Marvel Story Book Annual 1967 – The Chains of Abdul Rey

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.

2 thoughts on “Marvel Story Book Annual 1967 – The Chains of Abdul Rey

  1. That really takes me back to when I was a kid and the Fantastic Four (comics and newly discovered Hanna Barbera reruns) were fresh and exciting. In those days many Australians (and Americans and British) really didn’t travel that much…and (at least for many of us) we didn’t see too many people from outside the traditional western/European backgrounds. As a result of this writers could simply set an adventure in a different culture/country to make it more interesting and exotic, as they had done in adventure stories for decades. Of course the West has become much more diverse now (we see lots of different people every day) while much of the world is more generic, so it is easy to see why science fiction landscapes have taken the place of foreign settings in a far more significant proportion of our entertainment. It’s great that we have these old publications to remind us of how it used to be.

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