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Monday, November 24, 2008

Fleetway Annuals for 1973

Decades ago when IPC were at the forefront of comic publishing in the UK they'd publish a flyer around this time of year listing all the "Fleetway Annuals" they were publishing. These glossy full colour fold-out leaflets would be at the point of sale (on the counter) of newsagents, or sometimes distributed as loose-leaf inserts in the weekly comics themselves.

Here is the leaflet published in 1972, advertising the IPC annuals cover dated 1973. As you can see, it was aimed at the Christmas market to inspire adults to buy the books as presents for the whole family. IPC certainly had a great range of annuals that year, although the selection for adults was a bit sparse. That probably explains why Mum looks a bit blaisé in her head shot next to the Angler's Mail Annual.

Adverts such as these were picked up by kids as well of course to study those bright, exciting looking covers in anticipation of Christmas morning. Virtually every weekly comic had its own annual and you'll notice that some of the books are for comics long gone by then (Wham!, Jag, Eagle, Hurricane) whilst others are even for comics that never existed (Marvel). Look and Learn was such a major title that it had five spin-off annuals of its own!

Such was the attraction of comic annuals in the early Seventies. Sadly, today newsagents would prefer to use shelf space for higher-profit greetings cards or short term items rather than having annuals clutter up their shelves for months. You can't blame them as it's their livelihood, but leaflets like this just show how people once looked forward to "the annual treat".


Ken Davidson said...

I recall a similar excitement when waiting for Mum's winter Kay's catalogue to land on the doormat. I'd turn straight to the few pages that sold Fleetway annuals (I think there were 2 spreads of 4 pages?) and revise my Santa list.

Odd. There was something intriguing about all those little colour cover pictures, crammed together like postage stamps...

Hmmm, I don't suppose I should mention a (brief) flirtation with philately should I?

Anonymous said...

I used to love visiting W.H. Smiths around September and seeing the new Annuals on sale. Fleetway published some wonderful editions. I was a bit disappointed with the first 'Marvel Annual' they brought out, however. It was full of stories I had seen already in 'The Mighty World Of Marvel' weekly!

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