RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale This Week — in 1989!

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 Sept. 6, 1989.

Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of Aug. 30, 1972. 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 Sept. 3 and Sept. 9.)

So, let’s set the scene: George H.W. Bush was in his first and only White House term and this week he presided over a period of relative calm in the U.S. (In other words, it was a fairly slow news week.)

Uncle Buck, starring John Candy and directed by John Hughes, was the leader at the box office. The Steve Martin comedy Parenthood and Michael Moore’s first documentary, Roger & Me, were also in theaters — and still cruising along was Tim Burton and Michael Keaton’s record-shattering Batman, which had opened in June.

Cheers, Roseanne and The Cosby Show were the most popular TV shows, but debuting Sept. 9 in syndication was the eminently watchable American Gladiators. I happened upon it one night in Boston, where it aired after Saturday Night Live (if memory serves me right) and I was transfixed. The athlete “characters” would be memorably lampooned years later in the absolutely hilarious movie Dodgeball.

The state of music left me exceptionally cold, mainly because a song like Hangin’ Tough by New Kids on the Block was able to top the Billboard 100. (Sorry if you’re a fan!) The group’s album by the same name also led the LP chart. Down at No. 5, though, was Prince’s Batman soundtrack.

For me, however, it was all about the Rolling Stones. It sounds unbelievable today but in the late ’80s, it looked like the band was finished. Mick and Keith were openly warring and those of us who’d never seen them thought our chance had passed. Lo and behold, the Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World got its act together and released Steel Wheels in late August, then hit the road. This week, they’d play Toronto, Pittsburgh and East Troy, Wisconsin. I finally got to see them later in the month in Foxborough, Mass. It was one of the most memorable nights of my life. Living Colour opened. What a blast.

Steel Wheels is definitely a mid-tier Stones album. Not great, not terrible, but with plenty to recommend it.

Let’s bury the hatchet, and wipe out the past…

Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

Detective Comics #607, DC. I consider late ’80s Detective to be something of an extension of the Bronze Age. While the main Batman title was all angsty and whatnot, ‘Tec was downright fun, with Alan Grant, Norm Breyfogle and Steve Mitchell at the helm. For the record, my favorite of the Clayfaces has always been Preston Payne, aka Clayface III. Still the most tragic, still the most mad and still the most fitting for a modern Batman. (I suppose an argument for Basil Karlo could be made, though there’s really not much to him.)

Scott adds: Even then, I had to admit that teaming up all the various Clayfaces and calling them “The Mudpack” was kinda genius.

Action Comics #646, DC. Superman meets John Carpenter’s The Thing meets Alien. With a load of methane gas thrown in for good measure. I loved this period of Superman comics.

Suicide Squad #34, DC. A cover with Amanda Waller in hand-to-hand combat with Granny Goodness is about the badassest of the badass. I’ve never read this but the cover makes me want to go troll eBay.

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

Avengers West Coast #52, Marvel. Hey, it’s Master Pandemonium. Turns out a dude with baby demons for hands is in fact genuinely creepy.

Justice League Europe #7, DC. I always thought it was a smart decision to give the JLE series a much more serious feel early on, in contrast to its wackier (renamed) Justice League America counterpart.

Captain America #364, Marvel. There was a time when Crossbones was just about the biggest villain in Cap’s rogues gallery. Seriously.


— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Aug. 30 — in 1972! Click here.

— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Aug. 23 — in 1965! Click here.

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

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. If I’m an editor, I send that Action cover back. I have zero clue what is going on. Take away the trade dress and I’m left confused. It certainly breaks the old rule of the cover pulling in the eye. Late ’80s and things were getting so dark and post-crisis, my collecting days were thinning out.

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    • I’m a Perez fanboy but, I agree with you 100%.

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