Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer of '76! Grooviest Covers of All Time: A Marvel-ous Summer

What it is, Groove-ophiles! Today we begin a week-long look back at the sensational Summer of 1976! It was the Bicentennial, baby, but it was, oh, so much more! The Summer Olympics were dominated by Nadia-mania. Legionnaire's Disease and Swine Flu gave us quite a scare. Happy Days, Match Game, and Kotter ruled the boob tube (with Family Feud and the Gong Show making their debuts). "Afternoon Delight", "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight", "Silly Love Songs", and "More, More, More" burned up the radio waves. At the box office The Omen shocked, the Outlaw Josie Wales rocked, and Silent Movie...well, it wasn't as good as Blazing Saddles or Young Frankenstein. Cher, Burt Reynolds, and Liz Taylor used up all the ink in the tabloids. And Marvel Comics gave in to yet another bout of inflation and raised their cover-prices to thirty cents--just in time for the summer! Were they worth the extra nickel? Gaze at the following gaggle of compelling covers and you tell me, baby!

Notice the debuts of both Nova and Phoenix occurred during that scintillating summer! I remember getting Captain America's Bicentennial Battles and Nova #1 the day school went out. What a way to start the summer! Superheroes were definitely dominating, with most of the horror line gone and only a couple sword and sorcery mags left standing in their bloody sandals. All of their western mags (which had long before gone to reprints) ended that summer--right when Young Groove was getting into them thanks to a local station showing classic westerns late Friday nights. At least DC still had Jonah Hex. And speaking of DC, we'll check out their line-up tomorrow. See ya then!


  1. Wow, thanks, truly, for that early morning trip down memory lane; I actually had quite a few of these. That Amazing Adventures issue was probably the only Killraven book I ever picked up off the spinner rack, probably because it had a bunch of (grotesque) super-heroes on the cover. I also remember at the time I hardly understood the story but that it did freak me out a bit - so I didn't buy any more Killraven stuff until much later.
    Anyway, this post really demonstrates how us comic fans had one more reason to look forward to summer - not only was school out, but that was usually when all of the annuals, specials and treasury edition type stuff came out.

  2. I still have at least 8 or 9 of these comics, and would have had a few more back in the day. Happy memories. Was it really 35 years ago? Wow!

  3. Whoa! Omega the Unknown? Super Groovy Awesome! Heh, seriously, that was one of the best series of that era.

  4. I know this will paint me as a hopeless feeb, but I got misty thinking of both the summer of 1976, and the kid I was then. Whoever the hell he was. But it was, in its way, a magical time.

    I POURED over Tomb of Dracula and Ghost Rider..... And my lifelong love of Sax Rohmer started with Master of Kung Fu.....

  5. Looks like it was a busy Summer for the King: loadsa Krazy Kirby Kovers and Cap's Bicentennial Battles too! Great stuff!

    Looking back now, I think I must have spent all my pocket money on comics that Summer! I've got 23 of the above comics, and only 3 or 4 were bought in later years as back issues. I can still remember the excitement of seeing the Nova and X-Men covers for the first time. Happy days! Thanks for bringing back the memories, Groove!

  6. Thank you, sir! I also had many of the tomes pictured, and loved every one of them. Many of those books stand out in my mind to the extent that I recall where they were purchased. And you know the occasional Slurpee was involved!



  7. More reasons why 1976 is my mostest favoritest year of my lifetime. Thanks for the groovy post!

  8. Sigh! I was in Canoga Park,CA that summer. If I had only known Kirby lived in Sherman Oaks! I would had paided him a visit! GGGRRRR!! Man that summer was awesome! Kirby rocked! I bought most of these comics off the spinner rack at the local 7-11.

    Along with the Capt.A Bicentennial treasury edition. I believe 2001 a Space Odessey came out that same summer too. I remember buying those slurpees just trying to collect all those cool Marvel Superhero cups! I lived in WI at the time & we had no 7-11's here!Man Kirby was King then, The Eternals, countless covers. I remember the Hulk annual & Thor annuals were my favorites that summer. Along with the DD annual, Nova #1, Omega,& HTD!

    Sal Buscema was rocking on the Hulk, Specatular Spider-Man. Gil Kane was still rocking out covers. The only sad thing was indeed Marvel's monster line was almost completely gone!I loved Tomb of dracula #50! Gene Colan inked by the one & only Tom Palmer. Drac vs the Silver Surfer! Holy Moley! I always thought the Surfer should have & could had vaporized old fang face with one mere cosmic blast.

    Or took him for a ride on his cosmic board into the stars & into the sun! Boy drac that's nasty sunburn you got there! KFD! Kentucky Fried Dracula! LOL YIKES! Sorry about my mile long comment. Can you tell I loved the summer of 76! HHHEEYYYY!!

  9. This is a bittersweet gallery for me b/c this was the end of the Englehart/MacGregor era (though Gerber stuck around for a bit as I recall). Dr. Strange, Cap, Black Panther, War of The Worlds all changed dramatically. Nevermind that Avengers which Jim Shooter & Gerry Conway hijacked.

    Interestingly, Moench & Claremont were still going strong.

    The Golden Age of Comics is 15 years old, as they say.

  10. What a great bunch of stuff. I was amazed to see that many Kirby covers.

  11. 80% of the dc titles lost me,never saw or had those issues,BUT BUT BUT BUT I owned 70% of the marvel titles...and I was twelve and had no money?????
    floods of memories

    wonderful blog, thank you.



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Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

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As for the rest of ya, the purpose of this blog is to (re)introduce you to the great comics of the 1970s. If you like what you see, do what I do--go to a comics shop, bookstore, e-Bay or whatever and BUY YOUR OWN!