Scott and Dan hit up the comics racks from 60 years ago — including the debuts of Spider-Man, Thor and Ant-Man!
This week for RETRO HOT PICKS, Scott Tipton and I are selecting comics that came out the week of June 8, 1962. Why this particular week? Because Spider-Man, Thor and Ant-Man all debuted this week — June 5, 1962 to be precise — and we wanted to take a look at the week as a whole!
Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of June 1, 1967. Click here to check it out.
(Keep in mind that comics came out on multiple days, so these are technically the comics that went on sale between June 5 and June 11.)
So, let’s set the scene: John F. Kennedy was in the prime of his presidency. So much so, that just a few weeks earlier on May 19, Marilyn Monroe famously serenaded him with a sultry “Happy Birthday” at Madison Square Garden.
West Side Story — which came out the previous fall and won 10 Oscars, including Best Picture — was tops at the box office. (The soundtrack album was also the most popular LP.)
It was summer rerun season but 1961-62 season ratings show that the three most popular shows were all Westerns — Wagon Train, Bonanza and Gunsmoke, in that order.
Ray Charles’ I Can’t Stop Loving You led the Billboard 100. Great tune. For those from the New York area, though, the No. 9 song holds a special place: Palisades Park by Freddy Cannon.
Last night I took a walk after dark…
Scott Tipton, contributor-at-large, 13th Dimension
Amazing Fantasy #15, Marvel. How do you not pick this one? Simply the most important comic book of the latter half of the century. Marvel’s rise just is not possible without the unexpectedly mammoth popularity of Spider-Man.
Dan adds: Go back and read that original story. It’s remarkable what Stan Lee and Steve Ditko nailed from the very start. Also, feel free to check out our 13 STEVE DITKO SPIDER-MAN COVERS — RANKED.
Journey into Mystery #83, Marvel. Another one you can’t pass up, the first appearance of Thor. Of the three Marvel debuts this week, Thor’s origin story is the farthest from what the strip would eventually become, here adhering to a much more traditional and contemporary secret-identity concept.
Dan adds: Isn’t it compelling that one of Marvel’s earliest successes was a re-interpretation of Norse myth? Just shows you that Lee and Jack Kirby had the magic touch. Wanna see the 13 COVERS that launched Marvel’s Thunder God? Click here.
Tales to Astonish #35, Marvel. Meanwhile, as much as I love Ant-Man, his debut was involved in the same kind of “fight those dirty Commies” shenanigans you found in almost every book Marvel was publishing at the time.
Dan adds: Ant-Man is Scott’s favorite superhero. Really! Click here to find out why.
World’s Finest Comics #127, DC Comics. And then over in World’s Finest, Superman punched a really big fish with legs.
Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension
Batman #149, DC. The Caped Crusader was just under two years away from his Julius Schwartz-engineered “New Look” revamp. This ish wasn’t quite as daffy as others from this era, but the three stories featured, respectively, an angry pianist who becomes a master criminal, time travel, and a telepathic Batman.
Scott adds: It’s a sign of the changing times that the same week Spider-Man was making his premiere, Batman and Robin were fighting time-traveling warriors.
The Flash #130, DC. It wasn’t what Marvel was doing but just check out the differing sensibilities between The Flash and Batman. No wonder Schwartz was brought in. That’s a nifty Infantino/Anderson cover, by the by. And Kid Flash meets the Elongated Man in the back-up!
Lois Lane Annual #1, DC. Oh, Lois.
Famous Monsters of Filmland 1962 Annual #1, Warren. Just like the cover says, in big, yellow letters: BEST FROM THE FIRST 6 OUT-OF-PRINT ISSUES. It would have been impossible to turn this one down at the newsstand.
— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of June 1 — in 1967! Click here.
— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of May 25 — in 1984! Click here.