RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale This Week — in 1974!

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 Dec. 20, 1974.

Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of Dec. 13, 1971. 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. 17 and Dec. 23.)

So, let’s set the scene: Gerald Ford was president, having assumed office months earlier following the resignation of the disgraced Richard Nixon. On Dec. 19, Nelson Rockefeller was sworn in as his vice president. But the political sands were still shifting: Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter the week before announced he would seek the Democratic nomination in the 1976 election.

The Vietnam War was hurtling toward its end: North Vietnam had launched the Battle of Phước, the first part of a decisive military campaign that ultimately led to the fall of South Vietnam in 1975. The U.S. stayed out of it.

Helluva week for memorable movies: The very 1970s, star-studded The Towering Inferno, starring Steve McQueen and Paul Newman, was in theaters. Part of Irwin Allen’s disaster flick cycle, it was 1974’s highest-grossing film. Meanwhile, the extremely disturbing Death Wish was a big hit and other films floating around screens included The Longest Yard (the second-best football movie ever); Airport 1975; and the Trial of Billy Jack.

But you can forget about all of that: On Dec. 20, the epochal, seismic, magnificent The Godfather Part II — one of the absolute greatest movies ever made — was released.

And you can forget all about that too: Also on Dec. 20, The Man With the Golden Gun, starring Roger Moore and Christopher Lee, came out. My father took me to see it — possibly on its opening weekend, I’m really not sure — and thus began my five-decade love affair with all things 007.

All in the Family led the Nielsens because it almost always did when it was in its prime. New shows that fall included a whole slew that made a lasting impact, including The Rockford Files, Chico and the Man, Rhoda, Police Woman, Little House on the Prairie, Harry O… and Kolchak: The Night Stalker. The TV series Planet of the Apes also debuted that fall but while beloved for decades, it didn’t make it: The last episode was broadcast this week, on Dec. 20.

Two songs that could not be more different led the Billboard 100 — at the top was Harry Chapin’s heartfelt tear-jerker Cat’s in the Cradle, while at No. 2 was Carl Douglas’ outlandish Kung Fu Fighting. The kids in my second-grade class loved the latter.

Meanwhile, on the albums side of things, the chart leader was Greatest Hits by Elton John, which is, of course, tremendous. The runner-up was the Rolling Stones’ It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll, Mick Taylor’s last with the band. The album falls short of the band’s 1968-72 zenith but it’s still a solid rocker and worthy of the canon. And if you thought the video for 1981’s Start Me Up was campy, dig this hilarious bit on nonsense:

Would it satisfy ya, would it slide on by ya, would you think the boy is strange?

Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

Famous Monsters of Filmland #114 (Warren) and Monsters of the Movies #5 (Marvel). Have you seen Godzilla Minus One yet? If you haven’t, it lives up to the hype. Seriously. Actually, stop reading this now, go see it and come back and finish this column. Really. Get going!

World’s Finest #228, DC. The Super Sons! Co-starring Robin! By Bob Haney, Dick Dillin and Tex Blaisdell! All in a 100-page package. I mean, look at that assortment of reprints. That Haney Eclipso story has Alex Toth art, by the way.

The Brute #1, Atlas/Seaboard. Don’t forget the little comics company that couldn’t, despite all that talent. That’s a Dick Giordano cover, by the by.

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

Wacky Adventures of Cracky #10, Gold Key. Every couple of years an issue of Wacky Adventures of Cracky will show up on this list and I am unable to resist it, just for the title alone. I have never seen a copy, don’t know what it is, but if I ever stumble across an issue of Wacky Adventures of Cracky, rest assured: I’m buying it.

Captain Marvel #37, Marvel. Simple, elegant cover here from the legendary Gil Kane.

Jungle Action #14, Marvel. Sometimes the simplest cover ideas are the best.

Dan adds: Smack in the middle of Don McGregor’s epic run! Interiors by Billy Graham and Pablo Marcos.

Man-Thing #15, Marvel. The most startling slime-creature of all.

Plop! #10, DC. Love them or hate them, there was nothing else on the racks like a Basil Wolverton Plop! cover.


— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Dec. 13 — in 1971! Click here.

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

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. You are correct…“Godzilla Minus One” is an awesome movie…go see it while you can!

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  2. Ha, I got *both* Famous Monsters of Filmland #114 *and* Monsters of the Movies #5 back in the day. And they changed the course of my life. True story.

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