Consider Superhero Annuals
The super hero annuals as we know them began in 1960 with Superman Annual #1 (fittingly since Superman also launched the whole superhero genre back in 1938). Though annuals started out as vehicles to reprint past issues (Superman Annual #1 reprinted Action comics #252, 1st Supergirl, and Lois Lane #1), they quickly adapted to adding new material and stories. Actually the reprints in the early Marvel annuals satisfied a growing demand for access to recent stories. Remember that Marvel readership was growing by leaps and bounds each month so that by the time Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2 reprinted Amazing Spider-Man #1, 2 and 5 the fan base was many times larger than when #1 hit the stands. This access to the early stories was instrumental to Marvel’s growth.
Great stories and events have come to us through annuals. Sue Storm and Reed Richards getting married in Fantastic Four Annual #3, Superman Annual #4 features the first Origins of the Legion of Superheroes, the introduction of Peter Parker’s parents happened in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5, Strange Tales Annual #2 boasts the 4th appearance of the Amazing Spider-Man and Journey into Mystery Annual #1 features the first appearance of Marvel’s Hercules.
The great part about collecting annuals is that they are for the most part very affordable. Even the very expensive ones are relatively cheap when their importance is considered. Amazing Spider-Man #3 is worth over 4 times more than Strange Tales Annual #2 even though the later represents Spidey’s 4th appearance (ASM #3 being his 5th appearance). It’s also a lot easier to hunt down the complete runs. The longest Annual runs contain only 30 + issues.
Important events, great reprints, pin-ups, profiles and special features make Annuals a very fun and rewarding collecting focus.
Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada