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The Top 70 Most Iconic Panels in Marvel History – Day 12

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!

Captain America #175…

Avengers #213…

Thunderbolts #1…


Wasn’t there a panel that revealed all of the T-Bolts’ identities?

Sadly, no, Dan.

The Crazed Spruce

August 13, 2009 at 7:24 am

It was a series of panels, one for each Thunderbolt.

Oh. Then the Zemo reveal is the way to go, then.

I’m going with number 2.

While not my favorite subject matter, that single panel defined what many people think of Hank Pym to this day. No single panel has had as big an effect on a character with exception of maybe Tony Stark piloting the Iron Man while he was drunk.

One thing I never noticed or thought about before, but Janet is wearing heels with her neglige. What kind of midnight snack was she looking for? Janet! You tart! Love it!

Hank also talks about redemption while simultaneously damning his reputation. Great stuff.

Wow. I never thought to include the Yellowjacket panel. The image itself isn’t exactly burned in my brain (the first picture I think of from that issue is Jan revealing her black eye to the others).

It’s certainly a powerful panel and sadly, has shaped people’s view of the character ever since (I say sadly ’cause I always liked Pym). Don’t think I’d vote for it as it’s not really an image of Pym I’d want to remember.

For a great Hank Pym selection, I’d pick Ant-Man crawling over the comatose Vision’s face, about to go into his body. Hey, we should see at least one Neal Adams panel, right? (another contender: “The Sentinels live!” and similar images from that great X-men arc).

That Thunderbolts panel is classic. That wins this round for me.

Oh. Then the Zemo reveal is the way to go, then.

Yeah, I think it’s memorable enough to warrant inclusion here, but it’s definitely more of a “sequence” than a “panel.”

Well, the Zemo reveal is considered one of the best twists in comic history, and from what I heard, completely unspoiled ahead of time.

The first one made me giggle, especially in contrast with the last. But the Pym-slap seems to me to be the standout here.

Zemo! Armed and Dangerous!

Sorry… Couldn’t help it…

i would go with the zemon reveal mostly for it was one of those omg moments when the leader of the thunderbolts turned out to be the leader of the masters of evil. for number 2 shows why when fans think of hank the first thing in some minds is he slapped the wasp. surprised the pannel made the list other then it being memomarble showing the dark side of hank

It was basically unspoiled, Kris, but in what I found to be a pretty annoying house ad for the book, they gave four options for who the Thunderbolts were, and The Masters of Evil were one of them.

And seeing as how on Usenet at the time, a lot of us (myself included) were already thinking that the Thunderbolts were the Masters of Evil (the bit where Hulk and Meteorite were shown to have a connection was the key clue), that ad was a bit annoying as it sort of cinched it, ya know?

By the by, the fact that people guessed that they were the Masters of Evil already takes NOTHING away from the reveal! It was very well done.

I know it’s a semantic issue to some extent, but my definition of iconic is something that’s really cool and exciting and makes you glad you read comics. Hank hitting Jan is certainly significant, but all it stands for is mental instability and abuse. It’s in no way a “cool” moment, and I really hope it doesn’t make the final cut. It’s scarred Hank’s character ever since, and I’m not sure if it’s really done the Avengers or comics any favors. Who wrote that issue, was it Shooter?

Shooter wrote the issue.

Janet was trying to reconcile with Hank and keep him supported in what she obviously knew was one of his “episodes,” and as a fashion designer probably always dressed that way. Bob Hall had been around since the 1960s, when dressing for bed was more normal.

I second the notion above of using her black eye reveal rather than this panel, if we must at all. It’s a better beat in the story.

All three of these are great choices, especially #2 and #3. #3 is the second panel so far that is from the time I was actually old enough to be a comics reader (and a much better one than the House of M panel).

Was there ever an iconic reveal of Wolverine crucified on the X? I know it was on the cover, but I was wondering if there was an in-comic panel. I think that would be pretty iconic.

@Shawn Hill

I understand your logic. I thought Mr. Cronin was using the literal definition of iconic meaning “characteristic of an icon.”

Since Hank hitting Jan was indicative of his arrogance characteristic, and since he is iconic in the MU of being the brilliant but not as respected for his brilliance as Reed Richards or Tony Stark this was the basis for my pick. He has become further iconic for all the wrong reasons. He has now become The underappreciated and abusive superhero because of that panel. The black eye panel is a result of this one. It’s predicated on the action of this picture that changed Pym practically forever. Is it the greatest panel in Marvel history? No.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the subject matter is particularly happy or furthers the public good, but even by your definition of making one want to read comics, this was one of those scenes where a comic character also comes off as human with flaws that any human can have. I certainly don’t celebrate Hank hitting Jan.

Discussions like this are what makes this so much fun. Thank you Shawn and Brian for getting me thinking about this stuff.

Since I haven’t seen much commentary about panel one, I just want to say that I think it’s an excellent choice. Back when I started reading comics, that storyline and the Nomad follow up were probably the most famous Cap stories ever. They might have been forgotten to an extent by newer readers, but this is still one of the signature moments in Cap history. I would suggest that Cap finding Roscoe’s dead body in the Nomad arc is maybe even more iconic, but this is a nice choice as well.

Tom from West Chester

August 13, 2009 at 10:25 am

I’ve know about Hank hitting Jan for what feels like the entirety of my comics reading life, but i can’t say that I have ever actually seen the panel where it happened before. It’s certainly memorable and the incident is infamous, but I don’t know how high up the list I’d put the actual panel itself. Unlike other panels that have been used so far this doesn’t get the same play.

Regarding the Cap panel, isn’t that Sal Buscema inked by Vince Colletta? Surely they deserve some iconicity! And written by Englehart when he was rocking so many books in the 1970s.

As to the definition of icon (see, I warned you about semantics) it actually originally meant a sacred or devotional image found on the altar in a church.

It has come to mean any valued or respected, enduring symbol. Popularly it can also mean something (or someone, like Michael Jackson) in whom there is widespread interest (whether positive or negative or mixed).

The only one of those criteria met by Hank slapping Jan is popularity, but it’s in the sense of infamy rather than prideful fame. One could argue that Marvel is still celebrated by including it in the list for its maturity in dealing with the theme of domestic abuse (seeing Hank and Jan in line with the feet of clay so many of Marvel’s heroes have always had), but it’s not an argument I would make.

The Captain America #175 panel was one I thought of when you announced this feature. If I recall correctly it was homaged by X-Statix.

Thunderbolts #1, the single awesomest reveal in all comics history.
Heroes reborn was going on. Thunderbolts had been built up as another generic superteam in all the mags. The issue read as a normal hero book would and then the last page! I’m still blown away by it.

of today’s panel’s, it has to be Zemo. i remember working at a comic book store, and a fan of Busiek’s. When i scanned through the issue, i found it to be pretty standard stuff, especially for one of my favorite writers. i didn’t get to the last couple of pages & didn’t buy it. Later, i went back and re-read it and saw the reveal. i was totally floored. The reveal took what i considered a substandard comic and turned it all around for me. i bought Thunderbolts until about a year after Busiek left. i remember when the Heroes Reborn took place about 10 issues into the T-Bolts. i wished that we could have at least another year without the heroes to see how long the T-Bolts could hold the charade. Great stuff.

I’d probably have to go with #3 as well. I don’t think people remember that old Cap story enough for it to really be iconic (I just read it in one of those cool essential volumes, though). I agree that #2 is more infamous than iconic as well. I do still remember the MoE reveal, though. That was pretty neat.

Zemo reveal is the winner for me, can’t remember any last page twist so awesome than this.


This has been a great list so far! A couple others that I have thought of/agree with:

A panel of Logan with his two claws around someones face/neck. Not sure what THE iconic one is, but that is certainly a “signature” Wolverine move.

