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 Nov. 22, 1963.

Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of Nov. 15, 1981. 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 Nov. 19 and Nov. 25.)

So, let’s set the scene: On Nov. 22, John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas. At 12:30 p.m. local time, Kennedy and Texas Gov. John Connally were shot from long range as their car passed the Texas School Book Depository. Within eight minutes, Kennedy was at Parkland Memorial Hospital but was pronounced dead at 1 p.m. (Connally survived.)

The shocking, heart-wrenching shooting forever damaged the nation’s psyche and altered the course of American history.

The assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was arrested at 1:50 p.m. Less than an hour later, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as president on Air Force One before it left Dallas. Standing beside him was JFK’s widow, Jacqueline Kennedy. The airplane, carrying a coffin with Kennedy’s body, arrived at Andrews Air Force in Maryland just before 6 p.m. local time.

Two days later, on Nov. 24, as the reeling nation continued to mourn, Oswald was shot at 11:21 a.m. local time by nightclub owner Jack Ruby at Dallas police headquarters. Oswald died less than two hours later, at Parkland. Conspiracy theories surrounding Kennedy’s assassination and its aftermath continue to endure to this day.

On the same day, the Vietnam War hit a turning point that was directly related to Kennedy’s assassination: At one of his first meetings with foreign policy advisors since becoming president, Johnson rescinded Kennedy’s plans to withdraw soldiers from South Vietnam. According to National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy, Johnson said, “I am not going to lose Vietnam. I am not going to be the president who saw Southeast Asia go the way China went.” Johnson then issued a statement reaffirming the United States’ commitment to support South Vietnam militarily and economically.

On Nov. 25. Kennedy’s state funeral took place in Washington, with a procession to Arlington National Cemetery. Millions watched live worldwide and about 220 dignitaries from 92 countries attended, as well as former Presidents Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Perhaps the most famous photo from the event was of young John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his father’s coffin.

Three hours after the funeral, services were held for Oswald near Fort Worth, Texas.

On the same day, Abraham Zapruder sold all rights to his 8mm film of the Kennedy assassination to Life Magazine for $150,000 to be paid in installments of $25,000 per year. Two days later, Zapruder donated his first $25,000 to the widow of Officer J. D. Tippit, who was killed while trying to arrest Oswald.

Coincidentally, there were two other notable deaths Nov. 22: C.S. Lewis, best known as the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, and Brave New World writer Aldous Huxley. (Two days earlier, Huxley’s wife honored his deathbed wish to be injected with 200 micrograms of LSD, provided by Timothy Leary.)

The world had stopped on its axis. Nevertheless, the assassination did not happen in a vacuum but amid a time of changing tastes and schools of thought.

On the same day as the assassination, the Beatles’ second album With the Beatles was released in the United Kingdom. Just 11 days earlier, band manager Brian Epstein and Ed Sullivan signed a three-show contract for appearances by the Beatles in New York. Beatlemania was gestating. (I’m Leaving It Up to You by Dale & Grace led the Billboard 100. At No. 8 was Elvis’ fun Bossa Nova Baby. The albums chart was topped by In the Wind, by Peter, Paul & Mary, followed by The Second Barbra Streisand Album at No. 2 and the King’s Golden Records Vol. 3, at No.3.)

Also, on Nov. 22, Walt Disney decided on the location for his second amusement park — Orlando, Florida.

There’s no info for the top film at the box office this week because many theaters shut down and attendance was so low. Major films out at the time included Cleopatra, Lilies of the Field and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

Regular television programming was pre-empted but the most popular show of the time was The Beverly Hillbillies. New shows that fall included The Fugitive, The Outer Limits, The Patty Duke Show, Petticoat Junction, Burke’s Law, the American version of the British satire That Was the Week That Was, and The Lieutenant, created by Gene Roddenberry. Over in the United Kingdom, the first episode of Doctor Who was broadcast on the BBC on Nov. 23.

Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

Aquaman #13, DC. Aquaman was one of the most consistently entertaining comics of the 1960s. This issue written by Jack Miller with art by the great Nick Cardy.

The X-Men #3, Marvel. Beware of the Blob! (This is one of those weeks where Marvel had nothing new on the stands because of the company’s limited distribution. So Scott and I are selecting a few from earlier in the month because they were still on sale.)

The Beverly Hillbillies #4, Dell. Since Dell would adapt pretty much anything, there was no way The Beverly Hillbillies wasn’t going to get its own comic.

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

Superman Annual #8, DC Comics. I wonder if the Rainbow Clark Kent ever met the Rainbow Batman.

Walt Disney’s Wart and the Wizard #1, Gold Key. This was one of two Sword and the Stone comic books premiering this month, presumably to promote the film’s December arrival in theaters. It’s surprising considering that the film is barely remembered today.

The Amazing Spider-Man #9, Marvel. What a great Ditko cover here. Look at Spidey’s body language.

Dan adds: Electro! One of the greats! And I don’t care what anyone says — I love his classic outfit. And also, whenever I read Electro, I hear his voice from the 1967 cartoon: “Spiiider-MAN!”

The Avengers #3, Marvel. Only three issues in and Hulk has had enough. Most people wouldn’t think of the Hulk as an Avenger again until the movie in 2012.


— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Nov. 15 — in 1981! Click here.

— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Nov. 8 — in 1972! Click here.

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. There was so much magic in that Lee/Ditko run on Amazing Spider-Man. (Well, a ton of magic in the Lee/Romita era, too…) ASM #9 is another classic example. So much fun. Great stuff for sure.

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  2. I remember the era but was too young to remember anything but Christmas and TV cartoons. I think I actually have (or at least saw in a used store 45 years ago) the Wart and the Wizard cartoon. The movie is an underrated gem! The book by White is just as good and the duel between Merlin and Mim is in the book frame-for-frame! Oh, and the Rainbow Clark Kent DID meet the Rainbow Batman. They had a little apartment just off Gotham City’s Castro Street. (Sorry! Somebody had to do that gag!)

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  3. Maybe that giant clam on the Aquaman cover is related to the one that almost ate Robin in the Batman ’66 TV series?

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  4. I watched the Sword and the Stone a few months ago with my kids and they loved it. I fee like with all the live action Disney remakes, that one would be a perfect fit.

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