I've shown a couple of these things before (http://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2008/11/fleetway-annuals-for-1973.html) but, if you missed those posts, this is a leaflet that was issued to newsagents and booksellers for customers to pick up at the counter. The idea being to let people know the range of annuals on offer, and for them to place an order with the shop.
And what a range it was! Back then, publishers aimed to appeal to every age group. The commonsense idea being that as readers grew older the publisher could still profit from them. Just look at the titles available 40 years ago; annuals for everyone from toddler to adult. As you can see, IPC alone published no less than 72 different annuals that year, - and then there'd also be many other titles from DC Thomson and others. An incredible amount of books.
Such excellent covers too. I don't think there's a bad design amongst them. (Although I remember thinking that the Eagle Annual's photo cover was a bit bland.) Some great annuals here, including one-off collections of Dan Dare and Trigan Empire strips, the second of the merged Wham and Pow annuals (with a smashing Joe Colquhoun cover), the second (and final) of IPC's Marvel annuals (with a Geoff Campion Spider-Man cover) and the first Shiver and Shake Annual. Curiously, there was even a Tiger Tim Annual in 1974. IPC's oldest character in that selection.
Sadly, almost all of the titles shown here are no more. I think a Shoot Annual is still published, and the magazine itself is still in business along with NME and Angler's Mail, but everything else is long gone. Many of the 1974 comic annuals had survived beyond their weekly versions anyway, so they were living on borrowed time even back then, but it's a shame the demand for annuals isn't the same today. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy this peek into the past of 40 years ago.
As a bonus, here's a full size scan of Joe Colquhoun's brilliant cover of the western character Jeff Arnold for the Wham! and Pow! Annual 1974. Unfortunately the entire content was reprint from various Odhams titles (including Eagle), but at least the reprints were good - Mike Higgs' The Cloak for one. This would be the swansong for the book, but what a great cover to go out on!