RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale This Week — in 1963!

Scott and Dan hit up the comics racks from 60 years ago…

This week for RETRO HOT PICKS, Scott Tipton and I are selecting comics that came out the week of July 5, 1963.

Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of June 28, 1982. 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 July 2 and July 8.)

So, let’s set the scene: President Kennedy had an audience with the recently elected Pope Paul VI at the Vatican. Otherwise, it was summertime — and time for summer pastimes!

On the same day (July 2), pitchers Juan Marichal of the San Francisco Giants and Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves faced off against each other at San Fran’s Candlestick Park in what many consider the greatest game ever pitched. In extraordinary performances that are unheard of in today’s game, each threw 15 shutout innings. Marichal capped the top of the 16th without letting the Braves score but in the bottom of the inning, with one out, Willie Mays hit a solo home run off Spahn, giving the Giants the 1-0 win.

The movie of the summer was the infamous epic Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The film opened in June but once it hit the top spot at the beginning of July, it reigned at the box office through October, with only a three-week interruption. How the West Was Won was also a big hit in theaters. Also this summer was an eye-opening spy thriller that had been a hit in the U.K. the year before: Dr. No, starring Sean Connery as secret agent James Bond, had its American debut in May and made its way around the secondary theater circuit. But 007 caught on and the rest is history.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

On TV, the most consistently popular shows were The Beverly Hillbillies and Bonanza.

Easier Said Than Done by the Essex was the singles-chart leader, but it hasn’t really stood the test of time. Other hits included Sukiyaki by Kyu Sakamoto (No. 2), It’s My Party by Lesley Gore (No. 5) and Surf City by Jan & Dean (No. 7). Andy Williams’ Days of Wine and Roses dominated the mono and stereo album charts over the summer. (The lists, by the way, would be combined in August.)

The King of Rock and Roll was busy, however: Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret spent the summer recording and filming Viva Las Vegas, which would be released in 1964. Meanwhile, the British Invasion was rumbling in the distance: In the UK, the Beatles were already burning things up with hits like Please Please Me, Love Me Do, From Me to You and Twist and Shout, as well as their first album, also called Please Please Me. The Rolling Stones made their first TV appearance on Thank Your Lucky Stars (July 7), promoting their initial single Come On, which was released in June. It was a Chuck Berry cover.

It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to… Cry if I want to… Cry if I want to…

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

The X-Men #1, Marvel. The amount of new concepts being put out by Lee and Kirby (and Ditko) in this period is kinda mind-boggling when you think about it. X-Men and Avengers in the same week?!

Dan adds: Click here!

The Avengers #1, Marvel. With this, the final piece in the Marvel Universe was cemented. You had the two entirely new super-teams in the Fantastic Four and X-Men, you had loners like Spidey and the Hulk, and here with the Avengers, you had the one place where everyone could meet, which made it all seem that much more real.

Dan adds: Click here!

Tales to Astonish #48, Marvel. Ant-Man’s potential demise by drowning seems to have little to do with the Porcupine and anyone’s ability to resist him, but what do I know?

Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #71, DC Comics. Meanwhile, over in the DC Universe, multiple Jimmys Olsen were plummeting to their deaths.

Dan adds: It’s raining Jimmys! Hallelujah!

Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

Fantastic Four Annual #1, Marvel. Wow, what an issue! The Fantastic Four vs. Namor, plus a big pin-up gallery of villains like Doctor Doom, a Q&A feature on the FF, a spectacular cutaway of the Baxter Building, plus an expanded version of Spider-Man’s first meeting with Marvel’s first family. For 25 cents! The same week we got The Avengers #1 and The X-Men #1! MAN!

Green Lantern #23, DC. Another debut! The Tattooed Man! I’d put him right there with the Avengers and the X-Men! Wouldn’t you? No? Oh. Well, me neither, actually.


— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of June 28 — in 1982! Click here.

— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of June 21 — in 1974! Click here.

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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1 Comment

  1. Lots of great stuff. Wish I was around to get those off the newsstand.

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