With new comics on hold, Scott and Dan pick the titles they would have been looking forward to — decades ago…
With new print comics 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 15, 1977. (Click here to check it out.) This time, it’s the week of April 22, 1980. (Keep in mind that comics came out on multiple days back then. So these are technically the comics that went on sale between April 19 and April 25.)
So, let’s set the scene: Jimmy Carter was president (Ronald Reagan was running for the Republican nomination); The Dukes of Hazzard was a TV hit; Kramer vs. Kramer was the big movie at the box office — though it would soon be supplanted by a little indie project called The Empire Strikes Back; and, Call Me was a huge hit for Blondie.
Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension
The Untold Legend of the Batman #1, DC. The first Batman miniseries ever condensed about 40 years of history into three issues, courtesy of Len Wein, John Byrne, Jim Aparo and cover artist Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. This stood as the definitive Batman origin story for several years, until Crisis came along. Still holds up today.
Scott adds: This was an example of a comic I could never find as a kid, but was burned into my brain by its appearance in countless house ads in the pages of DC Comics. The nice thing was, when I did finally get to read it years later, it didn’t disappoint. What a great series.
Detective Comics #492, DC. What a fun, underrated era of Detective Comics – after its merger with Batman Family. In this issue alone, there’s Batman teaming up with Batgirl, with art by Don Newton; a Robin vs. Penguin caper; a Man-Bat story from when he was a straight-up superhero; even Tales of Gotham City, about a bridge painter. For a buck. That is stone-cold value.
The Brave and the Bold #164, DC. You’d think he would have shown up more often, but Hawkman appeared in B&B only a few times. This is also during a time when the title featured different creative teams, in this case writer J.M. DeMatteis, penciller Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and inker Steve Mitchell. Jim Aparo – the artist most identified with the title — did the cover, natch.
Master of Kung Fu #90, Marvel. This is a total retroactive pick, for sure. At this point, 13-year-old Dan was pretty much only buying comics with a Batman connection. But if I’d had broader horizons, I definitely would have gone for Shang-Chi by Doug Moench, Mike Zeck and Gene Day.
Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #44, Marvel. I probably would have taken a shot at this one – by Marv Wolfman, Steve Leialoha and Al Gordon – too.
Scott Tipton, contributor-at-large, 13th Dimension
Marvel Team-Up #95, Marvel. I almost never passed up an issue of Marvel Team-Up on the spinner rack. This one happens to be the first appearance of Mockingbird (although not Bobbi Morse herself, who had previously been seen in a range of stories), and also features an early Frank Miller cover.
Superman Radio Shack Special, DC Comics. This was a comic book you couldn’t get at your local Quik Stop. I know, because I got mine at my local Radio Shack. This promotional comic basically turned Superman into a shill for the TRS-80 home computer. Some nice art by Jim Starlin, though.
Super Friends #34, DC Comics. Even though I recognized that the stories were simpler and the writing by longtime DC Comics editor/historian E. Nelson Bridwell was perhaps geared for younger readers, I would still often pick up issues of Super Friends just to enjoy that amazing art by Ramona Fradon.
— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of April 15 — in 1977! Click here.
— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of April 8 — in 1981! Click here.
Primary source: Mike’s Amazing World of Comics