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

Scott and Dan hit up the comics racks from 37 years ago…

This week for RETRO HOT PICKS, Scott Tipton and I are selecting comics that came out the week of May 17, 1986.

Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of May 10, 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 May 14 and May 20.)

So, let’s set the scene: Ronald Reagan was in the middle of his second presidential term and I was finishing up my freshman year of college. How’s that for news!

The No. 1 movie in America was Top Gun, which turned out to be the year’s highest-grossing flick. (It opened wide May 16.) When you think about it, it’s kind of amazing that it took as long as it did for a sequel to show up.

Three of the top four highest-rated TV shows were NBC comedies — The Cosby Show juggernaut at the top, Family Ties in second and Cheers in fourth. At No. 3, though, was one of the most infamous episodes in scripted TV history — Bobby Ewing’s return from the dead on CBS’ Dallas.

I was never a huge Whitney Houston fan but there’s no denying she had a tremendous set of pipes. Her Greatest Love of All — from her debut album — led the Billboard 100. I was also never a huge Van Halen fan, but the No. 3 song was the terrific Why Can’t This Be Love, with Sammy Hagar having replaced Diamond Dave on lead vocals. (That was a big deal in 1986.) Another memorable groover was at No. 10 — Addicted to Love by the dapper Robert Palmer.

Whitney Houston’s eponymous LP was also the sales leader on the album chart, followed by Van Halen’s Van Hagar’s 5150. Also on the chart, at No. 6, was the Rolling Stones’ Dirty Work, which I mention only because it marked one of the band’s lowest points. Pee-ew is that one a stinker.

I mean, even that cover is ridiculous. Charlie just wants to go home and I bet you anything that Keith hasn’t looked at the picture since it was taken. He really wants to punch Mick in the mouth for making him wear that outfit.

Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #3, DC. The most riveting chapter of The Dark Knight Returns and the greatest Joker story of the Modern Age. Far and away. It’s not for the faint of heart but it is a story that takes the Joker’s homicidal madness to its logical extreme. One of the biggest influences on Todd Phillips’ Joker, with the film’s climax pretty much ripped from the page. (I mean that in a good way. Great film.)

Scott adds: By far the biggest book this week, if not the whole month. It’s also where I felt Miller really hit his stride on the story.

Marvel Graphic Novel #22 — Spider-Man: Hooky, Marvel. Spiders are creepy but it never occurred to me that Bernie Wrightson would be such a good match for the webslinger. Reading this is not unlike watching a bizarre, second-season episode of the 1967-70 Spider-Man cartoon series. Anybody know what became of writer Susan K. Putney?

Official Justice League of America Index #4, ICG/Eclipse. I have the Teen Titans series. I should probably track this down, too. Man, I loved the JLA’s vertical floating heads.

Swamp Thing #51, DC. An Alan Moore issue. Makes the list automatically.

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

Infinity Inc. #29, DC Comics. It’s really interesting to look at Todd McFarlane’s pre-Spawn work on books like this and see him looking really constrained against DC’s house style.

Adventures of the Outsiders #36, DC Comics. Alan Davis had a great little run on Outsiders, as I recall.

Who’s Who #18, DC Comics. George Perez’s covers for this series were just marvelous.

Dan adds: Even Perez dug ’em! Click here for what he had to say.


— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of May 10 — in 1975! Click here.

— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of May 3 — in 1970! Click here.

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. McFarlane do that Infinity Inc. cover? Does not look like his stuff at all.

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    • Tony DeZuniga used a heavy hand when inking.

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    • You can see the linework there — look at the shark teeth and Mr. Bones’ face. But as Scott points out, he couldn’t cut loose yet. That would happen in Batman: Year Two.

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  2. Wow! Plastic Man is all about the ladies on that Who’s Who cover (not that they seem to mind!).

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  3. Dark Knight Returns Part 3. Iconic. Would make the list for best of the decade. Perhaps best ever.

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  4. Outsiders? Looker is one of the most misjudged characters ever – it was obvious to me as a teenager at the time that this was not good

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