RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale This Week — in 1976!

Scott and Dan hit up the comics racks from 46 years ago!

This week for RETRO HOT PICKS, Scott Tipton and I are selecting comics that came out the week of Sept. 28, 1976.

Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of Sept. 21, 1970. 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 Sept. 25 and Oct. 1.)

So, let’s set the scene: It was the stretch drive of the presidential race. Incumbent Republican Gerald Ford and Democratic challenger Jimmy Carter had their first debate the week before and their second debate (of three) would be the next week. Ford made a huge gaffe when he said in the second debate that “there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford administration.” (Carter would win in November.)

The top movie at the box office was an erotic version of Alice in Wonderland, in its 13th week on the charts. Never even heard of it until now.

On TV, Happy Days was in the midst of a three-week run at No. 1, thanks to the three-part epic introducing Pinky Tuscadero, Fonzie’s former love. This was a Big Deal to us kids (and evidently the rest of viewing America).

Play That Funky Music by Wild Cherry led the Billboard 100. If that wasn’t enough to scratch your disco itch, A Fifth of Beethoven, Disco Duck and (Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty were all in the Top 10. Seventies rock staple Frampton Comes Alive, meanwhile, topped the album charts.

Play that funky music right.

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

Action Comics #466, DC Comics. As much as I want to focus on Lex Luthor’s badass 1970s costume, it’s hard to get past the fact that he’s PUNCHING A BABY WITH BRASS KNUCKLES.

Dan adds: One of the most subversive covers of the Bronze Age. Still amazed Neal Adams and co. got away with it.

Fantastic Four #177, Marvel. I never understood the Kirby re-design for Sandman with that weird mask. It’s like he’s got a jockstrap on his head.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #1, Marvel. The Tarantula has pointy shoes, man.

Dan adds: I always dug the Tarantula. Liked the outfit, the pointy shoes, the whole bit. He seemed appropriately dangerous but just never was able to make that leap to the A-List.

Detective Comics #466, DC Comics. There’s the bottom of the barrel of Batman’s Rogues Gallery, and then 6 feet below that there’s Signalman.

Dan adds: No, Scott, no! I won’t hear of it! Signalman rocks! One of the grooviest two or three villains to come out of the late-’50s/early-’60s wacky Batman era. So what if his gimmick was kinda broad — he had spectacular threads! We need more Signalman, I tell you, not less!

Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

Adventures on the Planet of the Apes #11, Marvel. Such a coincidence. Last week’s RETRO HOT PICKS featured Gold Key’s adaptation of Beneath the Planet of the Apes. This week, we’ve got the finale of Marvel’s version, which originally appeared in the publisher’s black-and-white mag. I really wish this color reprint series had completed all five films but this was the last issue. Alas. (An omnibus is coming, by the by.)

2001: A Space Odyssey #1, Marvel. One of the more offbeat ’70s comics. The movie came out eight years earlier and Jack Kirby’s vision was quite different from director Stanley Kubrick’s. It’s definitely worth your time to track down. Also, click here for an entertaining INSIDE LOOK.

Teen Titans #45, DC. I have a soft spot for this relatively brief Titans revival. That’s not to say it’s all that great. Just that I enjoy it despite its weaknesses. (Loved Teen Titans West when they showed up, though!)

Amazing World of DC Comics #13, DC. Still waiting for DC to do an omnibus of the whole 17-issue series. It’ll almost certainly never happen but I live in hope.


— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Sept. 21 — in 1970! Click here.

— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Sept. 14 — in 1982! Click here.

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Totally agree with you about Tarantula, Dan!

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  2. Love the Tarantula and agree with you on the Amazing World of DC comics.

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  3. Three comments about this retro hot picks post!

    1. I LOVE that “Action Comics” issue! Luthor’s awesome costume, and the gimmick behind the story! (But let’s be fair; whether by Adams or Swan, the “kid” superheroes are mostly drawn to be probably about 5-10 years old. STILL child abuse, but not as severe as baby abuse. 😉 )

    2. When I think of that Sandman mask, I think of Aldo Montoya “The Portuguese Man-of-War” from 90’s WWF.

    3. Tarantula was a long-time favorite of mine! It’s a sharp costume, and it serves kinda-sorta as a “mirror” spider-themed villain for Spider-Man! I kind of wish he had gone to bigger and better places. But then again, when you’re not illustrated by McFarlane…

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  4. This week fell early in my comics fandom, and it’s a testament to either my limited budget or the vagaries of comics distribution at the time that Peter Parker #1 was the only issue I picked up that week, even though I was dialed-in to Detective, Teen Titans and Fantastic Four at the time. (I hadn’t yet become jaded about the Frightful Four, whose appearances must’ve sold books but whom I’d come to view as deeply lame.)

    That Aragonés AWODCC cover is great. I recognize almost every character he’s spoofing, but I’m at a loss about the three gangster-y looking guys in hats, suits and striped ties, whose leader(?) appears to have spiked the “Amazing World of” “balloon.” Can anyone identify them? Thanks.

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    • I think those three are Winken, Blinken and Nod, comic relief sidekicks for the Golden Age Flash.

      And if my memory is correct, that issue of Detective had a “Calculator” back-up story that eventually led to Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin getting the lead feature gig.

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      • You are correct on the Calculator and I am kicking myself for failing to mention it. I got caught up in the Signalman War.

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      • Thanks for the heads-up on W, B & N, Rudy.

        I loved those Calculator stories. I kicked myself for missing the first installment, and guess I missed this one, too.

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  5. Please add me to the Tarantula fan club. It’s a shame that Roger Stern, who could make any B-list villain cool and interesting, basically killed him off in his Amazing Spider-Man run.

    My introduction to Sandman was in that FF issue and the one that followed. I loved that costume! To the point where when I later discovered the original Ditko design, I was unimpressed. A shirt and pants are not a costume! (torn purple pants, maybe…)

    I was one of those heretics who wasn’t a big fan of Jack Kirby 70s interior art, being young and unfamiliar with his overall significance. But his covers sure did pop! It’s nice that, while he wasn’t getting much love for the titles he was writing, drawing and editing, they were still wise enough to use him as a go-to cover artist for multiple titles. Perez, Cockrum, and Kirby did all my favourite Marvel covers from the 70s.

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  6. Great list! I agree that Titans revival was fun. I wish Irv Novick had stayed on the title – the art was pretty inconsistent after he left. Great Neal Adams cover on that issue of Action! And Spectacular Spider-Man was a classic!

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  7. I read the reprint of Signalman’s first appearance when I was a kid. To this day, I cannot pass a newly-constructed building without looking to see if it has a little evergreen on top to show that “it has grown.” A fact I first heard from The Signalman!

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  8. Signalman is one of favorite C-List villains.
    Thank You Len Wein for bringing him back and then thanks to Gerry Conway for using Signalman in Justice League of America #195-197.

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