Thursday, May 15, 2014

Inaugural Post - The Spinner Rack, July 1975


Doug: Today we're going to try something new in our never-ending quest to stimulate good pop culture conversation. I'm going to pick a month and year, head over to the Comic Book Database, and copy images of a few comics that would have been on the shelf or spinner rack. Certainly we do in-depth reviews where our readers get to comment on specifics of plotlines or creators. In this "category" we'd like your reminiscences of these books, maybe something else you recall purchasing at the same time (I've included a link to today's month/year so you can do some  research to check the accuracy of your memories), overall recollections of a particular title or creative team, and even better -- if you can recall when and where you were when you purchased a given comic. So it's specific yet a bit nebulous all at the same time! As we do, we'll see if this sticks, and if it does maybe we'll do it again soon with a different month and year!


Super-Duper ToyBox said...

Defenders! Werewolf By Night! Now you're bringing back the memories!

Edo Bosnar said...

Doug, I love this idea; however, you've made a bit of an error. The covers you posted were cover dated July 1975, meaning they would have already been on sale in May 1975 (or maybe earlier?).
I think a better resource for this topic would be the Newsstand at Mike's Amazing World of Comics, which sorts them either by "Cover Dated" or "On Sale In".
So here's everything covered dated July 1975.

And here's everything actually on sale in that same month.

Anyway, looking over the stuff covered dated July 1975, I have to say none of it really looks familiar - 1975 was pretty much year one of my comics reading, and I was just very sporadically taking things off of the spinner rack. One that does stick in my mind, however, is a book I never bought: Atlas/Seaboard's Tales of Evil #3. I just remember being intrigued so much by the cover, but really confused when flipping through, because apparently that monster on the cover is the good guy, while the guy in the superhero suit is the adversary. Little me just wasn't cool with that.

As for what was on sale July 1975, there's a few that are really imprinted in my memory, especially Marvel Team-up #38, my very first issue of that title - I think I've actually mentioned my fondness for that particular issue and its cover several times here before.
Also, Giant-Size Iron Man #1 - I didn't have it personally, rather a friend of mine let me read his copy. I only have the vaguest recollection of the stories inside (I know Ditko drew the lead feature with Angel), but man I've always loved that cover.

Anyway, like I said, this is a great idea for a regular series of posts. It's really fun doing a little research and restoring some of those old spinner rack and/or newsstand memories.

Fred W. Hill said...

Of this selection, I got the Avengers and Defenders issues, and at the time they came out, in April 1975 (as Marvel Comics in those days always had a cover date of 3 months later than when they actually hit the stands), I was living in Navy housing on Treasure Island, which was just off of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge (I attended Potrero Junior High School in San Francisco) and got all my comics from the Navy Exchange on the base and had picked up the nick-name "The Comicbook Kid" from the clerks there.
Anyhow, the Avengers issue inaugurated a significant change in the line-up with Mantis now gone and Vision and Scarlet Witch on honeymoon (the Navy Exchange never got the Giant-Size mags, including G-S Avengers #4 which preceded the events in this issue, so I never got any of those until I was well into adulthood and had access to comicbook stores) and the Beast & Moondragon now becoming regulars, along with the return of Yellowjacket and the Wasp after an absence of several years -- long enough that Yellowjacket's appearance in the Defenders' Sons of the Serpent storyline was the first time I'd ever seen Hank Pym in that guise (he was still Goliath in the Marvel Triple Action reprints of the time).
As for that chapter of the S.o.S. story in this July '75 Defenders, I loved it, even tho' I missed the concluding issue of the 4-part story and next thing I knew the Defenders were hanging around with the Guardians of the Galaxy in another great Gerber/S. Buscema production.

Doug said...

Edo --

Thanks for those links. It's always been a bit murky for me as far as cover dates, distribution dates, on sale dates, etc. For simplicity's sake (mine), and as we pilfer our cover images from the Comic Book Database, I'll probably just stick with that. In future posts I'll try to amend my statement about "on sale" so as not to misrepresent anything.

And with apologies to Steve Does Comics, who for years has run his "Fifty Years Ago This Month" sorts of posts, it looks like we already have some positive feedback so will continue these at least in the short term.

In other news, we are going to need to reorganize a few things on the blog for the next couple of weeks as personal circumstances have necessitated. The X-Men reviews originally slated for the next two Mondays will most likely run on Fridays, the 23rd and 30th, and we'll run solo reviews (written by me) of some Neal Adams Batman/Man-Bat adventures. Thanks in advance for everyone's understanding.


