RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale This Week — in 1986!

Scott and Dan hit up the comics racks from 36 years ago!

This week for RETRO HOT PICKS, Scott Tipton and I are selecting comics that came out the week of Oct. 26, 1986.

Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of Oct. 19, 1971. 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 Oct. 23 and Oct. 29.)

So, let’s set the scene: Ronald Reagan was in the middle of his second presidential term. The Iran–Contra affair would be publicly revealed the following week.

In retrospect it’s kinda inexplicable, but Crocodile Dundee was smack in the middle of a nine-week run atop the box office. Nine weeks!

Now, seeing as how it was 1986, The Cosby Show was in its typical slot atop the Nielsens. But a big ratings grabber that week was one of the most infamous games in baseball history — when the New York Mets on Oct. 25 beat the Boston Red Sox, 6-5, in the bottom of the 10th of World Series Game 6, punctuated by a catastrophic error by Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner.

I lived in Boston at the time and it’s pretty difficult to explain just how devastating this was to the city of Boston; when Buckner booted the play, you could practically hear Red Sox Nation cry out as one across New England. (The Mets won Game 7 too but I took no joy either way — I’m a Yankees fan.)

Poor Billy Buck, though. Took years for him to wash that stain off.

Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors led the Billboard 100. Speaking of Boston, the band had the top-selling album with Third Stage. Neither are my cuppa but, hey, you may be a fan so more power to ya!

Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

Action Comics #584, DC. October 1986 was a major turning point at post-Crisis DC Comics; John Byrne’s Superman #1, Marv Wolfman and Jerry Ordway’s Adventures of Superman #424 and Byrne’s Action Comics #584 all debuted this month, as well as Wolfman and George Perez’s History of the DC Universe, which spelled out how things fit together in the New World Order. The move to make Action a team-up book was an inspired one and who best to help Superman usher in the era than the publisher’s biggest team at the time, the New Teen Titans?

Scott adds: This was the first post-Crisis issue of Action by John Byrne, and I remember being really jazzed at the notion of a new Superman team-up book.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, DC. This was a big deal — a gorgeous hardcover edition of the seismic series by Miller, Janson and Varley. I had all four issues but I wasn’t passing up this or the paperback version — they only added to the Big Event nature of TDKR. (I even got the Warner Bros. paperback edition, such was my obsession.)

Daredevil #239, Marvel. Annie Nocenti’s widely respected Daredevil run was just getting started. The cover is by Arthur Adams, with interiors by Louis Williams, Al Williamson and Geof Isherwood.

Hawkman #6, DC. Richard Howell and Bruce Patterson’s cover is one of the greatest Hawkgirl/Hawkwoman images ever.

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

All-Star Squadron #65, DC. In those heady days after the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths, it was pretty clear that they had no idea what they were going to do about All-Star Squadron, formerly the home of the Golden Age Earth-Two characters. So in the meantime, it was almost a year’s worth of origin stories for the core characters, and I loved it.

Detective Comics #570, DC Comics. Alan Davis drawing the classic Golden Age Catwoman costume is an instant buy for me.

Dan adds: I just reread the too-short Mike W. Barr/Alan Davis run on Detective — really good stuff that has one one foot in the waning Bronze Age and another in the burgeoning Modern Age. These are the last stories to feature a likeable, fairly innocent Jason Todd and I dig ’em. Great-looking, too.

West Coast Avengers #17, Marvel. If I’m not mistaken, the debut of Simon Williams’ worst costume ever.


— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Oct. 19 — in 1971! Click here.

— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Oct. 12 — in 1965! Click here.

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Some great stuff. And yes, that Wonder Man costume was hideous.

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  2. The closest I could find to something I would pass on the stands is “All-Star Squadron”. (The latter part of that run… I just was kind of “eh” on.) But everything else? A SPECTACULAR month in 1986!

    That being said… I still think Simon William’s full-cowl costume from his debut and his resurrection in the 70’s is hands-down the OOGLIEST of his outfits!

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  3. “Too short,” indeed! That Barr/Davis run is a real gem!

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  4. 1986 was a very intriguing year for sure, and these picks for that year are absolutely right on target.

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  5. Oh man, a year I was actually alive and reading comics for! I was 7 years old, and my mind was gaga over the new Superman. My dad HATED it (he is a Curt Swan loyalist), but still bought the issues for me to enjoy. I didn’t read DKR though. My dad thought that was too mature for me.

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  6. The Barr/Davis run on ‘Tec was great. Still love it. You’re correct in how it perfectly straddles that line between the Silver Age and the Modern Age. An almost perfect run. I just wish that Denny O’Neil had been a more responsive editor, because according to Davis, O’Neil’s inattentiveness was what drove Davis off the book early. Would have loved to have seen Davis finish Batman: Year Two.

    Also, anyone who says that Jason Todd was too dark clearly hasn’t read this run. Best interpretation of Robin ever. When people say they don’t like Jason Todd, what they really mean is that they don’t like the way that Jim Starlin wrote Jason Todd.

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  7. Wow! I remember most of these! As for Simon’s West Coast Avengers outfit, we’re watching a rerun of Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show from about the same time and he’s wearing an outfit that’s a lot worse! (Think Herb from “WKRP…”)

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