Pow! was launched as a weekly comic in January 1967 and production must have started on an annual very early as the Pow! Annual 1968 was published in September '67. The cover above is by Graham Allen. Contents included various funnies from Pow! plus a complete one-off adventure strip and reprints from Amazing Spider-Man No.1 and the first Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD story from Strange Tales. As those Marvel strips had already been reprinted in the weekly a few months before, it seemed an odd choice. I must admit it put me off wanting the book, but I finally bought it on eBay a few years ago.
Opening the book presented us with a nice spread drawn by Stan McMurtry. Unlike the Wham! Annual spreads, it didn't continue from the cover but I thought it was worthy of inclusion here anyway.
A year later, the Pow! Annual 1969 displayed a cover by Gordon Hogg, plus a Spider-Man in an awkward pose because it had been taken out of context (and redrawn) and a Sgt.Fury vignette by Jack Kirby.
The battle that had begun on the cover continued inside, also by Gordon Hogg. Despite the appearance of The Cloak here, the strips in the annuals featuring the super-spy were not by his creator Mike Higgs. Instead, they were quite poor efforts, and Mike wasn't even asked to contribute.
With the Pow! Annual 1970 the humour aspect had gone from the cover, replaced by a copy of a Steve Ditko Spider-Man pose. Curiously, many of the interior strips featured characters from Smash!, presumably because Pow! had merged into Smash! in late 1968. (The Cloak strips this year were slightly improved ghostings of Mike Higgs' style but it would still have been far better to have Mike contribute.) There was clearly a budget cut though, with just over 50% of the content being Marvel reprint.
An unexpected revamp with Pow! Annual 1971 bringing all-new, all-different content with brand new British superheroes! Even stranger, they've never appeared anywhere since! (You can read more about that in a previous post here.)
The Pow! Annual 1972 was the book's final solo title and a bit of a mixed bag. I've no idea who did the seemingly rushed cover with the neanderthal and his oddly placed head, but it relates to the Appointment with F.E.A.R. story inside which featured Doctor Morg (last seen in the weekly Pow! serial Experiment X). The rest of the book was a mixture of reprints from old Odhams comics such as Boys World and a few new strips.
A year later, Pow! Annual merged into the Wham! Annual to produce Wham! and Pow! Annual 1973. I've already covered this the other day in my Wham! Annual post but here's the cover again for continuity with the other books in this posting...
...and also the cover once more to the Wham! and Pow! Annual 1974 by Joe Colquhoun...
So there you have it. The book changed completely within just a few years, but it outlived the 86 weekly issues and managed to be a very entertaining read.