Holy Vintage Annual, Batman!!!

Recently, I received an unexpected delivery through the post – I recognised the handwriting of my good friend (and Late Reviewer contributor), John. He knows I’m a sucker for the Dark Knight as well as second hand books and discs, so I tore open the envelope to find a note which read simply Holy Charity Shop Purchase!, along with this cracking little annual.

I mean, look at it! Isn’t it great? Decent condition, that classic ‘musty old book’ smell, but more importantly, some cool artwork on the cover, and a cracking splash page inside too…

… though I’ll admit I’m not entirely sure what’s going on with Catwoman in this picture, but I’m digging the artwork.

Looks like the book was published in 1968 and this one was for the British market. You can tell that, because it’s filled with British articles – that’s right, articles! Like this one on trainee police officers learning their craft (click to expand)…

This isn’t your average Batman comic. In fact, the stories included in the annual – fun as they are – are mainly three or four pages of text with an illustration or two thrown in for good measure.

You also get sporting trivia pieces like this…

… and fun Batman board games like this!

Not to mention this frankly baffling game which appears be a sort of trickier noughts and crosses focused entirely around Batman’s pants…

Like the Batman television series it’s based on, the book is lovably daft, and some of the cartoons even bear a slight resemblance to the actors they’re representing… sort of. It’s probably not the best of the bunch, but you can just about make out Vincent Price as Egghead, and frankly, who doesn’t love a bit of Vincent Price?

There’s also a Christmas themed adventure which features a nightmarish goon named Karel who emerges from an Iron Maiden-like snowman and who, frankly, I find utterly terrifying. Seriously, look at this image and tell me it doesn’t look like it’s escaped from Scarfolk!

And while we’re on about striking images, I have to share this unforgettable image of Joker (though let’s face it, not Cesar Romero), wearing a sombrero and riding a horse while swinging a lasso during another elaborate scheme…

And you can’t spell Joker without joke, so here’s a page of the Clown Prince’s ‘finest’ gags. Personally, judging by these, I think he should stick to crime.

I’ve only skimmed the book so far, but I know I’m genuinely going to get hours of fun out of this annual so I want to say a huge thanks to John for the thoughtful gift.

I hope you’ve enjoyed taking a look at it too – if so, please let me know and if there’s any interest in it, I might even pay it a little revisit in a few weeks and look in more detail at some of the new characters and stories it introduces.

Until then, if you want another little Batman/Late Reviewer fix, there’s always this Quick Read to keep you going, or you can click here to explore Marvel Comics’ adaptation of Raiders Of The Lost Ark!

And if you’d like to write a Special Feature for Late Reviewer, I’d love to hear from you – find out more, here.

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