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

Scott and Dan — with special guest Sandy Jarrell — hit up the comics racks from 46 years ago!

This week on RETRO HOT PICKS, our guest is Sandy Jarrell, one of the grooviest artists around. (Click here to check out some of his gorgeous recent work.)

Now, last time in RETRO HOT PICKS, it was books that went on sale the week of July 22, 1978. (Click here to check it out.) This time, it’s the week of July 29, 1974 — a week picked by Sandy himself.

(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 26 and Aug. 1.)

So let’s set the scene: Richard Nixon was in the final days of his presidency. He would resign Aug. 8, 1974. It was kind of a big deal. The controversial Death Wish unleashed a franchise for star Charles Bronson. It was summer rerun season but the most popular shows on TV included All in the Family and The Waltons. John Denver’s Annie’s Song topped the Billboard singles chart with Elton John’s Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me in the second slot. On the albums chart it was reversed: Elton’s Caribou was tops, while Denver’s Back Home Again was in the runner-up position. But if you ask me, Eric Clapton’s 461 Ocean Boulevard (the #5 album) was better than both.

Right on.

Sandy Jarrell, artist (Archie, DC, Marvel)

Action Comics #440, DC. I’ve got a huge soft spot for Superman stories from this period, but this one’s pretty unspectacular. It’s the Nick Cardy cover I specifically remember pulling my bike over halfway home from shopping just to gaze at. It still knocks me out.

From Sandy’s collection

Detective Comics #443, DC. Swell reprints, plus Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson’s Gotterdammerung, wrapping up the Manhunter saga with a Batman team-up. Also the last issue of Goodwin’s amazing editorial run, which also gave us Batman by Aparo, Chaykin, Amendola and Toth.

From Sandy’s collection

Dan adds: I’ve been doing a Silver and Bronze Age re-read and am really looking forward to revisiting these issues.

Tarzan #233, DC. Kubert’s Tarzan is the best Tarzan. Fight me. And eight pages of Alex Niño’s Korak is an A++ backup.

From Sandy’s collection

Dan adds: Peace, brother. I’m right there with you.

Hulk #181, Marvel. Passed on this one, heard it’s OK.

Not from Sandy’s collection

Scott adds: First appearance of Wolverine! Probably the comic I’ve bought and sold and bought and sold the most over the years.

Dan adds: I have the Facsimile Edition. Does that count?

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

Secret Origins #7, DC. A comic I could never resist as a kid. I was just drawn to that logo like a moth to flame.

From Sandy’s collection

Sandy adds: I was a sucker for Golden Age reprints even as an infant.

Dan adds: I’m fairly certain I had this. And, hey, I had the Megos too!

Tomb of Dracula #26, Marvel. Even as young as I was, I knew that when I looked through an issue of Tomb of Dracula, it was something special. So much moodier than anything else on the racks, and genuinely creepy.

Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

Pep #294, Archie. I have no idea if I read this issue or not but this is the summer I met Paul Kessin at summer camp and we became fast friends. I learned about Archie through Paul and his sister Nina, so it’s entirely plausible that I’ve read this. Either way, it’s summertime and Archie represent!

My other picks have been noted already but I do want to add that this was a helluva time for comics for me. I’m pretty sure this was around the first time I went to a comics shop (with Paul), in Highland Park, N.J. and there are A LOT of favorites that came out this month and early August. But to name them would be cheating, so I guess they’ll just have to wait until another time. (Hint: The Brave and the Bold, Amazing Spider-Man and a Superman treasury were big hits with me.)


— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of July 22 — in 1978, with CHRIS RYALL! Click here.

— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of July 15 — in 1972, with FRED VAN LENTE! Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Good times. I had just moved to Berlin, Germany and had started getting comics two month before, as I was done with school and the other American kids had a few weeks left, and my Mom wanted to entertain me. That Action cover just radiates off the newsstand.

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  2. A great time for comics artistically – the early Bronze Age. In general sales were in free fall relative to the Silver Age, at least at DC which of course would culminate in the Implosion in 1978.

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  3. Oh, Archie… you are a cut-up!

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