RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale This Week — in 1971!

Scott and Dan hit up the comics racks from 52 years ago…

This week for RETRO HOT PICKS, Scott Tipton and I are selecting comics that came out the week of Aug. 9, 1971.

Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of Aug. 2, 1976. 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 Aug. 6 and Aug. 12.)

So, let’s set the scene: Richard Nixon was in his first presidential term. On Aug. 7, Apollo 15, one of the last manned voyages to the moon, returned to Earth. As part of the mission, astronauts David Scott, James Irwin and Alfred Worden launched the first satellite into lunar orbit from a manned spacecraft. They also brought back with them 400 stamped envelopes to be sold to collectors.

Don’t look back: In the world of sports, the great Satchel Paige was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame on Aug. 9.

Unlike some summers, no single movie dominated the American box office. This week’s No. 1 was the neo-noir classic Klute, starring Jane Fonda, who won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance, and Donald Sutherland. Other films in theaters included the creepfest Willard, Summer of ’42 and Love Story.

All fine and good, but those who love their scenery chewed, there was also the newly released The Omega Man, the third film in Charlton Heston’s quartet of dystopian thrillers, which also included Planet of the Apes (1968), Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) and Soylent Green (1973). Gotta love Chuck Heston and his big, manly teeth!

The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour had just debuted as a summer replacement show on CBS. It ran for six Sunday nights in a row and proved so popular that it would become part of the regular schedule by year’s end. Other big hits on TV included Marcus Welby, M.D.; All in the Family; and The Flip Wilson Show.

A lot of people forget that the Bee Gees were popular well before disco: This week, the group had the No. 1 hit on the singles chart with How Can You Mend a Broken Heart. Jean Knight’s groovy Mr. Big Stuff was at No. 2 and John Denver’s sweet Take Me Home, Country Roads was at No. 3.

The action was more interesting over at the Billboard 200, however. The top-selling album was Carole King’s enormous hit Tapestry, and others among the leaders included Jesus Christ Superstar (No. 3), Paul McCartney’s Ram (No. 4), Carpenters (No. 6), Jethro Tull’s Aqualung (No. 9) and Rod Stewart’s phenomenal Every Picture Tells a Story (No. 10). (McCartney, by the way, announced the formation of Wings the week before this.)

Also, among the leaders? None other than Marvin Gaye’s masterpiece What’s Going On (No. 7) and one of the absolute, no question, spectacular, greatest, tremendousest rock albums of all time, the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers (at No. 5) — working zipper and all. The LP is jammed with monster tracks such as the seminal Brown Sugar, Wild Horses, Can’t You Hear Me Knocking, Dead Flowers, the criminally underappreciated I Got the Blues, Sway, Bitch, and Moonlight Mile, one of the most beautiful tunes the band ever recorded.

And I’ll bust my brains out for you, and I’ll tear my hair out, tear my hair out, just for you…

Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

The Avengers #93, Marvel. The Kree-Skrull War! Roy Thomas, Neal Adams and Tom Palmer bring you a key chapter in one of comics’ greatest epics — This Beachhead Earth!

The Amazing Spider-Man #102, Marvel. The finale of the three-part Six-Arm Spidey storyline begun in ASM #100. With Morbius’ second appearance and the Lizard — one of my all-time fave Spidey villains! Written by Roy Thomas, with art and cover by penciller Gil Kane and inker Frank Giacoia. A classic.

The Brave and the Bold #98, DC. That’s a nifty Nick Cardy cover there but the real reason this is a big ‘un? Artist Jim Aparo made his debut on the title that would pretty much come to define his superb career.

New Gods #5, DC. Crazy when you think about the series’ impact more than five decades later, but this was the midpoint in Jack Kirby’s original 11-issue run. Eleven issues! Great, close-quarters battle cover — a specialty of the King’s.

Captain America #143, Marvel. Topical urban drama by Gary Friedrich and John Romita: Cap and the Falcon try to thwart the Red Skull’s insidious plan to burn Harlem the the ground.

The Avengers Annual #5, Marvel. Reprinting two Silver Age classics, including the first appearance of Kang the Conqueror and Spider-Man’s initial meeting with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

Superman #243, DC. One of Neal Adams’ most hubba-hubba covers. Want to know what Adams thought about it? You do. Click here.

That’s all, folks! The peripatetic Scott Tipton’s off this week! See ya next time!


— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Aug. 2 — in 1976! Click here.

— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of July 26 — in 1967! Click here.

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Ah, yes, Marvel’s failed 25 cent “experiment”. It was a shock at the time but at least we were getting extra story pages to offset the 10 cent price increase. It was even more shocking, and disappointing, the very next month when books went back to 32 pages but the price was only reduced to 20 cents. It seemed like such a blatant ripoff to this 12 year old. Exactly one year later, I quit collecting comics completely.

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    • Martin Goodman’s classic head fake on DC. Apparently DC as the bigger company had locked in long-term contracts for the paper needed to keep publishing DC’s own 25 cent Bigger and Better format. When Marvel dropped back to 20 cents the next month, DC was stuck producing 25 cents comics and so the Marvels looked like a bargain compared to the DCs next to them. I believe this was the beginning of Marvel overtaking DC in sales.

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