Fred W. Hill said...

Checking up on the link Edo provided, the other July 1975 titles I purchased at that Navy Exchange that April were Amazing Spider-Man, Aargh!, Captain America & the Falcon, Captain Marvel, Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Iron Man (which turned out to be a reprint fill-in, but the story was still new to me at the time), Thor, Team Up and Two-In-One and the reprint mags Human Torch, Marvel Super-Heroes, and Marvel's Greatest Comics. Hmm -- I didn't see Marvel Tales, but I'm sure that was monthly at the time and I would've gotten that too. Many years later I also got the Man-Thing and Master of Kung Fu issues. I wasn't into either series at the time but came to really love them in later years. Of those I got that month when they were brand new, the Defenders mag was the one I recall that would have stood out for me at the time, touching as it did on social issues and telling a compelling story with a unique cast of characters. This month's Spider-Man was fun -- I'd missed the previous issue and this was the first Scorpion story I'd ever read. The deepening mystery of the resurrected Gwen Stacy was intriguing and the scene in which Spidey forced Scorpy to apologize to Aunt May for frightening her was goofy fun. As was that issue of Aargh! BTW, I was 12 at the time I got all these.

david_b said...

Still a super idea Doug, at least showcase the top dozen or so issues for a given month, and let's discuss. Love it.

Edo, thanks for the awesome link. I took some peeks back to when I first took the dive and the cover date of September 1973 (which was what, hitting newstands July/August '73 in all actuality..?) was it...!!

Held my nose and plunged right into the Marvel Universe.

As for our featured month, I recall missing too many Avengers by this time to keep collecting (and not liking the Beast much..), I did grab that JLA mag, it was quite good, excellent Dillin art. I started picking up the Defenders solely for Sal's art and Yellowjacket. Like Fred, I missed all the previous Pym membership (I actually stopped collecting MTA before they did the 'Pym as Goliath returning' reprints..), but I really liked the Yellowjacket guise from the get-go in Defenders. Shame he didn't stay in the group long.

Anonymous said...

Just to lay out my comment for today, I went over to Mike's Amazing World of Comics to see what would have been on sale in July. And dagnabbit all to H E Double Hockey Sticks, Doug, I was going to try and be productive today and now I went at got lost in Marvel. What I would have bought: Amazing Spider-Man, the Jackel, the clone(!!!) the faked pictures(!!!), Avengers Vision going into Yellow Jacket. My second Avengers EVER!!!, Daredevil the senses shattering debut of the Torpedo, Giant Size Daredevil, Giant Size Power Man, Marvel Double Feature, I bought this but didn't buy Capt America or Iron Man, go figure, Marvel Spectacular, yeah Thor reprints, Marvel Tales, Spidey reprints and this time it's the Kangaroo's senses shattering debut, Thor, Odin Odin, who's got Odin, Warlock, I liked the cover. X-Men, I had picked up a Giant Size and got into them that way.

Oh great, is that the time!!!

The Prowler (me gotta go now, yeah yeah yeah yeah).

Fred W. Hill said...

Taking the day off and basically goofing off before a dental appointment this afternoon, but after more perusing of that website I realized that the July '75 issue of the Defenders was the very concluding issue of the Sons of the Serpent storyline that I missed that month! I think I finally got it about 10 years later. Also of note -- Richie Rich was appearing in 8 different titles a month! I recall my brother Terry, 10 months younger than me, got some of those, as well as Kamandi. And the post-Englehart, pre-Kirby era of Captain America was pretty moribund in this era, so that when The King made his dramatic return in six months it at least started off as a positive turnaround. For most fans, including myself, the eventual fallout was due to the fact that Kirby's mid-70s version of Cap was every different from the Englehart Cap and even from the Lee/Kirby or Lee/Heck Cap Bronze Agers would have been reading about in the Marvel Double Feature and Marvel Triple Action reprints. Like much of his Bronze Age work at DC, Kirby's work at Marvel seemed to exist in a pocket universe that barely acknowledged previous or concurrent activities in the Marvel universe. But that's another topic.

david_b said...

Fred, ditto on the Defenders serpent saga conclusion, I didn't get the final issues until way into the '90s.

I tend to think that hazy-crazy distribution muck-up during 1975 (and my family moving across the country..) really put an end to my short-Zuvembie period, as much as the artist shake-ups I couldn't stomach (Robbins and Kirby on CA&F, Tuska and Heck on Avengers, Big John leaving FF, in addition to Heck on DC's Batman Family..).

