Friday, June 27, 2014

The Spinner Rack - June 1974

Doug: You know the drill by now -- click on the date below to be taken to a page showing the covers of a whole slew of comics that were cover-dated June, 1974. Leave a reminscence of some books you may have bought. However, for many of us who patronize this site, you may be discussing your ex post facto acquisition of some of this material. That's OK -- give us a good comic shop/flea market/garage sale story!


Fred W. Hill said...

Of the selections for June 1974, when my family was living in West Jordan, Utah, I picked up 13 Marvel mags from the spinner racks and got three others (Dr. Strange, Man-Thing & Master of Kung Fu) years later. Dr. Strange #1 & Man-Thing #6 get my vote for best art & story of the month (since I don't have to pick just one, I'll pick both!). As a kid, tho', the ones I most dug were the ongoing sagas in Captain America's struggle against the Secret Empire and DD's against Black Spectre. Fun stuff.

Abe Lucas said...

I wasn't quite three in June 1974 so this one sails right past me. However, I have just about every issue of Our Army at War from this time, so that's at least something (though not on this blog it isn't!).

Speaking of the early '70s, as someone who was alive but too young to appreciate them, the early '70s holds a sort of fascination to me. I know the Planet of the Apes movies were still popular though winding down but I wondered what kids liked in terms of kid pop culture back then. The bearded G.I. Joe? I had that. Rock 'em Sock 'Em Robots? What else? Since I started school in '76, I suppose there would be some overlap but I've always found the early '70s to be "mysterious."

Anonymous said...

This was right in the heart of my Spider-Man phase. I would have bought Amazing Spider-Man 133 and Marvel Tales 51. There is a very VERY good chance that Marvel Tales 51 was the first one I purchased.

As I was looking over the covers at Mike's Amazing World, I noticed that Marvel was still publishing their monster/creatures issues. As the company started to produce more and more of it's super heroes books, I wonder how many of it's readers were wondering why didn't they just stick with what was working. Why did they have to put everyone in a costume or give them some kind of weird power? I find myself clinging to what I think is my vision of the comics I grew up with and I forget sometimes that they were not everybody's cup of tea. "Not the comics I grew up with" mentality.

Should I be frustrated that through their comics, movies and TV shows, Marvel is trying sometimes to reinvent the wheel? I know the Nick Fury I grew up with and it's not Samuel L Jackson. But dagnabbit, if he doesn't knock it out of the park every time he puts the eye patch on!!!

Maybe someday, that 11 year old who's favorite character is Wolverine will see someone other that Hugh Jackman on the screen and say to her kid: "When did Wolverine get so short!?!"

The Prowler (playing the game of existence to the end of the beginning).

Humanbelly said...

OMG-- this is the very month that I "officially" started buying superhero comics off the spinner rack! This would have been spring of 7th grade. Up until then (for years in fact), my buddy Bryan & I had been the beneficiaries of the scores of comics that his two older brothers would regularly read and then cast aside. Then they started to find other interests, and that supply dried up, literally, like the month before this (ah yes, w/ Hulk #175). Since I was starting to pick up a small amount of liquid assets from a paper route and a more reasonable allowance, I made the leap and started to get comics for myself. Three from this month, in fact. Hulk #176; WWBN #18 (that cover completely grabbed me); and. . . X-Men #88 (lordy, which I can't begin to explain, even to this day). I did acquire another 10 or so titles shortly after (via trade, largess, and gifted doubles), including the Vampire Tales & Monsters Unleashed magazines.

Looking over the selection, this was pretty much at the beginning of the rather rapid decline of the early-70's "Monster Craze", wasn't it? There'll still be a lot of titles milking the genre for what it's worth for quite awhile, and some of them were sturdy enough and established enough to hang on for years longer, but at this point there seems to be a lot of late-to-the-bandwagon fodder on the shelves.

