Avengers Annual #2

Avengers Annual #2, September 1968

When I was a kid, the Avengers stories were reprinted in a British weekly comic. They very quickly became my favourites, and that persists to this day. I’m determined to one day have a full set of their adventures. The Annual presented here contains a story that I remember being excited about: all those Avengers — wow!! That fabulous John Buscema cover promises much, though it has to be said that the interior art by Don Heck leaves a bit to be desired — to modern eyes anyway, back then it was all fabulous. I was just immersed in the fantasy of super-heroes and the differences between artists was not important, even if it was noticed at all.

Don Heck was a great artist, at his best in the 1950s drawing horror comics and romance titles. Once super-heroes took over the industry to the exclusion of everything else, Don, at the behest of Stan Lee, was forced to change his style to mimick Jack Kirby. It wasn’t a good match, and the art suffered. So much so in fact, that Heck was often, ludicrously, referred to as the “worst artist in comics”. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

The concept of the old Avengers versus the new must’ve been a popular one: the same gimmick was used in both the first two Annuals!