RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale This Week — in 1967!

Scott and Dan — along with guest Paul Kupperberg — hit up the comics racks from 57 years ago…

This week for RETRO HOT PICKS, Scott Tipton and I are selecting comics that came out the week of Jan. 3, 1967 — and we’re joined by 13th Dimension columnist Paul Kupperberg, who has a personal connection to six of the week’s titles.

Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of Dec. 27, 1943. 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 Dec. 31, 1966, and Jan. 6, 1967.)

Johnson and Truman at the 1965 bill-signing. Behind them are Lady Bird Johnson, Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Bess Truman.

So, let’s set the scene: Democrat Lyndon Johnson was president and one of the keystones of his domestic-policy record — Medicaid — went into effect Jan. 1. Johnson signed the law that created the program in 1965, crediting former President Harry S. Truman with “planting the seeds of compassion and duty which have today flowered into care for the sick and serenity for the fearful.” Meanwhile, on Jan. 2, future President Ronald Reagan, a Republican who signed legislation that expanded the program, was sworn in as governor of California.

The shadow of President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination continued to hang over the nation, as Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald, died of a pulmonary embolism at the age of 55. He’d been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Ruby was pronounced dead at Parkland Memorial Hospital, same as Kennedy and Oswald.

The Vietnam War was raging and on Jan. 2, U.S. Navy Commander James Stockdale, the senior POW at North Vietnam’s Hoa Lo prison — aka the notorious Hanoi Hilton — wrote his first covert message using the “invisible carbon” sent to him by Naval Intelligence in a letter from his wife. Concealed on the second page of a letter home was Stockdale’s list of the names of 40 fellow American prisoners of war in the camp, written perpendicular to his visible handwriting. (The signal that there was a secret message in any given letter was to begin it with the word “Darling” and to close with “Your adoring husband.”)

The heroic Stockdale, who was relentlessly beaten and tortured along with his fellow prisoners, created and enforced a code of conduct for all of the POWs to follow. He was held for 7 1/2 years and later ran for vice president on Ross Perot’s 1992 independent presidential ticket.

Stockdale before his capture

A new era was dawning on the world of sports and American popular culture: On Jan. 1, the AFL and NFL championship games were played, with the Kansas City Chiefs beating the Buffalo Bills and the Green Bay Packers defeating the Dallas Cowboys, respectively. This was the set-up for the first AFL–NFL World Championship Game –retroactively known as Super Bowl I — two weeks later.

Bonanza was the top-rated show in the Nielsens but many all-time fave were on the air, such as The Avengers, The Man From UNCLE, The Green Hornet, Get Smart, Mission: Impossible, The Monkees and Lost in Space. On Jan. 4 and 5, one of the most popular Batman two-parters aired for the first time: “The Contaminated Cowl/The Mad Hatter Runs Afoul.” Star Trek on Jan. 5 featured The Galileo Seven, a strong episode that explores some of the cracks in Spock’s ability to lead humans.

It was a relatively quiet period at the box office, with no new major releases. Among the holdovers still on screens were 1965’s Doctor Zhivago and The Bible: In the Beginning…, which came out in the fall of 1966.

The Monkees’ I’m a Believer was the No. 1 hit on American radio, followed by the Royal Guardsmen’s entertaining novelty song, Snoopy vs. the Red Baron. (The Monkees’ eponymous debut album was also the best-selling LP.) Two Sinatras were also among the leaders: Nancy, with Sugar Town at No. 5, and dad Frank, with the beloved yet much-parodied That’s Life at No. 6. What a song!

There was also an album release that would help alter the sound of rock — The Doors’ self-titled LP came out Jan. 4, three days after their first single, Break on Through (to the Other Side).

Oh, and in Ocean Township, N.J., David and Bette Greenfield were preparing for their second child, a boy, who would be born in about six weeks.

My Mom, very pregnant with me, in her cat’s-eye glasses and pink-and-orange paisley maternity dress. Smoking a cigarette. Explains everything.

I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king…

Paul Kupperberg, columnist, 13th Dimension

Life with Archie #59, Archie. Who knew in 1967 that I would one day grow up to write and/or edit issues of comic book titles and characters that entertained me when I was an 11-year-old reader? Not me! But that didn’t stop me from reading everything on the stands that I possibly could, including many of the Archie Comics titles, especially those that were playing off the pop culture trends of the day, including Batman ’66 and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Stories by Frank Doyle, Bob White, Jon D’Agostino, Joe Edwards and Bob Bolling. I wrote a later incarnation of Life with Archie, #1 – 37 (September 2010 – September 2014).