The arriving-Kirby (after Robbins..), and departing Englehart certainly ended my initial love of all things Cap.

Oh, and Space:1999 premiered.

Doug said...

I am pretty sure I had the next issue of the Avengers, with the Stranger on the cover. But the real gems of this period were the Whirlwind/Hank out-of-control stories in Avengers #s 139-140. I had no idea who the Beast was at that point.

Was there anything cooler than the Defenders and their constantly changing "roster" of guest stars?


Edo Bosnar said...

Doug, to answer your question, re: the Defenders' changing roster. No, no there wasn't.

david_b said...

The Defenders saga definitely outdid what the Avengers were doing at that point. It's kinda like the coolness factor was shifted over..

As for the 1st Beast issues in Avengers, like Doug I didn't know who he was and frankly, I didn't like him at all. I recall wondering why he's be joining the Avengers, he just didn't seem to fit the stuffy, stoic, heroic mold of folks like Cap, Ironman, Vision, Thor, and yes, even ironically, Swordsman. I didn't personally find it a good development at all at the time.

Garett said...

Good idea! Just from these covers, I'd go for Defenders and JLA. The others don't suggest great stories...Batman as cowboy?? Swamp Thing and robot dogs? Avengers dodge spiky balls? Like David, I want to open up that JLA for the Dillin art.

William said...

Wow! I must not have bought any comics in July of 1975, because I don't recall getting anything on the list at the time. I was barely 10 years old, and we were going through some hard times then, so that's probably why.

I used to buy The Flash a lot at that age, but I didn't see it on the list at all. They must not have put out an issue of The Flash that month. (Was it bi-monthly then?)

Steve W. said...

Doug, of the ones you've posted here, the only one I had was the Werewolf By Night issue. Sadly, I can't recall anything at all about the contents or even where I got it.

I do wish I'd had the Defenders one, as I had the issue before that, so it's a near miss on that one.

dbutler16 said...

I only have two of these - Avengers and JLA. This is before I started collecting comics, so I bought these as back issues from my LCS, Empire Comics, probably around 1980, give or take a year.

William Preston said...

I was just on the cusp of truly starting to collect . . . and of making the shift to Marvel. Looking at the list Edo posted, I was one month from beginning to collect Spidey (#150), but I did buy the giant "super spectacular" that month. I still, on occasion bought a JLA or Superman ish.

Sean Budde said...

I was only 6 back then, but i do remember a Man-Bat #2 at a nick-nack shop near Santa Cruz beach. And a Marvel Tales #58 on a spinner rack at a supermarket. Wow...i guess i do remember a few comics on sale in 1975. :o)

Sean Budde said...

And i had both those comics...i was fortunate to have parents that bought me lots and lots of comics when i was a kid, beginning in 1973. I saw the cover of Defenders #10 with Hulk and Thor locked in battle, and was hooked! :o)

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I was only 3 years old in 1975, so I don't have any actual memories of that time. I have subsequently read the Avengers, Defenders, and JLA issues.

The Avengers one was pretty good (Beast joined, I always liked him) and the Defenders had the fight against the Sons of the Serpent with Luke Cage, DD and Daimon Hellstrom helping. The JLA one was pretty good as I recall; Adam Strange guest starred (wasn't that when Adam and Alanna got married? I think it was a two-parter.)

Mike W.

Anonymous said...

July 1975 cover dates would be about my second or third month of being a comic (or at least Marvel) maniac. I would be just about turning 9. Great memories, and I'm surprised at how detailed those memories are. Thanks Doug and Karen.

Humanbelly said...

Oh, you really nailed a particularly memorable period here, Doug-! It was late spring of 8th grade. . . getting ready for the big-time jump up to high school, but also starting to have enough lawn-mowing/allowance/paper-route cash liquidity to purchase a few more books a month. I know that I have at 18 of the issues from that link (geeze, I can't believe how many books Disney put out! And poor, doomed Atlas/Seaboard really came out of the gate with full thrusters engaged, didn't they?), and I'm guessing I probably purchased around 8 or 10 of them at the time, then acquired several others via trading w/ my pal not too long after.

Buy-Lo's Supermarket in Cassopolis, Mich. The spinner rack was 'way back from the entrance, on the east wall. I, too, bought Werewolf by Night (I think Jack & Topaz FINALLY were on the verge of actually making-out on-panel while skiing. . . but were interrupted by the endangered little girl. . . maybe?). Man, I think the three or so of us here may have been the only people buying that title by then!