CK, the early 70's were kind of a weird period of cultural transition-- esp. for us youngsters, I think. What we think of as "The 60's" sort of hung on until maybe '71 or '72-ish. And then the endless scandals involving Watergate (which appears in this issue of the Hulk!) and the ugliness of the Viet Nam war sort of busted that party up in a flash and suddenly we were in an undefined (at the time) Pre-Disco era. What we think of as "The 70's" seems like it really may have started around '74 or '75.

Bearded GI Joe, absolutely on the money. R'em S'em Robots were actually on the edge of passe' at that point (and not quite as fun to play at length as they appeared in the commercials). You know who was HUGE in the early/mid 70's for us? EVEL KNIEVEL!! That guy was the most visible, hyper-marketed entity in existence for a couple of years. Completely inescapable. And as I mentioned, there was a huge surge in horror/monster pop-culture offerings. The Aurora model kits; Famous Monsters of Filmland; POTA; The Night STalker (I keep bringing ol' Carl up, don't I?); Bigfoot hoaxes-- that was a heck of a lot of the fodder for our particular corner of 11 to 14 year old male society. . .


Abe Lucas said...

Humanbelly: Your description of the early '70s fits exactly with what I have long perceived about that time! I have an odd fixation on '74-'75 because of how it isn't like what came before it and not at all like the Disco-drenched '70s stuff that I remember as a young kid.

I happen to be a Kolchak obsessive and can quote every episode at length (just don't tell anyone!).

Yes, Evel Knievel--I had that rev-up motorcycle toy and around age five-six I went through a huge Universal Monsters phase. I had the "Monster Maker" sketching toy as well as the glow-in-the-dark Frankenstein figure.

I didn't have the Rock 'em Sock 'ems, though; instead I had the bearded G.I. Joe martial arts version of same. I'm of that weird overlap age where I played with the end of bearded G.I. Joe and the first wave of "A Real American Hero" G.I. Joe.

As for comics, I have never "connected" with the super-hero stories from this period, instead I have tons and tons of DC Battle Books, which I always got for cheap when stuff like Spider-Man was just way too much $$$ on the back issue market--though I did score a copy of #149 for $4.00 in 1984. I don't know if it's nostalgia related or not but my interest in super-hero books is a rather brief window of 1976-83.

Stephen said...

To be a 5 year old again in the summer of 1974!

My older brother was collecting comic books and he would often bring home those glorious DC 100-Page Super Spectaculars and Giant-Size Marvels! They were packed with reprints and helped me better understand and put into context the current stories I was reading with the rich history of the Marvel and DC Universes.

While I truly appreciate the availability of back issues published in trades or as digital comics, there was something wonderful about reading a nice thick, square-bound comic book that had a new story at the beginning and then 3-4 Bronze or Golden Age reprints and some extra features as well, like the different Batmobiles through the ages. A magical time!

david_b said...

This was..., intense yet shimmering Marvel Universe time for me.

This was... perhaps the deepest I had been engrained in the characters, with Reed-Sue's separation (my parents had just done that 2yrs prior), nearing the climax of the CA&F Empire saga, DD's excellent Black Spectre arc, Spidey STILL going strong.

Yet there was also fun side-trips, like the Spidey-Hawkeye teamup, what EVERY Marvel fan was waiting years and years for.., Mantis slowly being revealed in Avengers, Iron Man's new mask. My parents and I moved down to Orlando for a few months (my new step-dad was interested in starting a business down there), then 8 months later came back to Wisconsin, so my LCS excursions was disrupted for the next year, along with haphazard distribution.

As for that period, HB's got it spot-on.. I was going to say SMDM/Steve Austin toys were revving up, but I had forgotten about Evel and his Snake Mountain jump. Mego was going FULL-STEAM in commercials for their WGSH, POTA and Trek lines, my AT GI Joes were on the down-slide.

Yes the televised hearings meant either a) more neighborhood backyard baseball, b) comics while munching on Fritos and slammin' Coke for me, and c) dreaming of collecting Mego's. I believe I had just picked up my Mego Spidey earlier that year, around ASM 129.