Mighty Comics #44, Archie. The Black Hood in “The Sinister Powers of the Mad Gadgeteer,” “The Shield vs. the Menace From P.E.R.I.L.” and “Steel Sterling vs. the Awesome Bravo,” all by Jerry Siegel, Paul Reinman and Frank Giacoia. I would edit The Black Hood #3 – 12 (February – December 1992) and write an unpublished three-part Steel Sterling serial for the DC Comics licensed Impact Comics.

The Peacemaker #1, Charlton. I went nuts for the mid-1960s Charlton Comics line of Action Heroes, including Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, the Question, Nightshade… and Peacemaker, by Pat Boyette! None of them lasted more than a year (Peacemaker had two appearances as a back-up in Fightin’ Five and five issues of his own title), but all of them would eventually reappear at DC, which famously acquired the off-brand heroes in the early-1980s. I used Peacemaker in various issues of Vigilante and starred him in a 1987 four-issue miniseries, and I wrote a reunion of the Charlton characters for Justice League Quarterly #14 (Spring 1994).

Scott adds: He loves peace so much he’s willing to fight for it. It took James Gunn and John Cena to make me realize how funny this line is.

Aquaman #32, DC. My response to the “he talks to fishes” mockery that frequently greets Aquaman was always, “Yeah, he can! Can you?” I always had a soft spot for the King of the Seven Seas, attracted at first by Nick Cardy’s art and then kept there by Bob Haney’s clever and inventive scripts. A little more than a decade later, as a still-wet-behind-the ears writer (as it were), editor Paul Levitz assigned me to run out the last couple of issues of Aquaman (#62-63, June/July – August/September 1978), and I continued scripting the feature when it landed in Adventure Comics #60 (November/December 1978).

Scott adds: Is “Giant Hand Cover” a thing? If not, it should be. This here is a great Giant Hand Cover.

Dan adds: It kind of is, Scott! Maybe our pal Chris Ryall would want to pick 13 of them. Seems right up his alley!

The Phantom #21, King Comics. I don’t recall following The Phantom in his natural habitat as a newspaper strip, but between several publishers, the Ghost Who Walks was a familiar presence on the comic-book rack. At the time I didn’t fully appreciate the art of Bill Lignante, but looking back at it as I write this, I think the work had a lot of charm and an energy of its own. But I never abandoned the character and was thrilled when, in 2010, I was asked to write an illustrated prose story for Moonstone’s The Phantom: Generations #10.

Superboy #136, DC. As much as I loved the Superman family of characters (except for Lucy Lane!), some of the sillier Mort Weisinger-edited Super-tales were starting to wear thin for me. “Superboy Visits the 50th Century” (by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and John Forte) and “Decoy of the Doom Statues” (by Binder and George Papp) were both very thin stories, especially compared to what was going on over in the 1967 Marvel Comics I was sneak reading off my brother’s shelf. I’d later have my go at the Teen of Steel in The New Adventures of Superboy #36-54 (December 1982 – June 1984), which may not have been great but at no point did I ever feature Krypto, besieged by fans and “autograph hounds” on his way to a meeting of the SCPA (the Space Canine Patrol Agents). Although now that I’ve typed that, I kind of regret I didn’t…

Scott adds: Is Krypto wearing tights here?

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

Captain Atom #85, Charlton. Captain Atom, the Ted Kord Blue Beetle, Nightshade, and Punch and Jewelee? That’s a packed issue.


Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

House of Mystery #165, DC. “Dial H for Hero” was one of comics’ cleverest ideas and yet it’s never been able to hang on. This issue always stood out to me because I remember the house ad so vividly. It made it seem like this was a special issue because of Whoozis, Whatzis and Howzis. Why that was special I couldn’t tell you, but such was the power of the ad. By the way, I will never understand the people who hate Go-Go Checks. They’re exciting!

Thor #138, Marvel. Light week for Marvel but you did get Stan and Jack (and Vince) on the Thunder God. ’Nuff said.

Archie’s Girls Betty and Veronica #135, Archie. The color! The fashions! The timeliness! The groovy painting! I really love Archie comics of the ’60s and ’70s. This ginchy cover is by Dan DeCarlo and Rudy Lapick.

THUNDER Agents #11, Tower. The middle of the cult-fave’s 20-issue run, featuring “The Death of Dynamo,” pencilled by Dan Adkins and inked by Wally Wood. (They did the cover too.)

Get Smart #6, Dell. There were a bajillion Dell and Gold Key adaptations on the stands, but this is the one I would have picked up this week. One of the greatest openings and closings in TV history.


— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Dec. 27 — in 1943! Click here.

— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Dec. 20 — 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. Back in the day when it wasn’t just DC and Marvel. Love it.

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  2. Is that Get Smart comic one of the issues Steve Ditko did?

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  3. Hey! Happy Birthday!!!!! You’re just about a week younger than my Brother!

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