RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale This Week — in 1962!

Scott and Dan hit up the comics racks from 61 years ago…

This week for RETRO HOT PICKS, Scott Tipton and I are selecting comics that came out the week of April 19, 1962.

Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of April 12, 1984. 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 April 16 and April 22.)

So, let’s set the scene: John F. Kennedy was president and the Space Race was on: In February, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth and every kid in the country wanted their own astronaut helmets, toys, and models. NASA announced this week that Glenn’s Mercury 6 capsule, Friendship 7, would be sent on a world tour with 20 stops on all continents. Also, Seattle’s Space Needle opened April 21 as part of the Century 21 Exposition (aka the Seattle World’s Fair).

In other headlines: Walter Cronkite took over the anchor desk for the CBS Evening News. “The Most Trusted Man in America” would become the country’s pre-eminent journalistic voice over the next 19 years. Wagon Train, Ben Casey and Hazel, meanwhile, were among the most popular scripted TV shows.

The Boston Celtics this week won their fourth straight NBA championship, with a Game 7 overtime win over the Los Angeles Lakers. The Toronto Maple Leafs, meanwhile, won the Stanley Cup. But perhaps the most compelling sports news of all was that on April 22 the brand spankin’ new New York Mets lost their 9th straight game to begin the franchise’s first season. They would finally win the following day.

West Side Story, which had been released in October 1961, was still a huge hit, enjoying another stint in the No. 1 box office slot. The forgettable Disney live-action flick Moon Pilot was also orbiting movie theaters.

The King of Rock and Roll ruled the charts: Elvis Presley topped the Billboard singles slate with Good Luck Charm, backed by the Jordanaires; Elvis’ Blue Hawaii soundtrack, meanwhile, led the mono album charts, with a run at the top that began in December. The stereo version of the LP alternated at No. 1 with Henry Mancini’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s soundtrack on the stereo charts from January into May.

While the King was on the the throne, Bob Dylan, who had recently released his debut album, on April 16 performed Blowin’ in the Wind publicly for the first time at Gerde’s Folk City in Greenwich Village.

Come on and be my little good luck charm / Uh-huh huh, you sweet delight…

Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

Batman #148, DC. One of the groovier pre-New Look Batman covers by Sheldon Moldoff, especially since it’s an uncommon night scene. SPOILER ALERT: The Joker does unmask Batman but he’s ultimately tricked by the Caped Crusader, leaving the Clown Prince of Crime back at square one.

Scott adds: When you think about it, the most remarkable thing about this cover is that it took them 22 years to get around to it.

The Flash #129, DC. Only the second meeting between the Flashes — and they’ve got their hands full with the Trickster and Captain Cold. The Justice Society appears in flashback but would officially join the Silver Age festivities with Issue #137. (You can read a lot more about THAT here. It’s worth your time, for sure.)

The Twist #1, Dell. I love that this existed: A one-shot with a series of stories about the dance craze. Dunno if Dell ever planned a follow up but at least this one has a fab cover, evidently by Bill Williams. If that artwork doesn’t say 1962, I don’t know what does.

Amazing Adult Fantasy #14, Marvel. There were no Marvel comics out this specific week, but we’re bending the rules to allow a few that were released earlier in the month. Like this obscure title that would change formats the next issue — and change the world of superheroes forever.

Scott Tipton, contributor-at-large, 13th Dimension

Fantastic Four #5, Marvel. Doom never looked as sinister as he does here.

Dan adds: Holy crap! Doctor Doom’s first appearance! Marvel only had one superhero comic out this month — and they still made huge waves!

World’s Finest Comics #126, DC. I’m always a big fan of those covers where something really bad is happening to Superman, and you can see Lex Luthor way in the background brandishing a doohickey of some sort.

Strange Tales #98, Marvel. I miss giant word balloons on covers.


— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of April 12 — in 1984! Click here.

— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of April 5 — in 1987! Click here.

Primary sources: Mike’s Amazing World of Comics, the Grand Comics Database.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Just in case the Joker didn’t recognize the fellow under the mask. Good job, Robin.

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  2. The strangest part of that Strange Tales cover is figuring out what outdoor sport is being played “shirts vs. skins.”

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