Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Who's the Best... Marvel Summer Annual?

Doug: Since we're not doing Giant-Size July this year (although if you come back Friday, you'll find that's not completely true), we should still discuss those favorite summer big books. Below you'll find three books that have been nominated as readers' favorites over the years on the BAB.


J.A. Morris said...

A tie:
The Thanos/Warlock/Mar-Vell story that ran in Avengers Annual # 7 and Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2. Great action, drama, fight scenes,deaths of a villain and a hero, Spider-Man acknowledging his limited usefulness in a "cosmic" conflict. And of course, gorgeous art from Jim Starlin and Joe Rubenstein.

Runners-up:John Byrne's Skrull-milk story. Amazing Spider-Man Annual #15, featuring the Punisher and Doc Ock.

And I'll select one from before my lifetime, since it's nominated here. The Sinister Six story is still great, especially in the tabloid-sized version that came out in the 70s. However, I've always had one major problem with that story. Doc Ock's plan to attack Spidey one at a time to weaken him is "idiot plot" material. But all those splash-pages from Ditko still make it a great read and a good introduction to all those villains (it was one of the first "classic" stories I ever read).

Gary said...

1)FF Ann.17 (Skrull milk)
2)Avengers Ann.7 & Marvel Two-in-One Ann,2 (Thanos)
3)Marvel Two-in-One Ann.7 (Champion)

dbutler16 said...

J.A. Morris' mentions are great choices. I also liked the West Coast Avengers Annual #1/Avengers Annual #16 two-parter featuring the Grandmaster and Death herself, plus Hawkeye once again showing his resourcefulness.
I'm also partial to Avengers Annual #8 (the first Avengers Annual I owned plus some great Gorge Perez art) and Avengers Annual #10 (follow-up to the disastrous Avengers #200 with good Clarement writing & Michael Golden art).

I also enjoyed X-Men Annual #3, pictured above, as well as X-Men Annual #4 (with Doc Strange), X-Men Annual#5 (with the Fantastic Four & the Badoon, just a good ol' fun story, as Annuals generally should be), and X-Men Annual #9 (woth Loki and the NEw mutants).

Fantastuc Four Annual #6, with just about every superhero in the Marvel univers making an appearance as Reed and Sue try to get married, was a fun one. I also liked the FF Annual #19/Avengers Annual #14 crossover, where they battle the Skrulls, and the bomb goes off that traps the Skrulls in their current form.

Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #1, with the "Who Shot Laurel Kent?" story is a classic, as far as I'm concerned.

Marvel Two-in-One Annual #7, where the Champion boxes against most of the Marvel strong men, is another all time classic.

Whew, I think I'd better stop now.

Edo Bosnar said...

I've mentioned it before several times here in the comments in past years, but it bears repeating:
X-men Annual #3 - by a long-shot, the best single annual ever. A great action-packed story with beautiful art by Perez and Austin.

Of the others mentioned here, I definitely agree about Avengers Annual #7/MTIO Annual #2, Avengers Annual #10, Fantastic Four Annual #17, and X-men Annuals #s 4 and 5.

A few others I've always enjoyed:

Spider-man Annuals #10 (vs. the Fly/story by Wein & Mantlo, art by Gil Kane - the first annual I ever owned), #13 (vs. Doc Ock with a ghost story sub-plot/story by Marv Wolfman, art by Byrne & Austin) and #14 (vs. Dr. Doom, guest-starring Dr. Strange/story by O'Neill, art by Miller & Palmer);

Avengers Annual #9 (vs. Arsenal/ story by Mantlo, art by Don Newton);

Batman Annual #8 (vs. Crimson Sun, aka R'as al Ghul/story by Mike Barr, stunning art by Trevor von Eeden).

A really good post-Bronze annual I'd nominate is Detective Annual #4. It's part of a big crossover event (which I normally hate) called "Armageddon 2001," but the story, about a possible near-future for Batman, can be read and enjoyed on its own - it's written by Louise Simonson, with absolutely gorgeous art by Tom Grindberg.

William said...

