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The Top 70 Most Iconic Panels in Marvel History – Day 7

Okay, 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 iconic panels from Marvel Comics’ 70-year history (panels meaning any single enclosed drawing, including single page splashes). On the 24th, you folks will get a chance to pick your Top 10 out of the 70 choices. I’ll tabulate the votes and I’ll debut the Top 70 Most Iconic Panels in Marvel Comics History on August 31st. In the meantime, feel free to e-mail me (cronb01@aol.com) with suggestions for panels for me to use!

Here’s the next three panels! And click here for the master list of all the panels posted so far!

Incredible Hulk (Vol. 1) #1…

Amazing Spider-Man #122…

Strange Tales #138….


The last one absolutely. It’s one of my favourites from the whole of the Silver Age.

Good thing Rick Jones avoided all that radiation by being shoved into a ditch. Only a scientist would be able to think of something that complex!
I know I’m being a bit harsh, but it still makes me laugh. The other two moments are pretty great themselves.

That last one is trippy. I ate some shrooms and I couldn’t stop staring at it for an hour. My friends told me I was talking to it.

Tom Fitzpatrick

August 8, 2009 at 5:25 am

@Zappa: I hear the DEA storming outside your door. ;-)

Was the last panel by Ditko?
Either way, put me down for # 3.

It has to be number one because it’s been emulated so much over the years by other artists.

But I gotta admit that character design for Eternity has always been superb. Ditko rules!

I love Ditko….huge fan of his work, and yeah it is Eternity’s first appearance but I got to go with that Hulk panel. The Green Goblin one has been negated by the endless killing off and bringing back of Green Goblin over the decades. That image of Banner getting blasted is pure classic Kirby and the posture of his body just screams out EXPLOSION! Great iconic origin image…total pure win right there.

Weird choices this time. I love that Dr. Strange scene but Iconic? Do you think of that when you think of Dr.Strange? Of those 3 I would have to pick the Gamma Bomb pic. Spidey has much better and the good doctor just isn’t iconic enough I don’t think he has one.

I have to agree that the third is iconic. I never read a doctor strange book and have no idea what’s going on in that panel but I recognized that I had seen it many times before as soon as I saw it. Weird.

It’s the panel that is almost always used to exemplify Ditko’s Doctor Strange run, and I think Ditko’s Doctor Strange run counts as among the most iconic runs on a Marvel title.

Hulk made it. Yay!

I lean towards #1 and #2. Those have something to them… while the one with Strange and Eternity seems kinda static and dull. Especially considering, say, Galactus’s first appearance.

It’s a shame that when the first Spider-Man movie recreated that panel, they had the glider hit about a foot lower than it did in the original version, giving Norman a lethal cup shot…

Of these definitely the Hulk one. The Spidey one is an iconic STORY, but that particular panel is strictly an album track, not the single (which would be Gwen’s death). And yeah, Eternity’s a great design, but the panel itself is indeed pretty static. When I think of Ditko’s Dr. Strange, I think of the twisty trails through other dimensions, the Mindless Ones, and especially the very first panel of the first Dr. Strange story.

The Spidey one is an iconic STORY, but that particular panel is strictly an album track, not the single (which would be Gwen’s death).

The panel was re-created in the first Spider-Man film. Very rarely do comic book panels get re-created in films based on comics.

Yeah, but still the comics are what count and the Harry Osborn thing is now invalid because continuity rendered it a moot point, plus it isn’t even remotely Gil Kane’s best work. The layout of the panel is awkward at best. The Ditko panel…again, LOVE the man’s work even his Charlton stuff and big fan of the Creeper as well, but it is such a static scene. An iconic panel should be about the overall impact of the art as well as the meaning. Ditko put so much work into the design of Eternity that he neglects the rest of the page as a whole. Doctor Strange looks like he’s scratching his ass for pete’s sake! The background is dull and too simplistic even thought the look of Eternity himself is like the photograph mosaics in the Galactus trilogy but hand drawn and that is impressive.

Still got to go with Kirby on this. That is the moment the magic kicks in with that origin story.

Speaking of Ditko’s Strange, does anyone remember the announcement last year that Brendan McCarthy was gonna do a Spidey/Doctor Strange miniseries? Along with the announcement, McCarthy posted a couple of really cool, recolored Ditko pages. This miniseries were supposed to be released during the early summer… anyone knows what happened, or what the status is?

The panel was re-created in the first Spider-Man film. Very rarely do comic book panels get re-created in films based on comics.

It’s the exception rather than the rule, to be sure, but there was a fair amount of that in Superman Returns, Watchmen, and of course Sin City.

But yeah, I think the Goblin’s death is important from a story perspective, but pretty forgettable as a panel. I’ve read this issue a bunch of times and remember how it happened, but looking at the panel again I’m kind of surprised how uninteresting it is.

Man, I take back what I said about Steve Ditko. He could TOTALLY draw well if he wanted to. This proves it.

I’m not sure Sin City and 300, and Watchmen to a lesser extent, should be a part of the debate since arguably their whole point was to recreate as many panels from the comics as possible.

But I do think whether or not a panel has been recreated in a movie is important. The panel would have to be iconic, or else there’d be no reason to recreate it because few people if any would recognize it.

Daniel O' Dreams

August 8, 2009 at 1:53 pm

I think the panel where Norman actually dies (or I guess that should be “dies”) pinned to the wall is more iconic and also reproduced fairly faithfully in the movie.

hard to choose but i have to go with two for as cool as strange is standing by enternity the green goblin getting killed by his own glider after causing gwens death is more ironic for the green goblin dies when it was suppose to be spiderman killed by the glider.

That Hulk panel is amazing, it looks as if it was a ninth of a page, but it is incredibly expressive.

Man, I take back what I said about Steve Ditko. He could TOTALLY draw well if he wanted to. This proves it.

I’m sure he’s thrilled to hear it, Chris!

Re, the Hulk panel: This is freaky because I was totally about to suggest the next-but-one panel, which is an extreme close-up of Bruce Banner screaming as he gets hit by the bomb, inked like the negative of a photograph. I guess the first one is more famous but that’s the one I always think of when I think of Hulk’s origin and considering the number of times I’ve seen it aped I’d say it’s a strong contender for the list. Could this be the first time almost-consecutive panels are included?

I love all of HULK # 1. He wakes up hours later, still screaming, in a cell with Rick Jones and tells him “they must be waiting for me to die.” Rick says “What’s up with this kooky radio playing static?” and Banner tells him it’s a Geiger counter going wild. Then he doubles up and it’s the first agonising change into the Hulk. That chilled my seven-year old mind when I first read it

Most Iconic consecutive panels would be excellent (but maybe a challenge) since we’re dealing with storytelling in a sequence.

I’ve been reading Marvel comics since around 1965, and the panel that first jumped to mind when I read about this vote was Skurge holding the bridge at Gjallerbru, swinging that M-16 like an axe.

Good point, Daniel. THAT one I remember.


August 8, 2009 at 7:15 pm


One wonders what Bruce Banner was planning to do before the bomb went off.

“There, now you’re safe! And now I’ll narrate what I’m doing as I jump into the trench with you! Oh no, it appears I have run out of time because I decided talking was more important than jumping, even though I could have done both at the same time.”

From these three, #1 is by far the most iconic. The countless times that specific shot was revisited are why; that’s what “iconic” is all about for me.

The second is a memorable moment but not nearly as enduring.

And the third is a nice enough drawing, but not at all “iconic”, and far from Ditko’s most memorable panel.

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