Let's head back to the Christmas day of 1977, and all over the country kids would be waking up to find a bright, cheery Knockout annual wrapped up under the tree, stuffed into a stocking or hidden in their pillowslips.
Although there were no full colour pages inside, IPC did their best to make the annual as bright and colourful as possible, with pages printed in red, orange, yellow, blue and even green ink! There isn't a single page in the book that doesn't have some colour on it.
The weekly comic had run from 1971 to 1973, so by the time this came out there hadn't been a weekly issue for almost four and a half years, so I'd doubt that there were very many of the original readers still buying or receiving the annual. Still, the characters were as popular as ever, and Knockout had famously created Joker and Fuss Pott, two characters who would survive for several decades to follow.
The 144 pages that made up this annual were composed of a healthy mixture of jokes puzzles and comic strips. The strips were drawn by some fantastic artists, such as Terry Bave, Barrie Appleby and Tom Williams. Sadly, Mike Lacey didn't draw any stories inside, even though he was a key artist on Knockout, illustrating The Super Seven. Still, he did draw and sign the cover, so we do see some of his wonderful art!
This would have been a fantastic present to recieve on Christmas morning, although it was by no means the only annual of 1978; there were dozens of others that parents could have selected. Here is just some of the competition...
By the way, if you are wondering why most copies of this annual have the date '1978' written on them and mine doesn't, it's because this copy was made without one so that it could be sold overseas at a later date. Whether or not it actually was, I can't say.
|The spine from my annual, also missing the date.|
|Another copy of the same annual, this one including the date.|
I've shown a similar example of a missing date here:
And some copies of Buster that are missing their prices here (scroll down a bit):