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 Dec. 13, 1971.

Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of Dec. 6, 1988. 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. 10 and Dec. 16.)

So, let’s set the scene: Richard Nixon was in his first presidential term and the political discourse was dominated by his nomination of William H. Rehnquist to the U.S. Supreme Court. Rehnquist had defended segregation as a lawyer and was accused of supporting the separate-but-equal doctrine that had been overturned by the landmark 1954 Brown vs. the Board of Education ruling. Nevertheless, Rehnquist on Dec. 10 was confirmed by the Senate, 68 to 26.

Internationally, the savage and swift Indo-Pakistani War came to an end Dec. 16, just under two weeks after it began. As a result of the conflict, and the longer-running Bangladesh Liberation War that ended at the same time, East Pakistan became the independent nation of Bangladesh.

The French Connection, one of the great, gritty urban dramas of the ’70s, was atop the box office and gave rise to the gonzo catchphrase “Did you ever pick your feet in Poughkeepsie?” Also in theaters were the epic Nicholas and Alexandra, and the Disney musical Bedknobs and Broomsticks. But if you were a James Bond fan, you were very excited to see this trailer (we called them previews then):

Sean Connery was back — after a one-film hiatus — for the last (official) time as James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever, which was set to open Dec. 17. It’s one of the worst flicks in the entire franchise. (Sorry. If you disagree with me, I’m willing to wager that it was the first one your father took you to.)

On Dec. 10, by the way, a little production company called Lucasfilm was founded in San Rafael, California.

All in the Family led the Nielsens, as it typically did, followed by The Andy Williams Show and the special, Bing Crosby and the Sounds of Christmas, featuring the eternally off-key Robert Goulet.

Sly & The Family Stone’s Family Affair was the best-selling single — from the No. 1 album There’s a Riot Goin’ On — but also on the airwaves was John and Yoko’s Happy Xmas (War is Over), which was released earlier in the month. It wasn’t a hit — it topped out at No. 38 — but it has since become one of the great Christmas anthems. No. 2 on the Billboard 200? Led Zeppelin IV. Lennon’s Imagine was at No. 9, sandwiched between two Carole King LPs — Music and Tapestry.

And so this is Christmas (War is over)… And what have we done? (If you want it)…

Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

Conan the Barbarian #14, Marvel. One of the best-known Conan tales in the Marvel oeuvre. (I just like saying oeuvre.) A classic by Roy Thomas, Michael Moorcock, Barry Windsor-Smith and Sal Buscema.

Justice League of America #96, DC. Every issue of Justice League should have a floating-head roll call down the left rail. And if it’s a JSA team-up, there should be floating heads down both sides. WHO’S WITH ME?

Marvel Tales #34, Marvel. I’ll always have a soft spot for the second Vulture, with the weird headpiece, because of the 1967 cartoon. “Spiiiider-MAN!”

Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery #39, Gold Key. I’ve never read this but I would really like to know just what the hell is going on here, thanks to the bananas George Wilson cover. (I can’t wait for that Wilson book to come out.)

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

Amazing Adventures #11, Marvel. The debut of my favorite version of the Beast!

Superman from the ’30s to the ’70s, Crown. This book and its Batman counterpart were the Rosettta Stones of my childhood. To this day, most everything I know about Superman and Batman came from my constant rereading of these two collections.

Dan adds: Pretty much what Scott said. I definitely favored the Batman edition, of course, but the Superman book was essential to my learning about the Man of Steel.

Superman #248, DC Comics. Superman covers in the early ’70s tended to have Superman getting yelled at a lot.

The Witching Hour #19, DC Comics. Outstanding Nick Cardy cover here.


— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Dec. 6 — in 1988! Click here.

— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Nov. 29 — in 1969! Click here.

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Wow! I remember a lot of the covers! And I still have the Superman book! (Didn’t get it until later!)

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  2. I used to have Batman: From the ’30s to the ’70s, Superman: From the ’30s to the ’70s, and Shazam! From the ’40s to the ’70s. Truth be told, the Shazam! book was my favorite of the three.

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  3. I still have my copies of Superman From the 30’s to the the 70’s, as well as the Batman and Shazam (Captain Marvel) books as well. I found them at a small book store in Vancouver and managed to pay for them with money from my paper route.

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  4. Those introductions in the Superman and Batman books by E. Nelson Bridwell were very informative and they provided a pretty good overview of their comics from the 30s to early 70s. Wonder if anyone has ever considered doing second volumes from the 70s to the present. Any suggestions for which stories might be included, Dan?

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  5. As off-key as Robert Goulet may have been, I think he would’ve made a much better Minstral than Van Johnston’s even more off-key speak-singing!

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