The majority of the Star Strip illustrated stories we’ve reproduced on BTLM have been focused around the star players of the 1960s and 70s. A breathless rush through the career highlights of one significant footballer at a time made sense when the illustrator typically had just a single page and a dozen frames to work with.
The football annuals most of us will have received as presents every Christmas without fail from unimaginative relatives did offer up greater scope to the illustrators though. More space to play with meant bigger subjects could be tackled, like the entire history of a football club as demonstrated here with the story of Manchester United from their formation through to 1976 when this Star Strip was first published.
With publishers seeking to justify charging premium prices for annuals, the other big advantage this brought the illustrators was the capacity to work more freely with colour. And for us the wonderful use of vivid blocks of primary colour in this piece hugely elevates what is already high-quality illustration and storytelling.