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 Dec. 29, 1973.

Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of Dec. 22, 1980. 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. 26, 1973, and Jan. 1, 1974.)

So, let’s set the scene: Richard Nixon was in his aborted second term; he wouldn’t make it through 1974, thanks to his role in the Watergate scandal. Papillon was tops at the box office but The Exorcist, a pop-culture touchstone, came out this week and would go on to dominate the box office through March. Ratings for the week aren’t readily available but All in the Family, The Waltons, Sanford and Son and MASH were among the most popular shows on TV.

Time in a Bottle by Jim Croce, who died in a September 1973 plane crash, was No. 1 on the Billboard 100. Elton John’s classic, two-disc Goodbye Yellow Brick Road — featuring wildly popular tunes like Bennie and the Jets, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting, Candle in the Wind and Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding — was the best-selling album.


Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

Batman #255, DC. Fans know Len Wein’s Moon of the Wolf is considered one of the best Batstories of the 1970s but they often forget that this was Neal Adams’ swan song on the Darknight Detective (for a long time anyway). But what a way to go out: Adams, inked by Giordano, took what was an already compelling script and elevated it to a classic. (Wein was a big fan of Professor Milo.) There’s also a great line-up of reprints, including The First Batman, from 1956’s Detective Comics #235. That story made not only a huge impression on me, but also on a Mr. Grant Morrison, who used it as a major springboard for his critically acclaimed Bat-run.

Scott adds: Moon of the Wolf was later adapted (and quite well, may I add) by Wein himself for Batman The Animated Series, with Harry Hamlin providing the voice for the Olympic athlete turned reluctant werewolf.

FOOM #4, Marvel. FOOM goes Doom, complete with a Kirby cover! (Still waiting for collections of FOOM and Amazing World of DC Comics. Unfortunately, I think the wait will be endless.)

Action Comics #433, DC. I’ve never read this comic. So why am I picking it? Because of the negative image on the Nick Cardy cover — a bit of artistic trickery that always captures my eye. It’s not the same as having floating heads but it’s still pretty dang cool.

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

Adventure Comics #432, DC Comics. The Spectre tales by Michael Fleisher and Jim Aparo are legendarily creepy, a high-water mark for the character.


Captain America #172, Marvel. Man, the Falcon does not look happy here.

X-Men #87, Marvel. It’s so weird to think that at this time in Marvel’s history, X-Men was such a low priority for them that they were just reprinting old issues from the Sixties.

Dan adds: This one reprints 1967’s X-Men #39, in which the mutants get groovy new threads. I’m glad Marvel had the good taste to use George Tuska’s cover a second time, because it rocks. 


— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Dec. 22 — in 1980! Click here.

— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Dec. 15 — in 1972! Click here.

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Hello,
    I love these retro hot pics.
    Really cool how you set the scene with what was going on in the world with he popular music as well as the popular Movies and TV shows, gives fun insight to the times.
    Thank you for your fun site. Hope you have a good 2022

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    • Thanks! That means a lot! My wife, Wendy, deserves the credit for the whole Retro Hot Picks concept!

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  2. I agree with Scott. The Fleisher/Aparo version of the Spectre is the best ever! I would have a tough time deciding what to read first, Batman 255 or the Spectre in Adventure! Happy New Year! Thanks for all the work you put into the site.

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  3. I wonder if Len was inspired to bring back CRAZY QUILT after seeing this CQ reprint story in #255.
    Len brought back CQ in Batman #316.

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  4. Nice idea, almost like going to the newsstand. I was 11 in ’73, I remember picking up Cap #172 and wondering what that was around Banshee’s mouth on the cover, lol, gotta love Gil Kane covers. Fortunately the interiors clarified what the cover represented, and yes, the Falcon does not look happy at all.

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