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The Top 70 Most Iconic Panels in Marvel History – Day 19

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!

Fantastic Four Annual (Vol. 1) #3….

X-Men #134….

Amazing Spider-Man #299….


Excellent, all three.

I’d have to go with #3, the fact that Spidey is my favorite non-withstanding…
As lame a character as Venom is now, the guy was an absolute beast back when he first arrived on the scene.

I’ll be surprised if anyone tries to argue these choices.

Interesting that you ran the scene from Uncanny #101 two days ago. I have to wonder: why not run the two Phoenix panels on the same day, or at least on consecutive days?

Wow, three awesome sauce choices! You could put the Phoenix beside the panel from the other day, when she came out of the water, for some neat contrast.



I love the lettering used on “Phoenix” in that panel. It’s 70s awesome.

I don’t mean to bag on McFarlane, especially since this is really early in his career, but am I the only one who thinks his panel comes off looking really amateurish compared to these other two panels? I’m not arguing how iconic it is, I’m just saying this juxtaposition really makes his work look crude by comparison to these classic artists.

The Venom panel is a noticeably weaker composition than the other two… but that sort of contributes to its iconic nature. At the period in time it represents, fans really just didn’t care about fundamentals like layout and composition in their art.

(I’m not sure comics fans ever really have, save for when an artist is extraordinarily good or bad at it.)

As lame a character as Venom is now, the guy was an absolute beast back when he first arrived on the scene.

yeah, that first panel of Venom was so awesome when all you had to go on was the visual. Of course with every single piece of Michiline-written dialogue his stock dropped. By the time he finished reciting his origin in issue #300 he was a certified tool.

I wish someone would go back to drawing Venom this way. It was his best look. As they increased the size of his teeth and starting adding the tongue and drool it was overkill.

Yes, Phoenix and then Dark Phoenix, of course. I also like the one where Jean and Prof. X work to dampen and contain the Phoenix force, right before Lilandra shows up. Or that big claw that grabs Mastermind in the Hellfire Club. But no need to overload on that one story.

I’m leaning towards the FF one this time.

I thought the FF wedding was a choice a couple days ago. Is this elimination round time?

#2. The Dark Phoenix is even better as an iconic choice than the Phoenix rising from the dead.

Great choices. Agreed on Venom, the tongue is ridiculous.
My favourite Marvel panel is Uncanny X-Men #173, the final page. Wolverine is brutally jilted by a hypnotised Mariko and sheds a single tear, seen only by the audience. Will we see that one?

I have to go with the FF one because it was the biggest wedding in comics at that time. It showed that the MU was more daring about change and didn’t dance around it like DC did at that time. Important events happened and they stuck…. it wasn’t just “An Imaginary Tale”.

You do all realize that he’s posting 3 a day, not trying to make you choose only between the 3 posted each day. Therefore you don’t need to say “1 is the best” or “2 is more iconic” because at the end you get to choose between all 70.

I’m with T in the idea that the giant-tongue-Venom look is terrible.

Is there anyone still reading comics who favors the drooly-tongue Venom over the toothy-smile Venom? I’ve never heard much enthusiasm for the former online, or… really, anywhere.

I liked the drooly-tongue Venom better, but I was always more partial to Larsen than McFarlane. And I don’t really see how having drool and a tongue makes him any more/less silly with that huge toothy grin of his.


August 20, 2009 at 11:16 am

I love the first panel.

Gotta love how Stan just has to put a caption in to tell you that they basically won’t be saying anything.


One of these things is not like the other things…

I always thought that Venom got lamer once the tongue came into play. But then at the time, I kinda enjoyed McFarlane’s Spiderman. Realistically, I suppose that’s most because Venom wasn’t yet incredibly over exposed…or worse yet turned into an anti-hero.

I gotta go with Panel #2 out of today’s samples…although I suppose that is hardly the definitive Dark Phoenix panel.

