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The Top 70 Most Iconic Panels in Marvel Comics History!

Okay, so this is what we’re going to do for the month of August.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be posting three iconic panels a day until August 24th.

At that point, you folks will have about a week to pick your Top 10 panels out of the 70 options. I’ll tabulate the votes, and on August 31st, I’ll post the Top 70 Most Iconic Panels in Marvel Comics History, to celebrate Marvel’s 70th Anniversary (which I believe they’re suggesting is specifically this month).

In the meantime, feel free to send in suggestions (to cronb01@aol.com) for what panels I should pick as the seventy choices that folks can choose from (I initial considered not including “full-page splashes” in the definition of panel, but never mind, I’ll allow full-page splashes count as “panels” – as for the definition of “iconic,” basically think of the panels that instantly pop into your head when you think of Marvel Comics – those will be the “iconic” panels)

Here’s the first panel, from Amazing Fantasy #15…

And here is the master list of all panels posted so far!


The two that jump to mind immediately are the final panel of that same issue, the “With Great Power” one, and the other is the “Face it Tiger, you just hit the jackpot!” introduction of Mary Jane in whatever issue of Spider-Man introduced Mary Jane.

Bullseye sticking Elektra’s sai through her has to be in the top 5. Bruce Banner getting nuked. Magneto pulling the adamantium out of Wolvie…man, i could go on forvever. I’ll stop now and just email, haha.

Ummm, not to be all nitpicky and anal-retentive, but that panel is not from Amazing Fantasy #15. In AF#15, Ditko drew Spidey’s eyes visible through the mask. The version you posted is from one of the numerous reprints where the eyes have been whited out.

It’s okay, Wilbur, everyone’s entitled to be nitpicky and anal-retentive sometimes (although, preferably without opening said nitpick with “ummm”)!!

Yay, the eyes are back! I missed them, too.

Huh, I didn’t even know that about the eyes! Weird.

Some X-Men choices: I always liked the panel in Giant-Size X-Men #1 where everyone else sees Krakoa except Scott. The panel of Phoenix flying through the water in X-Men 101. The “Hi yourself” panel from Uncanny X-Men 175. Colossus running through an “astonished” Kitty in Astonishing X-Men. Wolvie’s bones from Uncanny X-Men 142.

Spider-Man throwing the machinery off at the climax of the Master Planner Saga is #1 in my book. That whole sequence is pure comics dynamite.

Cap riding on the jet from Civil War #1. What ever you though of Civil War, you can’t deny that so effing cool

too bad the panel needs setup, but when Wolverine stabs Rachel Phoenix to keep her from killing Selene….

of course it’s only a white “snikt!” on a black background.

Wolverine in the sewers during the hellfire club battle has to be one.

Four words:

Superman to Mongul: “Burn”.

Six words:

Top 70 Most Iconic Marvel Panels :D

The trick is to pick out the ones that have been homaged over and over and over by other writers/artists since the original illustrations- then you can cherry pick the fan faves…

ones I can think of at the moment:
Sue, Ben, Reed, and Johnny joining hands.

Here’s a tricky one: what’s the most iconic image that’s been referenced over and over and over from the “Death of Gwen Stacy” storyline- is it Spidey holding her and vowing vengeance OR Gwen being stopped by Peter’s webline with the SNAP effect?

What’s the most ‘iconic’ panel in Steranko’s famous Nick Fury issue? Is it the gun in the holster?

Of course, Goblin getting his is also reasonably iconic…

Spidey holding up the tons of steel from the Master Planner storyline.

The Avengers surrounding Steve Rogers thawing body.

Cap reaching for Bucky in mid-air before the fatal (or not…) explosion.
BTW- anybody here seeing a great idea for Brubaker further giving reasons for Bucky being alive by having the time-torn Cap actually grab Bucky off the drone plane just far enough so that Bucky does indeed live, making sense of the ‘resurrection’? I think that’s pretty cool- Steve actually gets to redeem one of his life’s greatest tragedies, only to have to live with the idea that he condemned Bucky to decades of brainwashed murder.

I could think of more, but that’s enough for now, besides, I’m curious to see if I’ve gotten a few steps ahead of Bru…

I always liked how Spidey was so shocked, that his pupils bug out through the mask.

I think the panel from Simonson’s Thor where Beta-Ray Bill first turns into “Thor” should be on the list. Another obvious choice is the panel in the first Fantastic Four story where they land their hands on top of each other.

It was easier picking “just” 70 when I was excluding full-page splashes, but I just couldn’t think of a good enough reason to exclude them. Now it’s going to be extremely difficult limiting this to just 70.

I would think Wolverine’s first-appearance on the last page of Hulk would make it. Don’t know why that occurred to me. I’m not particularly a Wolverine fan.

The panel in X-Men #137 where Phoenix commits suicide screaming “SCOTT!” That one’s etched in my memory forever. (The first appearance of Phoenix in X-Men #101 would be another contender; it’s not as vibrant in my mind, but that’s probably because I didn’t read that issue until year’s later.)

Steve Hendricks

August 2, 2009 at 10:39 am

MJ’s first panel “Face it, tiger, you’ve just hit the jackpot.”

I seem to remember an early panel with a cutaway of Hulk trapped behind the steel door, pounding at it, while Rick Jones sits on the other side waiting until morning or whenever it would be safe to let Bruce out again.

The wedding of Reed and Sue with all their guests.

I think, whether you like it or not, “no more mutants” has become rather iconic.

