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

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 Jan. 10, 1988.

Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of Jan. 3, 1967. 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 Jan. 7 and Jan. 13.)

So, let’s set the scene: The 1988 presidential campaign was under way. Republican Ronald Reagan, was on the way out after two terms. Vice President George H.W. Bush was presumed to be the nominee, but not without challenges from within the party by Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas, televangelist Pat Robertson and Rep. Jack Kemp of New York. In 1987, businessman Donald Trump made noise about running but ultimately decided against it

On the Democratic side, there’d been a lot of jockeying in 1987 — most famously by Gary Hart, whose candidacy was torpedoed by revelations of extramarital affairs, most notably with Donna Rice, who became a household name. In early ’88, the field included Mass. Gov. Michael Dukakis; civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, Sen. Al Gore of Tennessee, Sen. Paul Simon of Illinois and Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri. Joe Biden, who was also mixing it up in ’87, had pulled out by the start of the year because of plagiarism allegations.

In other news, after the U.S. boycotted the Olympics in 1980 and the Russians did the same in 1984, the USSR on Jan. 11 announced that it would participate in the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics.

Three Men and a Baby was the top-performing film at the box office, but on deck was Robin Williams’ tour de force Good Morning, Vietnam; it came out at the end of 1987 but was about it go wide on Jan. 15 and it would dominate ticket sales through the middle of March, making it one of the year’s most commercial and critical successes.

The top shows in the Nielsens were The Cosby Show, Cheers, A Different World and Night Court. No surprises there. The NFL playoffs were also in full swing, with the Minnesota Vikings, Washington, the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos making it to the conference championship games, to be played Jan. 17.

George Harrison’s wonderful cover of Got My Mind Set On You and Whitney Houston’s So Emotional were the top singles on the Billboard 100. Also worth noting is the Bangles’ Hazy Shade of Winter at No. 6, a cover that I’d argue is superior to the Simon & Garfunkel original. It was among the influences for a college film my friends made that satirized Jay McInerney and Bret Easton Ellis’ glamorization of dissipated rich kids, called “All Messed Up and No Place to Go.” I had a pivotal cameo as drug-dealing Moe the Biker. (Meanwhile, George Michael’s Faith led the album charts.)

Time, time, time, see what’s become of me…

Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

The Amazing Spider-Man #300, Marvel. David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane change the world of comics with Venom’s first full appearance. The sometimes-villain/sometimes antihero is easily one of the, oh, three or four biggest additions to comics in the Modern Age, behind Harley Quinn and (possibly) Deadpool. Maybe there’s a TOP 13 list in there somewhere. Hmm…

Cinder and Ashe #1, DC. Maybe the first non-superhero comic I ever read? Interesting story by Gerry Conway and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez about a Vietnam vet and a girl he rescued overseas. She’s older now and they’ve become private eyes in New Orleans but the brutal past isn’t far behind.

Checkmate! #2, DC. Paul Kupperberg in the house!

Betty’s Diary #16, Archie. I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but Betty, you can do so much better than that simp. When you go to college and then start living your life, you’ll find someone who deserves you. That Andrews kid is a clod.

Justice League International #13, DC. A Suicide Squad crossover by Giffen and DeMatteis, with Giffen and Al Gordon on art. Pretty much a pairing of DC’s best new, post-Crisis teams.

World of Smallville #2, DC. So strange. I read all of the Byrne Super-titles but for the life of me, I can’t remember a damn thing about any of the “World of” miniseries.

Wonder Woman #16, DC. The debut of the fairly short-lived, first Silver Swan of the George Perez era. Vanessa Kapatelis is the much more familiar version.

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

Airfighters Meet Sgt. Strike Special #1, Eclipse. Taken by itself, this one-shot is probably fairly incomprehensible, but when this came out in the middle of the Airboy run, I was really into it.

Captain America #341, Marvel. Civil war decades before there was Civil War. Really good stuff here from Mark Gruenwald and Kieron Dwyer.

Flash #12, DC. If you’ve never read the first year or two of post-Crisis Wally West Flash by Mike Baron, you’re missing out. Really good, kinda gritty and serious Flash tales.

Solo Avengers #6, Marvel. Anybody have a copy of this issue handy? I think I might be in the letters column…

Dan adds: You are Scott!


— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Jan. 3 — in 1967! Click here.

— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Dec. 27 — in 1943! Click here.

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. The “World Of…” mini-series were an interesting trilogy. Krypton is mostly to set up Byrne’s version of the planet, which is cold and sterile. Best thing in that one is the Mignola art. Smallville I remember the least about other than a story around Superman going home and solving some kind of mystery from his past…I think. And Metropolis is the most unusual of all because it basically acted as a fourth monthly title to the three existing ones at the time. It continued and added to existing storylines. None are essential, but I still think it’s odd how DC has skipped them in both the trades and the hardcovers collecting the rest of Byrne’s run. I’ve never been sure why.

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  2. I like the idea of a top 13 of the modern age. Do it!

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  3. I remember that “World of Metropolis” gave us a really skeevy story about Lex having an underage Lois strip searched and keeping the video for his “enjoyment” after she broke into LexCorp. I remember being icked out by this as a kid, and I find it even more gross now. From the mind of John Byrne!

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  4. Wow….I must have been dealing with serious aftertaste from Crisis, not a single issue there I purchased. But now I wish I had tried out Checkmate after seeing GK did the pencils.

    “ The NFL playoffs were also in full swing, with the Minnesota Vikings, Washington, the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos making…..” I was huge fan of the Redskins in the ‘80s. Their lines both defense and offense were so much fun to cheer on.

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