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

Hitting up the comics racks — 44 years ago!

When Diamond ceased shipping because of the coronavirus, we decided to keep our weekly HOT PICKS going but with a twist: Instead of Scott Tipton and me picking the books for the current week in 2020, we’ve been picking titles from the same week — but decades earlier.

Well, Diamond is back for those shops able to operate, and so we’ve resumed our regular HOT PICKS. (Click here.) But due to popular demand, we’ve decided to keep RETRO HOT PICKS going as its own feature! Regular HOT PICKS runs Mondays and RETRO HOT PICKS runs Wednesdays.

Now, last time in RETRO HOT PICKS, it was books that went on sale the week of June 10, 1971. (Click here to check it out.) This time, it’s the week of June 17, 1976. (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 June 14 and June 20.)

So let’s set the scene: Republican Gerald Ford was running for re-election and would ultimately face Democrat Jimmy Carter for the presidency. Midway, starring an all-star cast led by Charlton Heston and Henry Fonda, was a box-office smash. All in the Family was still a big hit on TV. And Wings’ Silly Love Songs sat atop the Billboard 100.

Far out.

Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

The Joker #9, DC. This series was really strange: Because of the Comics Code, the Clown Prince of Crime had to be foiled at the end of every story. So with that tension gone, the series basically was an excuse to have the Joker face off against various DC heroes and villains. The first issue was terrific but the run turned pretty campy after that. This was the final issue — but if you want a real corker, check out the “lost” Joker #10 that wasn’t published until last year. It is off-the-hook wacky — with a cameo by Elton John as Lucifer. (Click here for more on that madness.)

Scott adds: This short-lived Joker solo series has become almost legendary in recent years, mostly just for novelty’s sake, but I can never resist a Bronze Age comic with Catwoman in this costume.

Marvel Treasury Special: Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles, Marvel. Come on, it’s only a few weeks until July 4 — how could you resist this? Jack Kirby, having returned to Marvel, sent Steve Rogers through the history of America, aided and abetted by a team of inkers and artistic collaborators, a who’s who of the Marvel Bullpen: John Romita, Marie Severin, Frank Giacoia, Barry Windsor-Smith, Herb Trimpe, John Verpoorten and Dan Adkins.

DC Super-Stars #7, DC. Is there a more summery superhero than Aquaman? I’d say not. A reprint collection starring the Swift and Powerful Monarch of the Ocean, his enemies and his allies.

Star Trek #39, Gold Key. By the way, you want wacky? Gold Key’s Star Trek series largely bore only a passing resemblance to the show, which by this time was a big syndication hit after its three-year network run in the ’60s. Nevertheless, the comics are entertaining in their own, offbeat way. (Click here for more on the series.)

Jungle Action #23, Marvel. It’s a reprinted 1970 Daredevil story featuring Black Panther, by Roy Thomas, Gene Colan and Syd Shores. But it’s got one of the coolest Black Panther covers ever, by John Byrne and Dan Adkins.

Marvel Tales #71, Marvel. Also a reprint, natch, but this one is an all-time classic, featuring the death of Capt. Stacy, by Stan Lee, Gil Kane and John Romita.

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

Nova #1, Marvel. I could never find Nova issues on the spinner when I was a kid. I saw all the house ads in the other comics, but finding an issue of Nova was like finding a four-leaf clover. So frustrating.

Avengers #151, Marvel. One of my favorite “new-roster” issues, here’s where the Beast joins the team! Plus, look at that great ‘70s Kirby cover!

World’s Finest Comics #240, DC. To be absolutely honest, I have never read this issue and have no idea what transpires within. But there is absolutely no way I could have resisted this cover. What the devil is going on?


— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of June 10 — in 1971! Click here.

— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of June 3 — in 1986! Click here.

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. 11-year-old me devoured JOKER #9–the Aquaman DC SUPER-STARS and WORLD’S FINEST too. Can’t remember the WFC storyline…read it again a year or so ago too but the old memory isn’t as good as it used to be.

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  2. Re: World’s Finest 240
    My 11-year-old self was not able to resist when this issue came out, I reacquired this issue a few years ago, and I could not resist re-reading it to remind myself what the devil was going on. It is head-spinningly, terrifically, INSANE.

    Each page of this issue has enough lunacy to make a fascinating commentary, but just to explain the cover: Superman is King of Kandor because the bottle city had fallen into “evil times” — essentially, pestilence and civil war, explained in a single panel! So Kandor urged Superman to become their King and solve all their problems. But an evil super-intelligent cat from the Fortress of Solitude’s interplanetary zoo escapes, and uses a mind-altering ray that turns Superman into a Jekyll-Hyde personality. Because of all the havoc that the evil Superman personality causes on Earth, President Ford and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev (this was 1976) give Batman a joint order to execute Superman.

    I’ve read various write-ups on the goofiness of Bob Haney on “Brave and the Bold”, but the craziness of his “World’s Finest” issues seems a bit overlooked (except for maybe the Super-Sons stories). Bob Haney WF almost makes the Weisinger era seem subtle.

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