In the mid-1980s, the original art for the above cover used to sit in
the office of BATTLE ACTION FORCE in KING'S REACH TOWER,
the (former) headquarters of IPC Magazines Ltd. I used to see it when-
ever I was collecting or returning work on my weekly visits to London when
I was a full-time freelance lettering artist more years ago than I care to recall.
I didn't own the Annual back then - it was a later acquisition, and no doubt
it was the familiarity of the cover that attracted my attention to it, but
it's a nice book to have on its own merits.
KELLY'S EYE was a long-running strip that took on aspects of
DOCTOR WHO at some point in it's run. It was an interesting premise:
TIM KELLY was invulnerable as long as he wore the EYE OF ZOLTEC,
being able to withstand even the full explosive power of a nuclear bomb. The
strip first appeared in KNOCKOUT, switching over to VALIANT when the
former was merged into the latter in February of 1963. Tim Kelly returned
as a guest in the UNIVERSAL SOLDIER strip in the pulse-pounding
pages of 2000 A.D. (1987), but it's for the Valiant strips that the
character is best-remembered by readers of a certain age.
One of the more ridiculous aspects of the original strip was the
way Tim repeatedly announced to both friends and foes alike that the
jewel was the source of his powers, something you'd think he'd keep to
himself. True, his statements were really directed at the readers, to remind
them of just how he accomplished his amazing feats (in case, presumably,
they forgot the intro box immediately after reading it), but these proc-
lamations were rather too frequent and conspicuous to seem entirely
natural. (Even less so than normal comics' dialogue, that is.)
Anyway, just for you, here's a complete, full-colour adventure from
the above Annual, which was released in August or September of 1973.
The weekly comic managed to survive until it was eventually subsumed
by BATTLE PICTURE WEEKLY in October of 1976. And thus came
to an end the 14 and a half year run of one of this country's finest
weekly periodicals for boys.