5. Human Torch turns a homeless man into Sub Mariner
The transformation was amazing, but the irony was even better: The ruler of an undersea kingdom is revealed through fire. I wasn’t alive when this comic came out, and I knew who Prince Namor was long before I knew Johnny Storm had welcomed him into Marvel Universe continuity, but even so I could recognize the importance of this sequence.
Jack Kirby knew how to bring the drama.
4. Spider-Man gets his black costume
By the time Mike Zeck’s iconic picture of Peter Parker wearing black hit the stands, Amazing Spider-Man #252 had already come out. It was the first time we saw the costume, and it immediately was worth a hundred bucks a copy. But whenever I think of the costume, it’s this panel I think of.
3. Captain America gets shot.
Not only did this panel take my breath away, but it started the best “someone else is wearing the hero’s clothes” arc in the history of comics. Dick Grayson made a fine Batman, James Rhodes was a terrific Iron Man, but Bucky Cap is the one to rule them all.
2. “Professor Xavier is a jerk!”
This splash page has been copied/homage-d at least a dozen times.
1. Peter Parker gets bit by a spider.
Amazing Fantasy #15 is the greatest origin comic of all time. Nothing else even comes close. And this panel, where Parker’s open palm reveals a glowing red spider, is as iconic as they come. The script, the art, the expression on Peter’s face…It’s all perfect.