The panel with the full reveal of Spidey’s new black costume.

Speaking of Venom, perhaps the panel of the anonymous hand shoving Peter onto the subway tracks

One of my personal all time favorite panels – the silent one in Ucanny 201 with Maddy and Ororo in her attic after Scott storms out. That panel speaks volumes.

The Thunderbird death, where he’s smashing Nefaria’s plane shouting about being a man

Great stuff.

So, did you already include any of the panels from the Dark Phoenix Saga? Particularly the one where the disintegrator beam hits Phoenix.

While I think the Pym panel has had the longer lasting consequences for the character, I don’t think the panel itself is particularly iconic. I base that on th efact that in 20 years of reading comics, that’s the first time I’ve ever seen it.

The Thunderbolts panel I see referenced all the time in comics and publications about comics. It is one of THE great “gotcha” moments in comics that no one saw coming. I had written off the Thunderbolts as generic superhero team #1,778 after they first appeared in Hulk, but after that panel, I was hooked for years. Up until Marvel somehow though turning the book into Fight Club was the way to go with it…ugh…

What is panel #1 supposed to be?

“What is panel #1 supposed to be?”

Cap pulls of the mask of the leader of the Secret Empire. You don’t see his face but it’s heavily implied that it’s the President. This was during Watergate.

I’ll go with the Pym Slap. Pym-as-wifebeater has become an iconic (and oft-parodied) bit of comic history. The Zemo reveal is also pretty good and a close second. I think it’s the twist itself rather than the particular panel that’s so famous.

As for the first one, I don’t even remember whose identity is being revealed there.

“But the Pym-slap seems to me to be the standout here.”

and the general public thinks it’s about pimps. Hank was WAY before his time, indeed!

The Pym-Slap Panel was what I thought about when this feature was announced. Honestly, I thought that single panel is probably the most well known single panel in Marvel Comics history, but there appears to be dissent…

I’ve got the issue with Hank Pym! That’s only the second one of these that I own. It’s strange that it seems so famous nowadays, because I never heard about it until I got the issue, and that was in 1988, six or seven years after it came out. In fact, I never heard anyone mention it at all until at least the mid-nineties. But now I come across references all the time.

I stopped buying comic books for a decade beginning in 1995, so I missed the whole Thunderbolts thing. I only learned about it a year or two ago. I wish I could’ve been around to witness the shock at the time.

Captain Ameicas death
Elektas a skrull in New Avengers #31

Wasn’t it eventually retconned that the reveal in panel #1 was actually the Vice President, and not the President/Nixon? That’s what I remember, although reading the issues themselves it definitely seems like they’re saying it’s the President.

I don’t recognise any of these and I don’t know their significance. That’ll be a no, no and no from me

re: DanCJ

You don’t recognize the Zemo reveal???
Wow, how old are you? But…wait…how old am I that what was big news in the nascent years of my comic collecting career has now become “whatever” to the next generation? NOooooooo! :(

“I’ve got the issue with Hank Pym! That’s only the second one of these that I own. It’s strange that it seems so famous nowadays, because I never heard about it until I got the issue, and that was in 1988, six or seven years after it came out. In fact, I never heard anyone mention it at all until at least the mid-nineties. But now I come across references all the time.”

In 1988 it was just an interesting piece of Hank/Jan’s history.

Post-Internet it’s a often-mentioned data in the eternal fight between the I-wanna-fun-comics crowd and the grim-and-gritty crowd. That is why it’s so famous now, I suppose.

Thanks Dan K.

You don’t recognize the Zemo reveal???
Wow, how old are you? But…wait…how old am I that what was big news in the nascent years of my comic collecting career has now become “whatever” to the next generation? NOooooooo!

I’m 37 and have been heavily into comics for 22 years.

Who’s Zemo? Never heard of him/her

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