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

Scott and Dan hit up the comics racks from 51 years ago…

This week for RETRO HOT PICKS, Scott Tipton and I are selecting comics that came out the week of July 3, 1973.

Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of June 26, 1967. 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 June 30 and July 6.)

John Dean testifies, with his glamorous wife Maureen in the background

So, let’s set the scene: The Watergate scandal had hit a fever pitch and the nation was consumed by former White House lawyer John Dean’s testimony before the Senate Watergate Committee the week before. Seen as a hero to the republic by some and an opportunist by others, Dean — who had been granted immunity from prosecution — implicated President Richard Nixon in accusations of obstruction of justice.

He also revealed the existence of “Nixon’s Enemies List” of 20 people. The official purpose of the list would be to “screw” the president’s enemies with such maneuvers as IRS tax audits. (It would later emerge there was a much bigger “master list” of 220 people or organizations.)

The list, obtained by CBS journalist Daniel Schorr, who was on it, included an array of opponents, such as Leonard Woodcock, president of the United Auto Workers;  Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan; and… actor Paul Newman. (Schorr and Newman both later said it was their proudest achievement.)

Nixon on July 1, meanwhile, signed legislation prohibiting funding for the resumption of U.S. military activity in South Vietnam, North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia without Congressional approval. The only remaining operation was the U.S. Air Force bombing of Cambodia.

On July 4, a 25-year-old Englishwoman named Camilla Shand married British Army Major Andrew Parker Bowles, in a ceremony attended by the Queen Mother and by Princess Anne. More than 50 years later, she is now Queen Camilla, married to King Charles III.

The top movie in the U.S. was Roger Moore’s debut as James Bond in Live and Let Die. The eighth official film in the series, the entry is marked by Moore’s naturally charming performance and Paul McCartney’s spectacular title song (which entered the Billboard 100 this week at No. 69). The rest of the film, I gotta say, doesn’t age well. Other films on screens included Scarecrow, starring Gene Hackman and Al Pacino; The Friends of Eddie Coyle; and the limping Battle for the Planet of the Apes, which closed out the original film franchise not with a bang but a whimper.

Grindhouse culture was riding high (or low, depending on your perspective), with two Bruce Lee movies (The Big Boss aka Fists of Fury and Fist of Fury aka The Chinese Connection) drawing fevered eyes, as well as The Chinese Boxer/The Hammer of God, Shaft in Africa and Pam Grier’s Coffy, one of the era’s great blaxploitation films.

On July 1, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, starring Jeff Fenholt and Ben Vereen, closed on Broadway, after 711 performances.

On July 2, actress and World War II pin-up girl Betty Grable died of lung cancer at the age of 56.

It was rerun season but the No. 1 show in the Nielsens was The Streets of San Francisco, with other top shows including Barnaby Jones, Marcus Welby MD, The Bob Newhart Show, Hawaii Five-O, All in the Family and Kung Fu.

On July 2, though, Match Game ’73, the first revival of the old NBC game show, debuted on CBS. Hosted by leering Gene Rayburn, the original six panelists included Richard Dawson, Vicki Lawrence, Anita Gillette, Jack Klugman, Michael Landon and Jo Ann Pflug. It would soon become the highest-rated daytime TV show on U.S. television.

The Beatles dissolved three years earlier but their members — for the moment, Paul and George — dominated the charts. Beyond the bombastic Live and Let Die, Paul and his band Wings had the No. 3 single My Love and the No. 3 album Red Rose Speedway. Harrison, on the other hand, had the No. 1 album, Living in the Material World, which included the No. 4 single Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth). Compilation albums The Beatles 1967-1970 — aka the Blue Album — was at No. 8 and The Beatles 1962-1966 — aka the Red Album — was at No. 17. Honorary Beatle Billy Preston topped the Billboard 100 with Will It Go Round in Circles.

Other hit singles included Kodachrome by Paul Simon (No. 2); Bad, Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce (No. 5); and, Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple (No. 11). One of the era’s grandly preposterous novelty songs, Hocus Pocus by Focus was at No. 81 after a Top 10 stint earlier in the year.

There Goes Rhymin’ Simon was the No. 2 LP; Led Zeppelin’s fantastic Houses of the Holy was at No. 6. But one of the era’s defining albums, Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon was No. 4.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes: On July 3, at the end of his tour with the Spiders From Mars, David Bowie abruptly retired his Ziggy Stardust persona on stage at London’s Hammersmith Odeon, shocking the audience and surprising members of the band.

Scott Tipton, columnist, 13th Dimension

Superman #268, DC Comics. Wonderful Nick Cardy cover here.

Dan adds: DC’s half-hearted attempts to pair Superman and Batgirl always held more promise than payoff. But like Scott says, groovy cover.

Daredevil #104, Marvel. Honestly, you’d think Daredevil would be able to smell Kraven coming.

Marvel Super-Heroes #39, Marvel. Jacket and no pants is a weird look even for Namor.

Dan adds: Reprinted and altered from 1966’s Tales to Astonish #84.

Ghost Rider #2, Marvel. Marvel was much more chill about casually throwing around “Satan” in the 1970s.

Dan adds: Great cover by Gil Kane and Joe Sinnott!

Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

Mister Miracle #16, DC. Shilo Norman stars on one of Kirby and Royer’s creepier Fourth World covers (which is saying something).

The Brave and the Bold #109, DC. I have absolutely no data to back this up but I would swear to you that any time — and I mean any time — I look in a Brave and Bold back-issue bin, this issue is in there. Couldn’t tell you why. Just happens to be the case. It’s weird.

Just Married #97, Charlton. This was when Charlton was basically ripping off Bridget Loves Bernie with a lengthy, multi-issue story that chronicled the difficulties faced by young couple David (who is Jewish) and Eileen (who is Catholic).

Laugh #270, Archie. I appreciated that Archie showed off all parts of summer living. You never really went to the beach every day. Usually, you sweated around the neighborhood and dragged out the kiddie pool if you had one. (We were sprinkler kids.)

David Cassidy #14, Charlton. Wasn’t there some kind of rule that if David Cassidy’s picture was on something, girls had to buy it and boys had to make fun of it? Ah, the gender politics of early-1970s youth.


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

— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of  June 19 — in 1985! Click here.

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. If I was to pick 13 of my fan-favorite covers of The Brave & the Bold, that one would be at or near the top of my list.

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  2. The popularity of horror at the time is evident in even some of the superhero comics’ covers. Yeah, even if you don’t consider Kraven seemed to spend a lot of time around animals, he wears a fur, which Daredevil should have been able to smell.

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  3. I was on vacation in Vermont around this time and saw Ghost Rider #2 on the rack. In my early grade school years I was a complete wuss about anything supernatural, so I left it where I found it. Probably avoided some nightmares that evening. Impressive abs on Satan and his sidekick. What’s their exercise and diet plan?

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  4. A shout out to B&B 109 with its great JIm Aparo illustrative realism–and nice to see him render, and very well by the way, a Jack Kirby character. Great cover too! One of my prized issues in my B&B collection.

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  5. I wonder what Jack Kirby thought about DC using his characters in non-Kirby stories. I didn’t get the Demon issue of B&B (but loved the cover), but I did get the team-ups with Mister Miracle and Kamandi.

    And a big THANK YOU because I had always wondered about the “Hocus Pocus” song. I heard it on the radio years ago, but never got the song title or the artists’ names.

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  6. I was leaving Japan after having lived there for five years as a military dependent. I remember seeing the B&B cover in the Yokuska Air Base store. My mom gave me the Daredevil to read on the plane and the Superman comic was one of the first comics I saw when I got back to the states. Lots of memories!

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