Lest we not forget the quarterly FOOM magazines coming in the mail.

Humanbelly said...

Y'know, CK, your mention DC's stable of awfully good war comics bears a seconding, I think. Possibly solid fodder for an upcoming Open Forum or something? Although we weren't as regularly glued to them as we were our superhero comics, my pal & I were quite caught up in The Losers saga- particularly around the time Capt. Storm got blown up, lost an eye, had amnesia, and was presumed dead. But between the surprisingly anti-war/non-glorifying tone those books took, and generally superb art from the ubiquitous Joe Kubert (well, he might have made it over to Haunted Tank, actually)-- those books were almost an unfailingly good read.

"Nothin's ever easy. . . fer Easy. . . "

"Make War No More"


Anonymous said...

Like HB it was Spring of 7th grade for me too AND like david_b, intense Marvel U time too, for about a year at this point AND great question about the early '70s C.K. and great summation HB. Whew! What a time.

Looking through the newsstand I am reminded how many Marvel covers were being done by Art Director Romita and they all look great. There may be certain characters where you might associate their "classic look" with some other artist, but Romita could draw them all, couldn't he? Love that Giant Size Superheroes cover.

Speaking of Giant Sizes, this was when Marvel announced the 35 cent Giants and the 60 cent SUPER Giants - but did the SUPERs ever actually see the light of day? I seem to remember them jumping to 50 centers shortly after this.


Humanbelly said...

Oh man, yeah-- "intense" is probably a good way to put the relationship with the Reed/Sue breakup going on right at that moment. My folks, too, were smack in the early stages of a long, ugly break-up at that very point. . . and seeing it happen in the pages of my beloved safety-zone/escape hobby caused me physical pain (anxiety-induced, no doubt). Just thinking about it now stirs echoes in my gut, in fact.

The one consolation was that Reed & Sue did get very gratifyingly straightened out before too much longer. Sometimes a kid needs stability in their fantasy world when the real world isn't meeting those responsibilities, y'know?

HB (who darned well needs to turn his attention back to work, here, sooner or later. . . )

david_b said...

Well, the most worrisome aspect of the Reed-Sue separation, NOT to be underscored, was 1) seeing the panel of this months ish with a slumped Reed sitting, holding the divorce decree in his limp hand, and 2) Marvel Zumvembies everywhere was still reeling (and writing those nasty letters on the ASM letterpage..) from Gwen's death.

Who'd know at that point whether this was yet another huge change..? A lot of FF fans had good reason to take this quite seriously.

Anonymous said...

You guys have touched on something here - that for us, as kids, comics were something of a safety zone. What WAS behind that whole Namor/Sue thing that go round? Weren't they just "pretending" to shake Reed up after putting Franklin into a coma or something crazy like that? Yeah, Reed and Sue getting a divorce would have a real shocker in 1974. But since that time...? I haven't kept up with comics but based on some post-Bronze covers I've seen, I'm pretty sure Sue and Subby did the deed. Where's a kid's safety zone now?


Humanbelly said...

Comics aren't written for who we were anymore, is the pretty easy answer. That 9 to 15 year old demographic slot no longer buys comic books in hefty numbers at all (and there are all kinds reasons for that-- no single culprit or cause), and I think it's very safe to say that the industry will never see their return. Cost-per-issue alone will prevent that even w/ a generous adjustment for inflation. And with the internet as a source of replacement entertainment, you're right-- Safety Zone entertainment seems to be tough to find. Even the best of YA "escapist" lit can have a painfully hard edge to it. Perhaps the ongoing wealth of supernatural/fairy-tale themed shows on television? (Not counting anything vampire-centric in that, mind you.) It's gripping, it's episodic, most of them really are darned well-done (for the genre), and they actually have a surprising cross-gender appeal. But-- they're still awfully intense for someone younger than, say, 12. . .

