The Sparky book you see above may occur to you as an odd or random choice for me to write a post on, as it has no significant inpact on the comics 16 year life span. But my reason for choosing it is simply because it's brilliant! The book is a fantastic read right from Bill Hill's wonderfully drawn, and funny, front cover, right through to the 1800's style Sparky which appears in the back.
I'll start with the only negative though, which is a comic strip going by the name of 'Sam's Snake'.I dislike it because it seems a bit of a copy of Sid's Snake from Whizzer and Chips, but - as I've now discovered, the series began a month before Whizzer and Chips even came out! Here's a page of Snodgrass Snake in action - art by Phil Millar.
The first Puss and Boots story in this annual is definatly one of my personal favourites, not because of the story - but because of the quality of the artwork, which looks even better printed in full colour. For instance, take a look at how John Geering drew the title box!
Bill Ritche's Barney Bulldog and the Arkward Customer is a good, classic story with a nice strong storyline. I particulary like the full pager with the old man shooting through the air! Brilliant stuff!
I Fly has only one page in the entire annual, but still a pretty good, funny story - I assume it came to somebody randomly at some point, and they thought it was a good idea. I guess we'll never know...
On the page right next to I Fly is I Spy at the Hotel Splendide, an amazing nine page story all about I Spy clearing out a hotel full of enemy spies! Drawn by Brian Walker. (you can read the full story here - http://theyellowedpages.blogspot.co.nz/2011/06/i-spy-hotel-splendide-sparky-book-1973.html)
Tales men tell has some exceptional illustrations, although not much information about them. Does anybody know who the artist for them is, he simply signed his pieces as 'Mr.'?
And to conclude the annual classic Sparky comic. One shall say no more. ;)