More of the small details that made a big impression:
1. The Spider-Mobile: In addition to its sporty dune-buggy design, the introduction of the Spider-Mobile in the early 1970's was also a masterful parody of crass commercialism and celebrity endorsements. As part of their campaign to sell a new non-polluting car engine, the ad agency of Carter and Lombardo convinced a reluctant (yet cash-strapped) Spider-Man to lend his name to the promotion. With the help of gear-head Johnny "Human Torch" Storm, the Spider-Mobile made its debut in Spider-Man #130 (1974)...becoming a source of constant embarrassment and irritation for Web-Head until it sunk into the Hudson River less than a year later.
2. Green Lantern's Oath: Evoking the mystery of a magical incantation and the cadence of a childhood nursery rhyme, the solemn verse recited by Hal Jordan as he recharges his power ring never fails to send a shiver up my spine. Cynics and hipsters hate it for its corny earnestness, but that's exactly why I love it (click on the image to the left for a larger view).
3. Marvel Comics origin summaries: Always located on the first inside page (or "splash page") of 1970's Marvel comics, the concise "capsule origins" of the title characters were mini-wonders of streamlined drama hooks. To be fair, DC tried them here and there, but Marvel's always seemed much more punchy and enticing (click on the image for maximum dramatic effect).
Was it just me, or did you also hear the voice of that "In a world..." movie trailer guy when you read that capsule origin?
4. Kirby Tech: One of the subtle wonders of Silver Age Marvel Comics was artist Jack Kirby's flair for whimsical, highly-stylized machinery. "Kirby Tech" (as it's since become known) covered costumes, weapons, vehicles, or even entire city-scapes with its imaginative design and hyperactive pseudo-functionality. Here's what Joe Sinnott (Kirby's greatest inker) said about the jaw-dropping image below (from Fantastic Four #64, 1967):
"One of his most outstanding devices appeared on the splash page of issue #64. You can imagine just how long it took me to ink this panel. I must have lost money on that page spending so much time with all that intricate 'Kirby Tech,' but it was well worth the satisfaction of completing such a page with Jack. Those splash pages were always much anticipated by the fans."
Click on the panel above for full-frontal Kirby Tech!