Scott and Dan hit up the comics racks from 43 years ago!
This week for RETRO HOT PICKS, Scott Tipton and I are selecting comics that came out the week of Dec. 30, 1977.
Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of Dec. 23, 1984. Click here to check it out.
(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 Dec. 27 and Jan. 2.)
So let’s set the scene. Jimmy Carter was near the end of his first year in the White House. It was a helluva month to go to the movies: New releases in December 1977 included the era-defining Saturday Night Fever, as well as one of Mel Brooks’ funniest ever, High Anxiety. (By the way, you should check out the new Bee Gees doc How Can You Mend a Broken Heart on HBO. It’s terrific.) But guess what you could also see at the multiplex the last week of the year: Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Wars — which was still in first release!
Laverne & Shirley was TV’s ratings monster. The Bee Gees’ How Deep Is Your Love off the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack was the No. 1 single. Simple Dreams by Linda Ronstadt was the top-selling album but within weeks, Saturday Night Fever would hit No. 1 and go on to become one of the best-selling albums of all time.
Can you dig it? I knew that you could.
Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension
Detective Comics #476, DC. It’s fitting that we end the year on this all-time classic. Why? Well, earlier in 2020, we published a lengthy, multipart interview with Steve Englehart in which he analyzed every issue of his Detective run (click here). In addition, the Batman: The Animated Series adaptation made this week’s BATMADNESS tournament Final Four (click here). As a Batman fan with about 48 years of Bat-reading under my utility belt, I can confidently say that this issue wrapped up the Caped Crusader’s most definitive run. There are certainly plenty of challengers, but this arc captures every thing you want: Batman in the prime of his career, faced with a litany of villains old and new while Bruce Wayne deals with one of the most compelling love affairs of his life.
Scott adds: How could we not mention this? The closing chapter of Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers’ The Laughing Fish, a story on most everyone’s list of the greatest Batman tales ever.
Super-Team Family #15, DC. Let’s face it: Random team-up books generally didn’t sell unless the biggest names were attached. But I still dug the idea of Super-Team Family, with it’s offbeat pairings like the Flash and the New Gods.
All-Star Comics #71, DC. I was a huge Huntress fan and I still think the only version that really works is the daughter of the Earth-Two Batman and Catwoman.
Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #16, Marvel. Beetlemania!
The Great Superman Book, Macmillan. I didn’t actually have this book but I did have Michael L. Fleisher’s Batman version and my lord did I dive deep into that one. Still have a copy. Any of these are still worth tracking down.
Power Records, PR-33, 34 and 35. A three-fer of Superman and Wonder Woman were released! Right on.
Scott Tipton, contributor-at-large, 13th Dimension
Action Comics #481, DC. Look at that sweet Supermobile cover by the legendary Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. I could never, ever pass up on a Supermobile story.
Marvel Team-Up #67, Marvel. Before Chris Claremont and John Byrne set the world on fire over on Uncanny X-Men, they had a great run of underappreciated gems with Spidey on Marvel Team-Up, like this issue featuring Tigra. Around this time, she pretty much only appeared in team-up books like this or the Ben Grimm-fronted Marvel Two-In-One.
— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Dec. 23 — in 1984! Click here.
— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Dec. 16 — in 1978! Click here.
Primary sources: Mike’s Amazing World of Comics, the Grand Comics Database.
December 30, 2020
Got most of these off the stands when they came out–hard to think of that being so long ago, as some of those stories are still fresh in my mind!
December 30, 2020
I had most all of these with the exception of the Power Records and the Superman book. Man I would love to see that Bee Gees documentary but I don’t have HBO.
December 30, 2020
I really dig that Supermobile cover on “Action Comics.” Mr. Garcia-Lopez definitely nailed it there.
December 31, 2020
Yah, for my money, this was one of the highlights of the 70s in comics; the work by Englehart and Rogers. None of the other titles necessarily held my interest or have stuck with me as much as that Detective run has. This also puts me to mind about Richard Corben’s BLOODSTAR and I wondered if it was concurrent at all, but it came out in 1976, the year before: another comics highlight for me in the 70s.