Anyhoo-- IIRC, the divorce itself was definitely not a ploy on Sue's part. She watched her husband lobotomize their son w/out any explanation in order to save the world in a moment of extremis. There was no getting past that. The ploy aspect came about with Namor and Triton (I think) and possibly a couple of others cooking up a situation that would help Reed & Sue reconcile. One of Namor's finest hours, honestly.

In society in general, it seems like divorce became the solution-of-choice for folks throughout the 70's. Justified or not, it was astonishing how many marriages broke up even in our little burg during that decade. And there was clearly this sense of being part of a select (albeit large), "happenin'" clique of newly-single with-it adults that it fostered. It was. . . there's no good way to put this. . . it was unbearably ugly to witness as an insecure adolescent at the time, y'know?

HB (okay, just finished my lunch)

Dr. Oyola said...

I was one-month shy of 3 years old in June 1974, and my older brother was never a regular comic reader - so I don't recognize any of these from the few he had (mostly some Amazing Spider-Man from the late60s).

Furthermore, none of these look familiar even from my later collecting days. . . Honestly, looks like bit of an uninspired month to me.

C.K. - 6 Million Dollar man was my favorite toy of the time. He towered over bearded G.I. Joe (which I also had) and tiny rubbery Evel Kneivel and his bike.

Murray said...

In deep hindsight, my comic collecting at this period sat on a cusp. I was collecting Avengers, Thor and Power Man, but more out of habit than great passion. Looking at the covers for these guys brings back no memories of wonder. All the "monster-chiller-horror theatre" comics gave me the yawns. Dull, dull, dull.

If they hadn't kept dropping little nuggets of gold like E-Man and the Englehart-Brunner run of Dr. Strange, that kept me checking the twirly rack, I could have quit comics around here.

I guess that's been my comic buying policy since then. On the edge of walking away, but even in the darkest days, some artist-writer would buck the trends and put out something sparkly and fun.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I was only 2 at this time, so no actual memories. I have read a few of these issues since then, but the only one that really jumps out is Amazing Spidey #133 with Molten Man; I always liked Moltey, and this issue also featured Liz Allan after a long absence (and we find out Moltey is her step-brother!)

It's weird how some of the cultural phenoms carried over into the late 70s...early 70s icons like Evel Knievel and Bruce Lee were still big a few years later. I remember we used to build ramps in the back alley to do jumps with our bikes (not to mention putting baseball cards in the spokes for that "authentic" motorbike sound!)

Mike W.

Karen said...

1974...truly a golden year. The early-mid seventies were a great time to be a kid, and not just because of the comics (although those were wonderful).

You guys have already extolled the virtues of many of the toys and obsessions of those days, but I have to say Planet of the Apes was just huge for me. I was still about a year and a half to two years from becoming a big Trekkie. POTA was still bringing it, with the movies, TV show,books, toys...was there any greater joy than running around the back yard with my POTA rifle and gorilla mask on my face, chasing the dog or 'shooting' any hapless human who wandered into the yard? I think not.

A few days ago I actually set up a POTA 'grab bag' post to run on Wednesday of next week. There's been enough things happening win the Apes word with the new film coming out that I thought it was time. So if you want to talk about those damn dirty apes, be sure to swing by next Wednesday!

One thing that hits me thinking back to those days is how much free time I had. After school, I had to do my homework at some point, of course, but most of my time was mine; it was unscheduled. Today, it seems like most kids I know are being carted off to this lesson or that practice, with no time to just explore or play. I feel like they are really missing something. The time I had on my own, or with friends, was time when I grew and figured out who I was, and what I liked to do. I had unexpected adventures and had to make decisions, sometimes spur of the moment ones, that had an impact on me. I don't know if that's happening so much for kids today.

Oh geez, I sound like a cranky oldster! Back to the comics!

david_b said...

The entire Reed-Sue separation started just after ish 128, some 13 issues earlier.. The zappin' was just one of the final straws.

david_b said...

Karen, you actually hit on one of the funniest marketing bits of the early '70s..:

The dimestore POTA rifle set.

