I recently came across a copy of the 1967 MARVEL STORY BOOK ANNUAL, published in the United Kingdom by World Distributors, working in concert with the American company Western Publishing. Such hardcover Annuals were ubiquitous in the UK in the 60s and 70s–there are a number of Marvel releases that reprint various early Marvel stories (often with hideous coloring.) But this book is a bit different. It’s not a reprint at all, but rather an all-new storybook featuring short stories, puzzles and features generated domestically, and illustrated mainly with swipes of Marvel artwork. As such, it’s a fascinating thing.
As an example of its contents, I’m reproducing one story here, the Fantastic Four in the Chains of Abdul Rey. At the time, the FF would have been appearing in their then-new Saturday morning cartoon, and so they and Spider-Man would have been considered the big draws in this book. According to the credits page, the stories were by Douglas Enefer, A. Tyson and John W. Elliot–which one wrote this piece is lost to the ages. Artwork in the book was provided by M. K. Powell, J. Leeder and P. Limbert, with the cover done by R. W. Smethurst.