The big memory for me, though, is that particular issue of the Hulk. #189 was one where Len Wein did the story's narrative voice in the Hulk's simple 3rd-person idiom. . . and I loved it. I think a lot of fans found it pretensious and/or heavy-handed-- but others (myself included) found it incredibly revealing of Len's understanding of the Hulk's inner workings and the depth of his nature. It was also a bit of an artistic resurgence for soon-to-be-departed Herb Trimpe, as his work had been decidedly uneven for about the previous 3 or 4 months. It was a really fine last hurrah.

Yeah, Hulk, Defenders, Kamandi, Marvel Team-Up, Conan, and Werewolf by Night were my "main" titles that month-- the "check the rack every Thursday" books-!


Dr. Oyola said...

This was before my time (I wouldn't start getting Marvel comics until 1980), and while I did my best to fill in gaps from the 70s via flea markets and yard sales back then, not of the comics pictured here have ever crossed my path.

That being said, I think this is a GREAT idea for a feature and I look forward to more. I am always interested in what else was coming out around the same time as the classic stories we talk about the most (may go back and edit my upcoming piece on Days of Future Past to discuss what else came out that month).

In fact, I would suggest that rather than pick years/months at random, you should specifically choose dates that correlate to stuff we've covered here at BAB to get a sense of the context (and a way to cross-reference some links and drive traffic to the archive ;)

To that end, EDO! thanks so much for linking to an indispensable resource! I will be using that site a lot.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, a huge thanks to Edo for his link to Mike's Amazing World of Comics. I spent way too much time this morning going through the years looking at the comics month by month. B-ly, I noticed that for some of my titles, I was right there month after month. Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel Tales, Marvel Triple Action, Thor, Marvel Double Feature etc etc etc and so on and so forth. And for others, Fantastic Four, Marvel Spectacular, some of the Giant Size, Marvel Premiere, I was hit and miss. What I can't recall, was it my buying habits or what the store was stocking. In 75, not only was I 11, but I was pre-bike, certainly pre-car, and limited to the store I could walk to. I do remember the owner frowning when I would stand and read the comics. It's not like there was a line waiting to for the spinner rack. LOL.

Anyhoo, Doug/Karen, Karen/Doug, great post and great walk down memory lane.

The Prowler (I was such a Marvel Zombie!!!).

Graham said...

This was about six months before I got into the Marvel Universe. The only one of these I got was the JLA issue. I was a big JLA fan and a big Adam Strange fan, so this was a fun issue for me!

Redartz said...

Excellent topic! Great fun memories here. Mine refers to Amazing Spiderman 146: we had early dismissal from Jr. High that day following a convocation of some sort. My comics fan friend Bill and I took the opportunity to hike from school all the way to the comic shop downtown. It was, of course, new comics day! The highlight was the aforementioned issue. I was very hyped about this issue, between the Scorpion and Gwen. It didn't dissapoint...

Anonymous said...

Don't have much time lately but just want to say that I LOVE this topic idea! Just looking at the top of that spinner rack gives me a warm feeling all over. Thanks.


Jeff said...

I had the JLA and Detective comics. Would have bought them either at Town Crier Bookstore in White Lakes Mall or at the 7-11 on 37th Street in beautiful Topeka, KS.

Chris said...

Great idea Doug!

I love using Mike's site and I'm pleased Edo has posted the link so others can use it.

July 75 was just over a year before I started buying comics so no memories of buying any of these from the newsagent for me. However, just counted it up and I have 15 of those issues now. All Marvel with my favourite being Spidey 146 (although to be honest, I've still to read a few as my reading pile is a mountain!)

Looking at what else was on sale, I've always loved the cover to Hulk 189 as it was used on some merchandise that was often advertised in the mags in the late 70s. I think this was for some sort of notebook. That cover looked great to my 10 year old self. Shame it took me 30+ years to get the actual issue and thank goodness it was OK. LOL.

MikeS said...

Bought many comics that month, two I particularly remember were Amazing Spider-Man 146 (with that bizarre Jackal scene at the beginning) and Giant-Size Spider-Man # 5. It was definitely the same day in April that I bought both (probably late April), but the day was as hot as a July day. I remember roasting in my mom's car as I read them on the way home.

I still had a particular fondness for villains featured in the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon then, so it was a banner day with comics featuring both Scorpion and Lizard.

Joseph said...

I absolutely LOVE this concept! It may be a few months before we get to the first comics I bought, but I'll here to read about others' experiences and reminiscences.

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