In many ways, the comic book annual is a thing of the past – the last refuge of a special excitement for regular readers of an ongoing comic book series. For the most part, the “Annual” magic died out in the mid-1990’s. That makes for at least two generations of young comic book readers that have never really known the thrill of the double-sized, more experimental, stories that “Annuals” often produced.
Today, the “Annual” has generally been replaced by the one-shot issue, the miniseries, or completely wiped from existence in lieu of publishing multi-part stories within an ongoing comic book, that can be easily collected into trade paperbacks or hardcovers. With market-driven forces changed and thin margins and full workloads, there is no appetite for the back-end work needed to create a separate visual tale within the story of an ongoing series.
But there was a time when comic books were madcap fun – and the “Annual” was a staple and eagerly anticipated part of comic book lore.
One series aims to return to those glory days.
Today sees the release of the thrilling, multi-faceted, multi-part, Black Hammer Giant-Sized Annual!
And all of comic book fandom rejoices!
Black Hammer Giant-Sized Annual
Written By: Jeff Lemire
Illustrated By: Various
Published by: Dark Horse Comics
Written by Jeff Lemire (Descender, The Underwater Welder, Sweet Tooth, Essex County) and illustrated by Dean Ormston (2000 AD, Lucifer, Books of Magick), Black Hammer has been one of the most critically acclaimed new series’ of 2016. We love it here at Biff Bam Pop! – and if you haven’t been reading the monthly title (why not?), you should be!
Black Hammer is the story of a group of disparate superheroes who were banished from existence after seemingly saving the world from a multidimensional crisis. Think of loose versions DC’s Justice League or Marvel’s Avengers characters following 1985’s epic, industry-changing series, Crisis on Infinite Earths – and then think of what could have happened next.
In Black Hammer, those characters were banished to a small farming community, living out ordinary and boring lives, with no-one aware of who they are or what they’ve done, and, importantly, with the heroes unable to leave the confines of the town.
The first year of the series has been a mystery, with each issue a character study of each heroic protagonist and their family-like relationship with each other: Abraham Slam, Golden Gail, Colonel Weird, Madame Dragonfly and Barbalien. All the while, the mystery surrounding their predicament has been slowly unraveling.
Today’s release of the Black Hammer Giant-Sized Annual hearkens back to comic book publishing of the twentieth century. Here’s a double-sized release featuring five out-of-main-story tales focusing on one of the stranded heroes, illustrated by various artists, all fan-favourites of the comic book industry: Dustin Nguyen, Emi Lenox, Nate Powell, Matt Kindt and Ray Fawkes, who are joined by Michael Allred, Dave Stewart and Sharlene Kindt.
The format certainly brings back the fun of comic-book reading from days-gone-by. You can catch a sneak peek of various pages from the release right here.
Make the run to your local comic book shop today and pick up the Black Hammer Giant-Sized Annual – and then start reading the monthly tale: there are only six issues to get caught up on…or the first paperback collection coming this April!