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 June 21, 1974.

Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of June 14, 1990. 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 18 and June 24.)

So, let’s set the scene: Richard Nixon was still in the White House but the week before, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward’s landmark All the President’s Men, detailing their investigation into the Watergate scandal, was published. Time was running short for Tricky Dick: He’d resign in disgrace less than two months later.

The Lords of Flatbush, starring Sylvester Stallone, Perry King, Paul Mace and Henry Winkler, was tops at the box office for a one-week stay. Also in theaters, however, were The Exorcist and The Sting, both released the previous December. But opening June 20 was one of the greatest films of the era — the controversial Chinatown, starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway and directed by Roman Polanski.

Who loves ya, baby? It was rerun season but the top shows in America included Kojak, starring the never-not-cool Telly Savalas, Hawaii Five-O, All in the Family, The Waltons, Cannon, MASH, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Medical Center. All were on CBS.

It’s was definitely the mid-’70s: The No. 1 song on the Billboard 100 was Billy, Don’t Be a Hero, by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods. As a 7-year-old, I found it grating; today, I find it unlistenable. But why dwell on what we don’t like? At No. 6 was one of the great songs of the ’70s — Band on the Run by Paul McCartney and Wings. Every time it came on the radio, I’d wish the rest of the world would be quiet so I could hear every note and line. A seminal song in Young Dan’s life.

The best-selling album was Gordon Lightfoot’s Sundown, followed by Band on the Run. The Sting soundtrack was in third and the essential Elton John album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was at No. 9.

Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.

Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

Marvel Treasury Edition #1, Marvel. Best Spider-Man cover ever? You could certainly make the argument. Either way, this is one of the late John Romita’s greatest illustrations. Oh, and this just happens to be Marvel’s first treasury edition, to boot — a superb selection of stories and features. A must-have for every Spider-Man fan and one of my favorite comics of all time. (For much more on this fab ish, click here.)

The Avengers #127, Marvel. A Fantastic Four crossover — and the return of Ultron, courtesy of Steve Englehart, Sal Buscema, Joe Staton, John Romita and co.

Master of Kung Fu #20, Marvel. If you haven’t read any Moench/Gulacy Shang-Chi, go fix that. Really fun, James Bond-meets-martial arts flicks-meets the pulps. Big adventure.

OMAC #1, DC. Jack Kirby and one of the weirdest, most unsettling covers of the ’70s!

But that’s got nothing on the insane opening splash page:

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

Shazam! #14, DC Comics. I now have to find this at Comic-Con next month to find out why the Sivana Family has been turned into chickens.

Captain Marvel #34, Marvel. The beginning of the end for poor, doomed Mar-Vell…

Marvel Two-in-One #5, Marvel. Love me some old-timey Guardians of the Galaxy.

Wacky Adventures of Cracky #8, Gold Key. I’m including this because it may be the only time I ever get to type “Wacky Adventures of Cracky.”


— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of June 14 — in 1990! Click here.

— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of June 7 — in 1968! Click here.

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. This is one of my favorite time to read comic books. I can do without that People magazine cover though. Hee hee.

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  2. My dad bought me the Marvel Treasury Edition #1 just before we went on our summer vacation in Wildwood, NJ. I remember opening that giant comic on the floor of our motel room as soon as we checked in. Forget about boardwalk and beach; I had to read Spiderman in super-sized glory!

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  3. Oh, wow! I haven’t thought of Cracky in years! I read Golden Magazine a lot in the 60s and early 70s!

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  4. huh. #1 at the box office? I always had the perception that Lords of Flatbush was one of those under the radar movies that slowly built a bit of reputation over the years.

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    • I was surprised too. But it was weird back then. Because of release patterns (and other reasons), big movies would be at No. 1 for months, but others would sneak in.

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  5. Gold Key really pushed Cracky for a while, but I never actually saw an issue being read by anyone. And that OMAC issue hit me hard. I would have been 9 going on 10 at the time, and that first page disturbed me greatly for some reason. I bought this right before getting on the bus to go to a swimming pool in a neighboring town. I read it on the way there, on the way back and dozens of times in the days to follow. The weird part is that I looked for followup issues and never saw a one on any of our local comic spinner racks. But that first issue made me a Kirby and OMAC fan for life, the impression was so strong.

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