I really miss the Marvel Annuals. It's just another thing they've done away with that made comics fun. (Because God forbid comics should be any damn fun). But I digress.

Some of my very favorites have already been covered, such as: Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1, and Avengers Annual #7 / Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2.

I'd like to add the following:

Fantastic Four Annual #2, which featured the origin of Doctor Doom, and FF Annual #4, which featured the return of the original Human Torch.

Incredible Hulk Annual #7, with the unlikely team-up of Hulk, Angel and Iceman battling a rogue Sentinel, with writing by Roger Stern and art by John Byrne. It don't get much better.

Captain America Annual #8, Cap vs. Wolverine, nuff said.

Avengers Annual #10, The Avengers vs. The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, with art by Michael Golden.

And one of my personal favorites. Amazing Spider-Man Annual #18, which features a great battle between Spidey and The Scorpion, by Defalco an Frenz (my favorite Spider-Man creative team).

Murray said...

My esteemed peers have already nailed some excellent choices. (And, of course, some of the picks are making me wince in disbelief)

Let's see what I can add to the mix:

Avengers Annual #2. "Old Avengers vs New Avengers" at the machinations of the Scarlet Centurion. I was a young neophyte Marvel fan when I found this back issue in the bins. This was a crash course in the Marvel Universe. These guys were the Avengers Before the Ones I'm Reading and these guys were the Original Avengers and all these mysterious heroes being attacked by the Avengers ("X-Men"?) and then a whirling depiction of the villains. I studied it for hours.

Avengers Annual #8. Fighting the Spectrum jewel. I love Thor's moments in here. Showing Iron Man is not up to the Thunder God's level. Offering an intriguing speculation that the Dr. Blake aspect of Thor had a strategic purpose more than a plot device nuisance.

Thor Annual #2. The Great Games. Asgard hosts aliens from here, there and everywhere in their own version of the Olympics. Wonderful depiction of the Warriors Three. I can't believe no writer has ever used the Yearly Tribute to the Heroes. Where Odin decreed that each year, to commemorate their great courage and victory, every Asgardian's armour would shine like gold for a day.

William (and any others): there are still Marvel Annuals. Two years ago, I eagerly collected the Fantastic Four, Daredevil and Wolverine Annuals. They're all by Alan Davis and I'm a rabid keen fan of his.

Spider-Man Annual #37 was four years ago and goes on my favourites list. A fresh imagining of young Spider-Man meeting the relatively newly thawed Captain America for the first time. Good stuff.

david_b said...

Among my favorites I've collected waaaaay after the fact, Avengers Annual #7 / Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2 still resonates.

For what I collected back in the day, I'd go for Avengers Giant Size 1 (with Nuklo.., a goofy, wonky tale but still fun..), and...

My personal memory, the pinnacle of hard, HARD decisions (when you could only afford ONE...) the summer of '73 with both Spiderman King Size ish 9 and FF King Size ish 10.

Both reprints of memorable stories, but oh those covers..!!

To a brand new baby Marvel Zuvembie..?

They were heaven.

Thomas Paine was wrong...:

"THOSE were the times that tried men's souls."

Dr. Oyola said...

They still make annuals. I'm not saying they're good, but they still do them - just not every year. ;)

The annual I look back on most fondly is Marvel Team-Up Annual #5.

It is connected to the whole MTIO Project Pegasus arc - and features Thing, Quasar, Scarlet Witch and Dr. Strange (along with Spidey of course) and one of my favorite Marvel relics, the Serpent Crown.

Good stuff (if I remember correctly).

Anonymous said...

Fantastic Four Annual #6, first appearance of the Negative Zone and Annihilus with the team's mission to save the yet unborn Franklin Richards.

I will agree with others regarding:

Uncanny X-Men Annual #3 and #5
Incredible Hulk Annual #7

Anonymous said...

I agree about the Sinister Six Annual and Avengers Annual #7/MTIO Annual #2. I also loved Amazing Annual #18, when JJJ maries Marla and Scorpion shows up (scripted by Stan Lee himself).

And I'm probably in the minority, but I actually liked the Atlantis Attacks x-over from 1989 (although I DIDN'T care for the previous year's Evolutionary War x-over).

