for girls, it was ok to show them in lingerie. If only us boys knew, sales would have escalated!

Here Stan gives a nod to "Adorable Al Hartley" whose art appears throughout the issue. Aside from the splash page, the rest of the issue appears to be material reprinted from early issues of Patsy Walker and/or Patsy and Hedy, with some new copy added.

An attractive, humorous page by Stan Lee and Al Hartley, one of the few to feature dialogue or scenery.

A Patsy coloring page. Stan Lee occasionally included pages for kids to color in his western titles. It's too bad we didn't get similar pages in the monster books. I would have loved to color Spragg, the Living Hill!

I'll close out this post with an ad for the girl line that appeared in the Annual. It's always interesting to discover unusual titles, and it got me to wondering what a Marvel Tales Annual would have looked like in the same format in 1965, consisting only of special features, pin-ups and diagrams of their various heroes, villains and supporting characters, with art by Kirby, Ditko, Wood, Colan, Heck, Ayers, Roth and Powell. I suspect it would have been, as they used to say, a collectors item.

All images seen here are from the collection of, and scanned with the permission of, that darling of Timely-Atlas, Michael J. Vassallo!      


Artizania said...

Love it! :-D

Nick Caputo said...

Thanks, Artizania!

Tim Roll-Pickering said...

I think you've just identified the best way to market a collected edition for Patsy. It would probably sell better than put out as "Essential Hellcat before she was Hellcat".

Nick Caputo said...

Hi Tim,

You mean the most unusual heading or using cover images of Patsy in lingerie? :)

Don Hudson said...

I really love how the contributing fans got credit. If I thought that I could send in a suggestion to Iron Man and get on the credits page I would have!

Kid said...

Women in underwear. What's not to like?

Dr. Mindbender said...

Makes me wonder why Sue Storm or The Wasp were never spun off into their own more "girl friendly" books