RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale This Week — in 1987!

Scott and Dan — and guest Paul Kupperberg — hit up the comics racks from 35 years ago!

This week for RETRO HOT PICKS, Scott Tipton and I are selecting comics that came out the week of Oct. 5, 1987.

Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of Sept. 28, 1976. 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. 2 and Oct. 8.)

So, let’s set the scene: Ronald Reagan was deep into his second term as president and his nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court was mired in controversy. (Bork would ultimately be rejected by the Senate.) Fatal Attraction, starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close, was in the middle of an eight-week run atop the box office. It wasn’t just a hit, it was a cultural touchstone.

The Cosby Show was No. 1 in the Nielsens because of course it was. But the runner-up was my Mom’s favorite show at the time — Murder, She Wrote.

Y’know how you think a song is really cheesy and then you hear a cover and you realize it’s not actually the song that’s the problem? Well, Whitesnake led the Billboard 100 with Here I Go Again. But check out Audra Mae’s version from 2009:

Man, that’s killer. Anyway, Whitesnake’s self-titled LP was second on the album charts to Michael Jackson’s Bad.

And there you have it.

NOTE: We’ve invited 13th Dimension columnist Paul Kupperberg to play along this time around because one of his signature comics, Peacemaker #1, came out this week in 1987. ALSO: Paul has a GREAT Kickstarter going on right now — a book of interviews with Bronze Age DC pros called Direct Conversations. Pledge here. I did! Rad! — Dan

Paul Kupperberg, comics writer and 13th Dimension columnist

Grimjack #43, First. First Comics had been chugging along for several years by 1987 and John Ostrander’s Grimjack (this issue featuring art by Tom Mandrake) was one of my consistent favorites. Unfortunately, this fast-paced, innovative comic was nearing the end of its 50-issue run and would be gone before the end of the year.

Action Comics #596, DC. To tell you the truth, I can no longer remember the idea behind DC’s Millennium crossover (time has blurred them all together into one big ball of confusion), but I do remember liking this tie-in issue of Action, starring Superman and the Spectre, in which the Man of Steel confronts ghosts from his past, by John Byrne and Keith Williams. Also, I love the Spectre.

Archie Giant Series Magazine #579, Archie. There’s nothing particularly “Giant” about this 36-page issue of Archie Giant Series Magazine #579, but there’s always room for an Archie or two in my weekly stack, especially when they’re chock full of Frank Doyle and Stan Goldberg and George Gladir, etc., etc., goodness.

Conan the Barbarian Annual #12, Marvel. This was a slow week for Marvel titles, but it did include this Conan the Barbarian Annual with a script by one of my favorite writers, Christopher Priest (then known as James Owsley) and art by Vince Giarrano.

Daredevil #251, Marvel. An issue of Ann Nocenti’s notable run on Daredevil, this one featuring art by John Romita Jr.

Peacemaker #1, DC. A classic! Or at least a mid-’80s grim-and-gritty miniseries that was recently rediscovered thanks to writer/director James Gunn and his use of the title character in The Suicide Squad movie and the eponymous HBO Max TV series.

I would be remiss (and unusually modest) if I didn’t point out that I wrote this book, which was drawn by Tod Smith and Pablo Marcos, and about which James Gunn said:

I’m just sayin’.

The Question #12, DC. Because anyone not reading Denny O’Neil and Denys Cowan’s The Question was missing out on one of the very best comic book series of the decade.

Scott adds: I HAVE NO MOUTH AND I MUST KISS. (With apologies to Unca Harlan.)

The Spectre #10, DC. Again, I love the Spectre, and this was one of several issues written by Doug Moench that featured art by the legendary and criminally underrated Gray Morrow. Even if I didn’t love the Spectre, I’d have picked this one up just for the art.

Wasteland #2, DC. There wasn’t really anything at all like Wasteland on the stands in those days. Not superhero, not horror, not fantasy, not science fiction, just tales by and about a very strange and unusual man, one of the pillars of the improvisational comedy world, Del Close. I had met Del enough to have heard him tell some of the autobiographical stories recounted in Wasteland (co-written with John Ostrander) in person. The stories — drawn by a regular slate of artists, including George Freeman, William Messner-Loebs and David Lloyd — lose none of their shocking weirdness in printed form. Unfortunately, the series lasted only 18 issues.

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

Airboy #31, Eclipse. The Davy Nelson Jr./Valkyrie romance was one of the longest-simmering subplots in all comics in the late ‘80s, so it was very satisfying to see things finally work out for Davy and Val here.

The New Mutants #60, Marvel. This was about the time I dropped both X-Men and The New Mutants after years and years of faithful reading. Just too depressing, all the time.

West Coast Avengers #29, Marvel. I had forgotten that Moon Knight had a high-profile run as a West Coast Avenger for a while.

Millennium #4, DC. In the years following Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC really tried to replicate that crossover success with a big company-spanning event every summer. Some of them worked, some of them didn’t. Millennium didn’t.

Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

Detective Comics #582, DC. A Millennium crossover. Selling point, though, is that this is one of Norm Breyfogle’s earliest Batman efforts. In the next issue, he’d be teamed with writers John Wagner and Alan Grant, and Breyfogle would go on to be one of the era’s top Bat-artists.

Teen Titans Spotlight #18, DC. A great idea that suffered from uneven execution. Fans could not get enough of the Titans in the ’80s, so DC came up with the idea of a quasi-solo book with rotating Titans (and their villains) and different creative teams. How could you pass up an Aqualad issue? I couldn’t.

Web of Spider-Man #35, Marvel. I just dig Alex Saviuk and Keith William’s Ditko-esque cover.


— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Sept. 28 — in 1976! Click here.

— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Sept. 21 — in 1970! Click here.

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Grimjack, also one of my faves, actually went to Issue 75 in 1990. A lot of good storylines after Issue 50.

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  2. I never realized until this very moment that the Detective and Spectre covers are linked as a spread, with Detective as the left side. Huh.

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    • Suicide Squad #9 was the other part of the tryptic along with the Detective and Spectre issues.

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  3. DC missed an opportunity to collect and publish a TPB of that Peacemaker mini-series.

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    • I think it was more of a SKIPPED opportunity–the 1980s PEACEMAKER mini wouldn’t hold up under the scrutiny of 2020s political correctness.

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      • Well now I *have* to read it to find out why!

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  4. I’ve never heard about DC’s “Millenium” series, but I like the covers surrounding it.

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  5. So so so love the coverage of some “off the beaten path”/non-Big 2 comics. Tim Truman’s Grimjack (heck Tim Truman in general) remains underrated (and his Blues album is still fun too!). Wasteland…aside from loving it, the 80’s remain a miraculous time of experimentation, even by the Big 2. It also was a time when 70’s (and earlier generation) writers & artists were still bringing A game material, so very much appreciate the Spectre callout. And finally, totally wish you on when you bailed on the X-Men & New Mutants.

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  6. I pretty much checked out with Millennium. I think the company wide crossovers were the beginning of the end for me.

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  7. Wasteland was a wonder and probably deserves to be available in some way, but I don’t think anybody would be able to figure out how to sell it any better today than back then. The fact that it made it as long as it did was pretty miraculous.

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  8. I think GrimJack actually went to issue 81

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  9. Rest In Peace Angela Lansbury.

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