RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale This Week — in 1973!

Scott and Dan hit up the comics racks from 48 years ago!

This week for RETRO HOT PICKS, Scott Tipton and I are selecting comics that came out the week of July 28, 1973.

Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of July 21, 1977. 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 July 25 and July 31.)

So let’s set the scene: Richard Nixon’s presidency was unraveling, though it would be another year before he resigned. On July 23, Nixon refused to turn over presidential tapes to the Senate Watergate Committee or the special prosecutor.

On a much more entertaining note, the big movie at the box office was Roger Moore’s debut as James Bond in Live and Let Die. (Though its run at the top was briefly interrupted this week by the martial arts flick Karado: The Kung Fu Flash. Quentin Tarantino should be proud.)


It was summer rerun doldrums, of course, but the biggest show on TV was All In the Family. (But you knew that.) Jim Croce’s eminently singable Bad, Bad Leroy Brown sat atop the Billboard 100. The rockingest song in the Top 10, though? Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water — which is also one of the rockingest songs of all time — at No. 4. The albums chart included many that have stood the test of time. The leader was Chicago VI but the runner-up was Pink Floyd’s era-defining The Dark Side of the Moon.

Far out.

Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

Batman #252, DC. I got this when it came out. It was at either the Collingwood Auction or Englishtown Auction in New Jersey. I was 6. There was a guy there who sold comics, among other stuff, and naturally this was the one at the top of my stack when I asked Mom and Dad, “Can I, please? Can I?” It was the debut of the Spook — a Batman villain who never really caught on but who was kinda cool. I found him to be unsettling when I was Young Dan. (UPDATED: Eagle-eyed reader Joseph Holmes points out that the Spook’s first appearance was in Detective #434, which came out months earlier. So this was his debut to me! Thanks, Joseph!)

Space Family Robinson #37, Gold Key. I got this — quite possibly on that same visit — because it invoked Lost In Space, even though I was quickly aware that the comic and show had virtually nothing to do with one another. (There’s a pretty interesting back story there, though.) The cover is by the great George Wilson, with interior art by Dan Spiegle.

Daredevil #105, Marvel. You know what the best job in the Marvel and DC universes is? Dentist. Because EVERYONE grinds and gnashes their teeth. Just look at this cover!

The Amazing Spider-Man #125, Marvel. I’m cheating here. This came out earlier in the month but it was still on sale, so I’m giving myself a break. If a Gerry Conway Spidey book was on the stands, it was must reading — and is must reading today. This was Part 2 of Man-Wolf’s first appearance — but far more importantly, Peter Parker was still reeling from the death of Gwen Stacy, which had only happened a few months before, in real time.

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

Detective Comics #437, DC. What a great cover. Jim Aparo at his moodiest.

Dan adds: For this brief moment in time, Jim Aparo was to be the regular Detective artist. This was when he was in his prime — inking and lettering his own work. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, which is too bad because Peak Aparo as the regular artist on a Batman ’70s solo series is one of the greatest things that never happened. Seriously, can you imagine? Just look at the page below. This issue is also notable for being the first in Archie Goodwin’s much-lauded run as Detective editor.

Supergirl #7, DC. There is no way I would have passed on a Supergirl/Zatanna teamup. In fact, I might have to go to eBay right now and see if I can find this.

Action Comics #428, DC. Early ‘70s Superman comics were very big on “high concept” covers like this. This one in particular has always intrigued me.


— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of July 21 — in 1977! Click here.

— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of July 14 — in 1987! Click here.

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. I’ll keep beating this drum. That very Detective Comics page is one that puts the stir and ache in me. It’s said that Aparo was somehow rumored to be considered to do a Spider-Man project. I don’t know if it’s he who expressed interest or if Marvel approached him, at any rate, I’ve heard it said and that it could have been a thing. Those angles, the storytelling, the energy, the reactions. It just screams Spider-Man What If? to me. Alas. Would’ve been cool.

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      • Never heard that one but it’s interesting. I’m not sure it’d be a good match, but Aparo could do just about anything.

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  2. I remember reading that Shooter once said there were only two DC artists he wanted to lure over to Marvel during is tenure: Aparo and Garcia-Lopez.

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  3. Great choices! The Nick Cardy cover for Action #428 is one of my favorites from the time. I’ve always felt like it was a sequel to the cover he did for Action #425 with a very similar group of kids.

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    • Action 428 had a story very similar to many others from years before — Luthor creates, I think, a satellite that makes everyone forget Superman, trying to drive him mad. I can think of similar stories in the ’60s in Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.

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  4. While we are playing what-if on the Detective Comics run, what if Archie Goodwin had stayed for more that 7 issues as editor? We would have had additional chapters of his Manhunter saga with Walt Simonson, several more inspired Goodwin Batman scripts accompanied by additional out-of-the-ordinary artistic choices (to go along with Aparo, Amendola, Toth and Chaykin). And likely 2 more 100 Page Super-Spectacular issues with classic reprints (matching the choices of Toth, Kubert, Ditko, Gil Kane, Simon & Kirby, Jerry Robinson, Jack Cole, etc) rather than the mostly-meh reprints found in #444 & #445 once Schwartz returned.

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  5. HI Dan,

    I really enjoy the site, so I’m hesitant to mention this. The Spook’s first appearance was in Detective 434. I’m going to no prize it for you. This was the Spook’s first appearance in Batman. Sigh, I hate how nerdy I am.

    Lots of really great covers. As always, thanks for the fun site.

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    • Oh, that’s OK. Always best to be correct! Thanks for pointing that out. I guess I can say this was the Spook’s first appearance to me! Thanks!

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  6. I loved The Spook. I can remember buying these issues off the spinner of the Read More in Oscoda, Michigan back in the day.

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