Who added the tongue? Was that Larsen? That’s when I remember thinking that Venom was getting played out.

Didn’t Erik Larsen purposefully draw Venom like that so as to make him look as stupid as possible? I thought he said as much at one point and he started drawing him as lame not long before the mass exodus to Image where they could insult Marvel all they liked without having to be clever about it.

I know I’ve read quite a few Larsen interviews where he bagged on Venom as a stupid character. I seem to recall the line– probably a paraphrase since it’s off the top of my head– “Oh no, my old laundry has turned against me!”

Such a shame that that FF issue, or any issue, was inked by Vince Colleta.

Look at the lettering in the X-Men panel. It’s great. I don’t normally look for stuff like that, but there ya go.

Also, the way Byrne had a few X-men in the foreground was just smart. Polished. Very nice, very important panel.

These old panels certainly do make miss hand-drawn lettering. It has a warmth you lose with computer lettering, and you see more variation of font size and boldness in individual speech balloons.

hard to pick just one for love the x-men panel of Dark Phonix for the first time. but also love the intro of Venom before he got totaly wrecked. but have to pick panel two narrowley

Venom’s muscles look totally wrong in that pic… Why are they so lumpy? And why is his back like that, looks like he has a hunchback? And what’s that bulge on his side, below the spider’s feet? McFarlane was still much better than most of his followers (like Liefeld), but it seems he started the trend of superhero artists not caring about anatomy at all.

I think Larsen said he added the large jaw, tongue and teeth to keep himself interested when dealing a with a character he thought was so dull.

Three good choices (although I do think the moment represented by #1 is probably more significant/memorable than the actual image itself). No. 2 is likely to be in the top 5 overall. And, as much as I can’t stand Venom or McFarlane’s art, can’t really argue with #3.


August 20, 2009 at 2:23 pm

“Such a shame that that FF issue, or any issue, was inked by Vince Colleta.”

I agree that Colletta’s inks were totally unsuited for the FF, Sinnott all the way.
I think Colletta’s inks on Thor were (for the most part) better suited for that ancient/old world feel.

Oddly enough I just ran across some old Flash issues (late 180’s or around there) where Colletta inked Gill Kane and what do you know- it looked fantastic! Not two talents that I’d thought would go together, but it really worked.
His scratchiness really counter-weighted Kane’s somewhat sterile line.

I liked it at least, and I never thought I’d ever see a job where his inks actively helped the look of the work.

I miss Terry Austin.

The current Daredevil #500 reprints some Miller/Austin art, another pairing that shouldn’t work but does.

I prefer tongue-and-drool Venom. The one seem in #3 looks silly as hell. Too cartoony. Reminds me a lot of the Phantom Blot in Disney comics ( http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/p/phanblot.htm ). The later depictions look more like a horror creature.

But yes, it’s iconic enough to warrant inclusion.

Terry Austin will be inking X-Men Forever if you´d like to see his new work, Kalorama.
I also think Larsen was the one to come up with the idea of the tongue for Venom.
I don´t like Kirby inked by Colleta, either.
And my vote goes to…
1. Uncanny X-Men.
2. Fantastic Four.
3. Amazing Spider-Man.

For the first time in this series, I actually agree with all three.

I just realised that the font used for the word “Phoenix” in panel #2 is exactly the same font as the Phoenix Suns used on their uniforms in the early 70s.

What? So I’m a sports geek too…

McFarlane is an violently overrated artist, and that third panel is just laughable. That’s the kind of artwork that one would imagine being rejected by any decent art director. Which suggests that, at that time, Marvel DIDN’T HAVE any decent art direction.

If i recall correctly, John Romita was a art director at the time, not a “nobody”, exactly. What I don´t know is if an art director is responsible for hiring talent. Would somebody explain, please?

The Art Director has nothing to do with hiring talent. That’s the responsibility of the editors of the individual books.

The dark phoenix panel, is one of my favorits ever. It is just stunning

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