Big Strange Tales Annual no.1, 1962 (July release date) Marvel Comics. Jack Kirby cover. This was tied for Marvel’s first Annual (with Millie the Model Annual, both released in July). The unusual style for price, issue number and date are all unique to this annual, as far as I know.
Kirby reprints “I Unleashed Shagg Upon the World” originally from Journey into Mystery 59, 1960; “Grottu, King of the Insects” from Strange Tales 73, 1960; “I Saw Diablo, The Demon for the Dark Dimension” from Tales of Suspense 9, 1960; and “A Martian Walks Among Us” from Strange Tales 78, 1960.
Grottu and Diablo both have been retconned such that their adventurer heroes are Ulysses Bloodstone, Monster Hunter. (Two of the four Bloodstone retconned appearances in the monster age are reprinted in this annual.) Grottu is especially notable as having lush linework by master of the brush Bill Everett. This may be the earliest inking of Kirby he ever did. To me, Everett is in the Top Five Kirby inkers of all time. This classic amazingly has the Giant Atomic Ant devoured by its own army after being coated with sugar.
From the pencil of Steve Ditko, “I Come from the Shadow World” originally published in Tales of Suspense 7, 1960; “I Know the Secret of the Poltergeist” from Tales to Astonish 1, 1959; “I Found the Giant in the Sky” from Journey Into Mystery 55, 1959.
Don Heck has several stories in this annual: “He Waits For Us in the Glacier” originally from Tales to Astonish 7, 1960; “I Saw the Serpent That Saved the World” from Journey into Mystery 55; and “Beware! The Ghosts Surround Me!” from Strange Tales 76, 1960.
Two additional artists have work reprinted here: Paul Reinman from Tales to Astonish 6, 1959 “I Became a Human Bomb”, his best work since his early war comics work for Atlas and John Forte, better known or vilified for his work on Legion of Super-Heroes, “The Stranger in Space” from Journey Into Mystery 53, 1959.
Twelve stories in one book for 25 cents! I can’t imagine how it felt to pick this annual off the rack in 1962. All coloring is likely Stan Goldberg.