The close-up of Kingpin’s face when he believes Vanessa to be dead near the start of Frank Miller’s run always sticks in my head. As does the silent panel of bullets passing through Kitty after she’s just found Colossus alive.

I’ll throw in the splash of the Vision in “Even an Android Can Cry”.

I know it doesn’t qualify, but I just want to give a mention to Grant Morrison’s Animal Man: The “I can see you!” panel is one of the greatest panels of ANY comic!

I would like to nominate when Tony Stark comes up with a lame excuse for them forgetting that MJ broke an arm an issue before and they forgot it and did a full burn at the audience reading the comic. :D

Okay…two words then:


Bernard the Poet

August 2, 2009 at 1:09 pm

I would have thought that today’s panel is most likely to be the eventual winner. The only comparable panel in my opinion is the Thing placing his hand over the other three’s in FF 1.

I suppose Wolverine popping out of the sewers in X-Men 132 started the ball rolling on one of Marvel’s cash cow. so that should make the top five.

[…] in case you didn’t see yesterday’s intro, the concept is that each day up to and including the 24th of August, I’ll be posting three […]

one pannel that needs to make the list besides the wolverine and dark phonix ones should be the pannel in days of future past where the setinal fries wolverine. and the one pannel from daredevil born again where the kingpin and daredevil fight

The splash from “Thor vs The Stone Men of Saturn”, the splash from “This Man, This Monster”, Steranko’s Captain America fighting on top of a pile of Hydra agents, Red Sonja dancing in the splash from Song of Red Sonja and panel one, page two of “If Eternity Should Fail!” from Strange Tales #138. I could go on and on.

Definite Dark Horse Candidate, but one of the most iconic images for me was the panel in Iron Man 169 where Iron Man takes off his mask to Rhodey, to reveal Tony Stark’s drunken, dissheveled face.


August 2, 2009 at 5:01 pm

The “Face It Tiger” panel would be the number 1 in my book, but also in my top 10 would be from ASM #248, when Spider-Man takes off his mask to the kid in “The Kid Who Collected Spider-Man.”

The original Secret Wars mini-series has some great panels to it:
– Hulk holding up the mountain over the Marvel heroes;
– Captain America healing his shield
– first panel with Spidey in the black costume

Wolverine in the sewer! Wolverine in the sewer!

You used it as a Cool Comic Book Moment already, I’m pretty sure, but the panel from the Ultron storyline by Busiek and Perez with the Avengers busting through the wall after battling all the duplicate Ultron’s and Thor saying “We would have words with thee.” That’s a great panel.

Wolverine in the last panel of Uncanny X-Men #133. “You had your chance. Now it’s my turn.”

“What’s the most ‘iconic’ panel in Steranko’s famous Nick Fury issue? Is it the gun in the holster?”

How about Contessa teasing Nick with the rose?

Oh, one more. Are we counting splash-pages? If so, then UXM #168. “Professor Xavier is a Jerk!”

Spider-Man throwing off the machinery off his back is easily the #1 most iconic panel in superhero comics period, from any company.

Although honestly, I wish you chose a word other than “iconic,” as DC has really run that word into the ground at this point.

Spidey throwing off the fallen machine at the end of the Master Planner saga is another one that needs to be on the list. Same with Doom’s victory splash in FF #57.

Wolvie in the sewers is probably my favourite(UXM #132). Followed closely by Dormammu attacking Eternity in Strange Tales 146. The first full appearance of MJ in Amazing Spider-Man has become a classic as well (ASM #42). And while I am not a particular McFarlane fan, the panel from circa ASM #300 where Spidey is back in his red duds in a snowy NYC is a classic too. Whoever mentioned the pseudo-Thing sitting in acceptance of his fate in “This Man This Monster,” got it pretty much spot on too (FF #51).
And I’m not sure does it qualify as it’s no longer really in continuity, but the splash page of Elektra holding the sword from the last (I think) issue of Elektra Assassin shows Bill Sienkiewicz at his most restrained and elegant.
I really can’t remember the issue, but the shot of the Green Goblin with his face obscured, before we found out who he was sticks with me too.
And Skurge at Gjallerbru decked out with Machine Guns from Thor #362 stands up pretty well to the test of time too!

Or the double splash page from Conan #16, where two warriors fight on amidst the dead and the dying on a snowy battlefield, interspersed with blood. BWS at his absolute best!

“The version you posted is from one of the numerous reprints where the eyes have been whited out.”

If it’s the version that has been reprinted numerous times, doesn’t that make it the more iconic version?

“The version you posted is from one of the numerous reprints where the eyes have been whited out.”

If it’s the version that has been reprinted numerous times, doesn’t that make it the more iconic version?

For me, the version with the eyes has 10 times the power of the version without. It really gets Peter Parker’s shock across to the reader.

Of course, I saw the eye version first (In ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS), so maybe I’m biased.

[…] in case you didn’t see the introduction, the concept is that each day up to and including the 24th of August, I’ll be posting three […]

[…] in case you didn’t see the introduction, the concept is that each day up to and including the 24th of August, I’ll be posting three […]

[…] picks for the “Most Iconic Marvel Panels of All-Time” starting August 24 (more details here). I’ll be posting three a day until that […]

1. Death of Karen Page, Daredevil.
2. Ultimate Spider-Man 17: Confessions, with Peter Standing on the wall over Einstein’s face, confessing to MJ re: his being Spider-Man.
3. Alias: confrontation with Killgrave.

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