RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale This Week — in 1988!

Scott and Dan hit up the comics racks from 34 years ago!

This week for RETRO HOT PICKS, Scott Tipton and I are selecting comics that came out the week of Nov. 23, 1988.

Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of Nov. 16, 1966. 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 Nov. 20 and Nov. 26.)

So, let’s set the scene: George W. Bush had just this month defeated Democratic Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis to succeed Ronald Reagan as president. (As a cub reporter in suburban Boston, I scored Dukakis’ last interview in office. Tiny historical footnote there.)

Scrooged, a modernized version of A Christmas Carol starring Bill Murray and directed by Richard Donner, topped the box office. I’ve still never seen the whole thing but I think I’m OK with that.

The No. 1 show for the week in the Nielsens was Golden Girls. But at No. 5 was my Mom’s favorite show, Murder, She Wrote, starring the recently departed Angela Lansbury as the indomitable Jessica Fletcher.

The best-selling single on the Billboard 100 was Bon Jovi’s Bad Medicine. To each their own, eh? Down in the 14th slot, though, was one of the 1980s’ greatest rockers — Welcome to the Jungle, by Guns N’ Roses. I didn’t have much use for the song at the time (I was a bit of a snob) but GOTdamn does it hold up as an epic blowout.

I have to admit that though I’ve never been a huge U2 fan, I do respect them: The critically divisive Rattle and Hum led the album charts this week and Desire certainly was a worthy banger.


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

Batman #429, DC. The whole A Death in the Family storyline involving the Joker murdering Jason Todd (the second Robin) hasn’t aged well, in my humble opinion. But even at the time, this final chapter, with wacky moments like the Joker in Arab robes acting as the UN ambassador from Iran, and Superman sucking up a building full of poison gas, seemed to be an odd fit for such a grim story.

Dan adds: I voted at the 11th hour to spare Jason. I was intrigued by the dramatic possibilities of killing him but I just couldn’t bring myself to off Robin, any Robin. Ultimately, I think this is one of the lowest points in Batman history and though I didn’t realize it at the time, it was one of the large bricks in the road that led me to leave comics in the ’90s for about a decade.

Secret Origins #36, DC Comics. Totally worth seeking out just for the excellent Poison Ivy story by Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham.

Dan adds: If DC can give us two Who’s Who Omnibus volumes — one published, one to come — then you’d think they could give us a collection or two of this series. If canon matters to you, all these stories are out of date. But if, like me, you’re interested in straight-up compelling storytelling, starring so many great DC characters and produced by stellar talent, an omnibus is a no-brainer.

Mister Miracle #1, DC Comics. Coming off the unexpected success of Justice League International, this re-launch of Scott Free’s solo title written by J. M. DeMatteis was a great deal of fun.

Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

Superman #27, DC. Even after John Byrne left, the Superman books were my favorite titles during this period. In this storyline, Superman had a split personality and, unbeknownst to himself, was hitting the streets as a no-nonsense vigilante called Gangbuster. The reclamation of the Guardian worked quite nicely, too.

X-Factor #38, Marvel. The Inferno crossover: Louise and Walter Simonson’s grand collaboration on X-Factor was almost at an end.

Conan Saga #22, Marvel. Conan reprints with a magnificent reprint cover by Bill Sienkiewicz. Damn, look at that.


— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Nov. 16 — in 1966! Click here.

— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Nov. 9 — in 1978! Click here.

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

Share This Post On


  1. 1. I keep thinking “Scrooged” was released in 1989. Go figure! 2. “Death in the Family” may have some odd moments, but it may have also been my first exposure to Jim Aparo artwork, and I just gobbled up his stuff onwards! 3. “Superman” 27 I remember buying off the spinner rack, and being ENTHRALLED by the mystery of the Gangbuster, and I thought the Guardian looked pretty awesome!

    Post a Reply
  2. “The whole A Death in the Family storyline involving the Joker murdering Jason Todd (the second Robin) hasn’t aged well.”

    None of Jim Starlin’s run on Batman has aged well. Mike W. Barr/Alan Davis’ roughly concurrent run on Detective was sooooo much better (and Barr actually understood how to write Jason Todd). The death of Jason Todd works so much better in The Dark Knight Returns when it’s some vague event that happens in the far off future than it does being a concrete event tied to a mediocre story.

    “Scrooged” was a terrific movie. You should give it another chance. A great deconstructionist take on the classic story.

    I’d love to get a “Secret Origins” omnibus. I’d probably find that the hit-to-miss ratio was lower than I’d like, but I’d still love to revisit some of those stories.

    1988 was a weird year for me. The previous two years were so good (particularly DC’s output), but 1988 was when the wheels didn’t exactly begin falling off of the bus, but the lug nuts definitely began to loosen. Starlin’s run on Batman, the post-Byrne run on Superman (I loved the Byrne issues, and the post-Byrne issues showed a noticeable dip in quality), Perez no longer illustrating Wonder Woman, etc. By 1990 I had left the medium entirely (a few indie purchases here and there notwithstanding) for about a decade. But that period from 1986 to 1990 (despite the gradually diminishing returns from 1988 to 1990) is still amazing.

    Post a Reply
  3. I began subscribing to Marvel and DC in November of 1988. Although I was losing interest in Marvel, DC could do no wrong by me from 1988 to around 1993. That issue of Batman was the first one I got in the mail. I still miss Jim Aparo.

    Post a Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: