Scott and Dan hit up the comics racks from 49 years ago!
This week for RETRO HOT PICKS, Scott Tipton and I are selecting comics that came out the week of March 24, 1972.
Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of March 17, 1986. Click here to check it out.
(Keep in mind that comics came out on multiple days back then — as has become the case now. So these are technically the comics that went on sale between March 21 and March 27.)
So let’s set the scene: Richard Nixon was up for re-election. In about three months, operatives would break into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex, beginning a slow build to Nixon’s 1974 resignation. One of the greatest movies of all time — possibly the greatest — went into wide release this week: The Godfather. Except for one week in the summer, the film would top the box office deep into September. (What was that one week? Butterflies Are Free was No. 1 the week of Aug. 30.)
I couldn’t find Nielsen ratings for the week but All In the Family was dominant on television, as we’ve seen in other ’70s RETRO HOT PICKS entries. Calling that show a pop-culture phenomenon doesn’t really cover it. Other popular shows included The Flip Wilson Show, Gunsmoke, Marcus Welby, M.D. and Sanford and Son. America’s A Horse With No Name was the best-selling single. That’s fine and all but the runner-up was Neil Young’s Heart of Gold — still my favorite from the legendary artist. The pattern repeated itself on the album chart, with America’s America at No. 1 and Young’s Harvest at No. 2.
Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension
This is one of those weeks that didn’t really have a ton of new comics, so we’re also picking issues that came out earlier in the month, because you could still grab them the week of the 24th. Why are we bending the rules? Because in my research I figured out March 1972 might be the first time my parents bought me a stack of comics (either at the Englishtown Auction or Collingwood Auction in New Jersey). I’m 99 percent certain these were not my first comics but they were among the earliest. I was 5.
Marvel Tales #35, Marvel. At this point, the only Marvel character who interested me was Spider-Man. (Hey, I’m not even sure I understood the difference between DC and Marvel yet). Anyway, I got this issue and, as it happens, I recently re-read the story in an Epic Collection. This is prime web-slinger action by Lee and Romita from 1967.
X-Men #76, Marvel. I had no idea who the X-Men were but their name kind of creeped me out. I also have no idea why I got this (a reprint, btw) but it might have been a case of “Want. More. Comics.” (There’s a chance someone actually gave me this one instead.)
Batman #241, DC. Now this I knew I wanted. Obviously. It was BATMAN. “At Dawn Dies Mary MacGuffin” is an entertaining Denny O’Neil potboiler, with art by Irv Novick and Dick Giordano. But, man that cover by Neal Adams (with Bernie Wrightson inks)! One of the most enduring Batman images of the ’70s. (Released March 14.)
World’s Finest #211, DC. The cover (also by Adams) sold this one for me — Superman can’t fly but Batman can? Whaaaaaa? Not long after getting this, I had the cover hanging on my bedroom wall. I was a long way from bags and boards. (Released March 9.)
Scott Tipton, contributor-at-large, 13th Dimension
Hero For Hire #1, Marvel. This was a big one. Although Marvel had introduced Black characters in the past, Luke Cage was the first to be given a debut as a lead, not first appearing as an adversary, guest star or sidekick in an established book. With Blaxploitation films packing theaters at the time, Marvel decided to try to take advantage of the trend and capture some of that energy, and successfully so.
Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #122, DC. Sure, Lois Lane is a Pulitzer-Prizewinning journalist, but I do sometimes doubt her fashion sense. Is that a necktie with a miniskirt? (Dan adds: Lois was dang stylish, I say!)
Avengers #100, Marvel. There would have been no way I could have passed this issue up, even with Hawkeye wearing his worst costume ever. (Released March 14.)
Our Fighting Forces #137, DC Comics. Usually I’m not a big fan of speech balloons on covers, but Joe Kubert was one of the few artists who always made it work. (Released March 7.)
— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of March 17 — in 1986! Click here.
— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of March 10 — in 1982! Click here.