So, after a long long countdown, here he is, the 9 year-old me's top character in this most classic of annuals, Aquavenger!
Before even re-reading the tale, i can see why from the rogues gallery at the front of the book - he looks great, the most superhero-y of them all, and that's a neat shade of green.
Reading the tale, i think the younger me would have been enthralled but, now, its all a bit silly:
Bob Shane in the past had rescued some old bloke drifting in a storm, clinging to a bit of palm hut,
turns out the old codger is Neuptunius. Hmmmmm...
"a recluse possessed of ageless powers". Double hmmmm...
who, as thanks, gives Bob "unlimited power in the crusade against the powers of darkness!"
Then promptly buggers off without explaining why someone so powerful was near drowning like that, who he was, where he was going or anything. Thrice times hmmmm...
Anyway, so there's Bob now a superhero. All he's got to do is shout "Aquavenger!" and he transforms into the titular hero.
Does he position himself in society best suited to battle the "powers of darkness"? Nope, he becomes skipper of a rusty old tub. Eh?
But still gets an adventure in just in time for this annual, as niftly clad frogmen attack his ship and warn Bob and and his mate to stay away from the area.
Turns out "Admiral Nemesis" has a dastardly plan to rob New York by immobilising everyone with his nerve gas, a plan he's quite happy to tell our hero about as he then chucks him into the tank that houses his per giant squid.
Of course Aquavenger defeats them all and we have a happy ending, and i'm left thinking it was all good fun, but it ain't 'arf derivitive.
I was too young back then to know as i hadn't read them, but there's clear parallels with both Aquaman and Shazam in this strip, and i think i rated it tops not only because of the excellent art, but also that the character is similar to the very early Anime, Marine Boy which i certainly knew by then.
Anyway, that's my top hero, one i read endlessly, pouring over the artwork, with one panel i was particualy fascinated by - the almost last one showing the come-uppance of Nemesis, who's so furious, his eyes bulge and he seems to be scratching his hair so much his hats falling off.