Mike W.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, Mike W, I know that most of those were post Bronze, but when Marvel would run a story through the Annuals and you had to buy all four parts! Atlantis Attacks, Armored Wars, The Days of Future Present. The money grab is still fresh in my mind.

To make a decision on ones I actually held in my hands and had to grapple over would be X-Men Annual 3 (V Akron) and Avengers 10. I had Avengers 7 but took years to get MTIO 2.

The Prowler (grapples with an extra piece of cake every damn day).

Rip Jagger said...

Love annuals and miss the excitement they would bring when those extra stories showed up. Some titles didn't get them every year and it was always interesting to see which might. With the advent of mini-series and such, the thrill of the annual diminished.

My favorite annual is one of the first comics I ever got my mitts on, King-Size Avengers #1 featuring all the Assemblers (to that point -- still a very workable number) and some nasty villainy from the Mandarin and his minions the Swordsman, Power Man, and Living Laser.

Don Heck was at the top of his game on this one, though sadly this assignment is what lost his regular gig on the Avengers, because while he worked on the annual John Buscema stepped in to fill in on the regular book and stayed on for many moons to come.
(Shades of Wally Pipp!)

Heck never really got back to that level despite many more years of great work.

Rip Off

Humanbelly said...

Man, there are just so many likely candidates- but I'm still going to stick with the one I've cited a couple of times in the past: That unparalleled Spidey Annual #1, yep. It captures everything that was great about early Marvel, and still holds up delightfully even in these jaded, darker times.


Anonymous said...

Just echoing the choices up here - Spidey Annual #1, MTIO Annual #2, Hulk Annual #7, Thor #5. Man those were the days!

- Mike 'going for annual prostate exam' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Graham said...

I can't remember all the numbers, but I do remember Thor #5 and Avengers #10 as being favorites of mine. I also liked a couple of FF annuals.....the previously mentioned Skrull milk story (17) and the multi-partner with the FF and the Invaders (10, maybe) and the MTIO with the Thing and Liberty Legion. There's was also a memorable one with Iron Man and the Black Panther (#5, I think), and a Daredevil annual with BP and Namor from the mid/late 70's.

I also enjoyed some of the 60's annuals that were reprinted during the mid 70's in those "Giant Size" editions, like the Avengers #1 mentioned and the Daredevil one, too. I was able to catch up with the Marvel superheroes thanks to these stories.

Humanbelly said...

MikemikemikemikeMIKEmikemike-- lord knows that I, of all people, should be the LAST person to be holdin' up the "TMI!" placard. . . but, uhhhhhh. . .

(Okay, but still, kudos for being responsible as you work your way into middle age.)



Redartz said...

Top choice: Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1; the standard by which to judge all annuals!
Also echoing the love for Avengers Annual 7/ MTIO Annual 2 : the best of the Bronze Age.
One more quick mention: X-Men Annual 7, a very enjoyable romp with the Impossible Man. The opening sequence when Impy appears as Galactus is a hoot...

Humanbelly said...

Graham did voice a sort of side-subject that crossed my mind with this, because two books that came to mind immediately for me actually weren't annuals, and were completely reprint material. Thor King Size Special Edition #2 (I think), which reprinted a terrific Absorbing Man arc; and Giant-Size X-Men #2 (shortly after the landmark #1), which smartly reprinted the Thomas/Adams Sentinels arc. I would really take those over the majority of straightforward annuals from about the mid-80's on.


William said...

My bad everyone. Marvel had stopped releasing annuals for a few years while I was still reading regularly. I didn't realize they had started up again since I left.

Anonymous said...

Dr Strange 1 - P. Craig Russell hitting his stride as an artist was a real eye-opener at the time, and a major reason I kept reading comics at an age when most kids lose interest.
Like everyone else, I thought Starlin's Avengers/MTIO twofer was great too.

I'm tempted to cheat a bit, and also point to the Marvel UK Captain America annual that collected the Steranko trilogy. Those old stories were new to me and still really impressive back in 1980.


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