RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale This Week — in 1985!

Scott and Dan hit up the comics racks from 39 years ago…

This week for RETRO HOT PICKS, Scott Tipton and I are selecting comics that came out the week of June 19, 1985.

Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of June 12, 1975. 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 June 16 and June 22.)

So, let’s set the scene: It’s been called the world’s most famous photograph. The June 1985 issue of National Geographic featured the image of a 12-year-old girl with striking green eyes, an Afghan refugee in Pakistan during the Soviet-Afghan War. The photo was taken in 1984 and, once published, became an international sensation, humanizing the struggle of refugees in war-torn, impoverished regions of the world.

The girl, Sharbat Gula, wasn’t identified until 2002, 17 years after the photo first appeared. After the Taliban capture of Kabul in 2021, the Taliban threatened or intimidated high-profile women and the devout Muslim was evacuated to Italy, where she was granted refugee status.

In a 2022 interview with La Repubblica, she said: “That photo created a lot of problems for me. … I would have preferred it had never been taken. I remember that day well, that photographer who arrived at the Nasir Bagh camp school. I was a child. I didn’t like photos. In Afghan culture women do not appear in photos. But there wasn’t much choice.” On the other hand, she has also said that she’s happy the photo elicited global support for refugees.

The movie that defined the Reagan ’80s, Rambo: First Blood Part II, was a smash hit and pop culture flashpoint. The Sly Stallone shoot-’em-up broke box office records upon its release, though its reign at the top was relatively brief. The much sweeter Cocoon, released June 21, supplanted it at the top. (Wilford Brimley turned 50 while shooting the movie — seven years younger than I am right now. Good lord.)

Also in theaters were Roger Moore’s final go-around as 007, the regrettable A View to a Kill; cult-classic Fletch, starring the insufferable Chevy Chase; and, Prizzi’s Honor, with Jack Nicholson, Kathleen Turner and Anjelica Huston, in her star-making role. It was the last of director John Huston’s films to be released while he was alive.

It was rerun season but the top TV programs included The Cosby Show, Newhart, Kate & Allie, Family Ties and Cheers.

The Billboard 100 was about as ’80s as it got, with Heaven, by Bryan Adams atop the list, followed by Phil Collins’ Sussudio (No. 2); Everybody Wants to Rule the World, by Tears for Fears (No. 3); Prince’s Raspberry Beret (No.4); and A View to a Kill, by Duran Duran (No. 5).

The album chart was just as reflective of its time: the Beverly Hills Cop soundrack was No. 1, followed by Around the World in a Day, by Prince and the Revolution (No. 2); Phil Collins’ No Jacket Required (No. 3); Songs From the Big Chair by Tears for Fears (No. 4); the inescapable Born in the USA, by Bruce Springsteen (No. 5.); Reckless, by Bryan Adams (No. 6); Make It Big, by Wham! (No. 7); and Madonna’s controversial Like a Virgin (No. 8).

As it happens, I graduated high school this week and the seniors voted Simple Minds’ Don’t You (Forget About Me) from The Breakfast Club as the class song, which is probably what every Class of ’85 did.

Don’t blame me, though, I would have voted for Motorhead’s White Line Fever if the school administration hadn’t blocked it.

Scott Tipton, columnist, 13th Dimension

Superman Annual #11, DC. The best Superman story ever published? Has to be in the conversation. This classic by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons went on to be one of the best episodes of Justice League Unlimited, with an adapted script by J.M. DeMatteis.

Secret Wars II #3, Marvel. If you ask me, Secret Wars II was all downhill after the second issue, when Spidey taught the Beyonder how to poop.

Iron Man #198, Marvel. I really enjoyed this period of Iron Man, when Rhodey still had possession of the classic red-and-gold armor and wouldn’t give it up, so a newly sober Tony Stark had to fly around in the original bulky Mark I suit.

The Defenders #147, Marvel. Not the biggest fan of late-period Defenders once Angel, Iceman and Beast showed up and kinda took over the book, but they did consistently have some great covers. (This one by Frank Cirocco.)

Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

Swamp Thing #40, DC. And don’t forget that while writing classics like For the Man Who Has Everything, Alan Moore was redfining Swamp Thing for the ages.

Fantastic Four #282, Marvel. Sue has had it with Reed putting her needs second — and tells him so in no uncertain terms. Sue’s right, as always, except that coif is very, very wrong. Byrne and Ordway at the controls.

Official Marvel Index to the Amazing Spider-Man #6, Marvel. I should really track these down. This ish features Amazing Spider-Man #138 through #155 and Giant-Size Spider-Man #1-6. In other words, the end of Gerry Conway’s era-defining run.

Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe, Vol. VII, DC. From Doctor Psycho to Fastback.


— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of June 12 — in 1975! Click here.

— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of  June 5 — in 1960! Click here.

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. This list made me feel young again! Great memories of enjoying my summer after my freshman year of college

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  2. Yeah this brought back a lot of good memories
    Summer of 1985 was great. Thanks for this post.

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  3. I am Marvel through and through, but that Superman annual is one of my favourite comics of all time…also I loved Ordway inking Byrne on FF. Prince at the top of his game and Simple Minds big breakthrough hit…it was all arena/Stadium tours after this…still love them to this day, but my home town band’s best stuff was now behind them…for me New Gold Dream was their peak…

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  4. I loved the original Defenders. I am conflicted on the New Defenders run. I really liked seeing the original X-Men together again, but the cover art was always so great and the interior art was usually not to the same level.

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    • The Defenders #147 not only changed the title to Sgt Fury & His Howling Defenders on the cover but also in the indicia.

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