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

With most new comics on hold, Scott and Dan pick the titles they would have been looking forward to — decades ago…

With new print comics mostly on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic (click here), we’ve pivoted to picking comics from the same week — decades ago.

Last time, it was books that went on sale the week of April 29, 1984. (Click here to check it out.) This time, it’s the week of May 6, 1974. (Keep in mind that comics came out on multiple days back then. So these are technically the comics that went on sale between May 3 and May 9.)

So, let’s set the scene: Richard Nixon was still president — but would resign in a few months; The Lords of Flatbush — with a pre-Rocky Sylvester Stallone — had just been released in theaters; All in the Family was a TV ratings juggernaut; and, Grand Funk Railroad’s cover of Little Eva’s The Loco-Motion (written by monster hitmakers Gerry Goffin and Carole King) was at the top of Billboard.

One thing to note. There are quite a number of major releases this week — and as it happened, Scott and I found ourselves picking many of the same books. That’s a testament to that week’s selection.

Right on.

Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

The Amazing Spider-Man #135, Marvel. There will be those who consider this sacrilege but I’m of the mind that nobody has ever written Spider-Man better than Gerry Conway and this issue is in the thick of the web-slinger’s greatest arc — from the Death of Gwen Stacy to the revelation that Harry Osborn has become the new Green Goblin. This is one of the first Spider-Man comics I ever got, with its evocative John Romita cover and great interior art by Ross Andru and Frank Giacoia. This is gold.

Scott adds: This was when writer Gerry Conway and artist Ross Andru really started hitting their stride on Spider-Man. You have, I think, only the second appearance of the Punisher, the origin of the Tarantula (one of my favorite Spidey villains of the ‘70s), and an increasingly addled Harry Osborn discovering that his roommate is secretly Spider-Man, the man he holds responsible for the death of his father. I mean, just look at that shot of crazy Harry on the cover! Brrrrrrr.

Limited Collectors’ Edition #C-29, DC. Joe Kubert’s Tarzan art was not just some of the greatest of the Bronze Age — it was some of the greatest of his storied career. And in tabloid size! This is also an early example of a de facto trade collection too — the story is a five-issue arc originally pubbed in standard size the year before.

Scott adds: Another of DC’s oversized treasury editions, this one was a must-have just to be able to enjoy that amazing Joe Kubert artwork at a much bigger reproduction size.

Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm #21, Charlton. I used to watch this cartoon on Saturday mornings so there’s always the chance I woulda grabbed this off the spinner rack.

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

Captain America #176, Marvel. Another landmark issue! This one kicked off the famous Secret Empire arc, in which Steve Rogers becomes disillusioned with the state of the nation and relinquishes his uniform and title as Captain America, choosing instead to become Nomad, the man without a country. While the writing by Steve Englehart is a little preachy and stilted from a modern viewpoint, the ideas remain as strong as ever, and Sal Buscema’s art really sells it.

Dan adds: The first Captain America comic I ever got. I admit that at the age of 7, I didn’t entirely understand the concept of a disenchanted Captain America but obviously 1974 would have been a helluva time to be Steve Rogers. The art’s by Sal Buscema and Vince Colletta, with another classic Romita cover. But the heart is, naturally, Steve Englehart’s politically loaded Secret Empire storyline. (Click here for Englehart’s guest column on the issue — and its aftermath.)

Famous First Edition #C-30: Sensation Comics #1, DC. These treasury-sized reprints of significant first issues from DC were ubiquitous in the 1970s; seemed like every used bookstore, garage sale, rummage sale and flea market had a giant stack of ‘em. This one was particularly good, with not just Wonder Woman’s first full appearance but also the origins of Mr. Terrific, Wildcat and Little Boy Blue.

Giant-Size Man-Thing #1, Marvel. The comic book whose title launched a million jokes…

Dan adds: Because how could I not?

Walt Disney: Huey, Dewey and Louie — Junior Woodchucks #27, Gold Key. Not much to say about this one, except that I definitely had this comic as a kid, and whatever trouble the nephews got into within these pages, I’ll bet cash money they used their Junior Woodchuck Guidebook to get out of it.


— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of April 29 — in 1984! Click here.

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

Primary source: Mike’s Amazing World of Comics

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Nice to see that an issue of the old “Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm” comic series made the list.

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  2. The Sensation and Tarzan treasuries are awesome, no doubt about it. 1974 pre-dated my collecting but I’ve added those to my collection.

    I love the Spider-Man cover and first remember seeing it as a Mead notebook in the 1970s. It continues the spider or webbing image to showcase multiple scenes that Ditko introduced on ASM 31.

    Does anyone know if the central Spider-Man images pre-dates the cover? I remember seeing it on a lot of merchandising, not just the Mead products with this cover, in the 1970s.

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  3. Dan,
    I’ve been a regular visitor to your website for several years now, and Monday’s hot picks is one of the first things I check out when I get a chance on Monday morning.
    I love the regular hot picks column, and I love this new retro hot picks column. Any chance you’ll run both once regular publishing picks up again? Just a thought.
    Thanks for all the great reading!

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  4. Wow- month 2 of my collecting comics. April ’74 is when 6 year old me went to store and bought 5 comics for a dollar. I have just about all off the books from that month now (all DC, and most Marvels, and a few of the others)…It is a real treat seeing the next month, which I haven’t actively collected and displayed as a “month” like I did “April 1974”. Lots of great memories! Thanks Dan!

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