Urban legend has it, that there was warehouses of all these plastic rifles, just collecting dust because of all the consumer/parental backlash against 'war toys' and guns being sold to kids. Suddenly, a smart executive decided that if they added a cheap apemask to these rifles and slapped on a POTA sticker on them, they fly off the shelves.

They did.

Like hotcakes.

Karen said...

David, I just remember that rifle was loud! Plus, loved the cylindrical magazine - it seemed so odd but perfect for the apes. The mask was uncomfortable but I wore it anyway...

The Reed/Sue split was very uncomfortable for me at the time -didn't it bother every kid? My folks stayed together until my Mom passed, but even so -the idea of two parental figures like these, probably the most parental in the Marvel universe, breaking up, that was a rough one. Reed zapping Franklin was terrible and of course that's another blow to the gut from Gerry Conway! I kid, I kid, we love Gerry. But boy, the 70s could sure bring a heavy dose of realism to the party.

david_b said...

Gerry's coming to Detroit's comic con next May, I'm planning on bringing my ASM 121, 122 and perhaps some FF mags from this period for his autograph.

He certainly had my emotions fully-invested.

He certainly was the 'restless soul' of Marvel's Bronze Age.

J.A. Morris said...

I picked up lots of these as back issues at conventions in 1980-81. I asked a dealer for Avengers #124 thinking it was part of the Zodiac 4-parter, and I was a bit disappointed at first. But I enjoyed the Star Stalker in that story.

ASM#133 is a sentimental favorite. My uncle didn't have much money when I was a kid & his birthday gifts were usually a month or two late. But one day in the Fall, I received an envelope full of Amazing Spider-Man back issues that included the Molten Man 2-parter, so that month of comics looms large in my youth.

I guess I'll lose some Bronze Age coolness points, but I didn't know until now that Marvel published a title called Journey Into Mystery in the 1970s.

Anonymous said...

J.A. - I am JUST NOW realizing that there was a '70s J.I.M., thanks to you. We can lose coolness points together.


Garett said...

This is the period for me when comics were just around at some friend's house, but I wasn't really into them yet. Later though I picked up:
Conan 39--great art drawn and inked by John Buscema.

Brave + Bold 113--I don't think I've ever read a Metal Men story on their own, but I like them as guest stars with Batman or Superman.

Detective 441-- of course the great Manhunter series by Simonson.

Kamandi 18--Gorillas, an underground monster, and gopher-people!

Thor 224-- always like Thor and Hercules together.

Worlds Unknown 7--Sinbad! Just picked this one up last week at a tattoo shop that sells discount comics. Art by Tuska, haven't read it yet.

Graham said...

Looking at the impressive list of books published that month....

The main thing I remember about 1974 is all of those great 100 Page Super Spectaculars. I tried to get as many of them as I could with our limited budget. I remember getting that Shazam! issue, along with the Our Army At War, Tarzan, B&B, and that was a really cool issue of Detective Comics with the old Sargon and Spider stories and the Chaykin art on the main feature.

I also remember getting the Famous First Edition of Detective 27 and the Shazam! special, too. I was so excited because I had never seen a Batman story from that far back. I also remember passing on Shadow #5 because of the goofy-looking art from some Robbins dude (though I later came to like his work on The Invaders).

This was before I started getting into the Marvel Universe, but I actually did pick up the second issue of Spirit from Warren. This was a pretty big month in my comic collecting period.

Sean Budde said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Redartz said...

HB- this coincidentally was the month I officially became a comic collector/fan! Most of those books hold great memories for me. I was especially stoked about Giant Size Super Heroes, and had to find out who this "Morbius" was. This was the month I was introduced to the local comic shop, and boy did I go wild.

One other that stands out: Dr. Strange #1. The story and art amazed me; even more so as this particular comic I bought in a three- pack ( seems like it was a Stuckey's) while going on a family trip. What a terrific comic to read riding in the back seat. Man, that was a great Spring/Summer...

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