Take 10

Take 10: We Love the '70s

Swing back in time with the Secret Cabal as they select the sweetest superstars of the '70s

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Every week, a secret cabal of Marvel staffers gathers to discuss the best of the best when it comes to the House of Ideas. The 1970s didn't just give us disco (though, strangely, not Dazzler), "Star Wars" and Bruce Lee, the "Me Decade" also supplied a stellar slew of Marvel characters many of whom still steal the spotlight today. Having previously tackled the best of the '80s and '90s, today the Secret Cabal wades into John Travolta's turf and names the top 10 characters to emerge between 1970 and 1979. For each character, you also get a special spotlight comic courtesy of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited. As always, these picks reflect the personal choices of the Secret Cabal, not the official opinion of Marvel or Marvel.com, and can be considered subjective at best. Enjoy!

10. NIGHTCRAWLER First Appearance: GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1 (1975) Learn More…here Why He Makes The List: "Who wouldn't want to be Nightcrawler? There are virtually no drawbacks—aside from the blue and the tail, the crazy familial relationships, being coerced into performing for a circus freak show, murdering his adoptive brother, getting chased by angry mobs and the rest, the guy's got it made! Okay, so Kurt Wagner has had more than his fair share of misfortune, but the Fuzzy Elf will never have to get up to get the TV remote and his stories keep us glued to our comics." – Secret Cabal member MightyMsM Spotlight Comic: GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1—Nightcrawler makes his mark on the world as one of the All-New, All-Different X-Men!

9. NOVA First Appearance: NOVA v1 #1 (1976) Learn More…here Why He Makes The List: "From his 1976 debut, Richard Rider provided newer comic fans who had missed out on the early years of Spider-Man with a teenage hero of their own since the Wallcrawler had shipped off to college at that point. Not a budding science whiz/social outcast like Peter Parker, but not the big man on campus either, Nova provided an endearing everyman all Marvel readers could get behind. The other landmark of early Nova work by the character's co-creator, writer Marv Wolfman, the teenager in way over his head as a cosmic hero, continues to resonate today in the character's recent re-surge in popularity." – Secret Cabal member Annihilator882 Spotlight Comic: NOVA v4 #1—It's a day in the life of the universe's final Nova Corps Centurion!

8. PHOENIX First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN #101 (1976) Learn More…here Why She Makes The List: "Phoenix, ostensibly a souped up Jean Grey to begin with, was the first real example of a popular character being infused with a substantial power-up and then having to deal with the consequences. Her godlike abilities and constantly-in-flux-temperament made Phoenix an entertaining wild card addition to the X-Men, while her epic and tragic struggle to find her own humanity amidst a larger-than-life internal struggle between good and evil provided a classic story and helped bump the X-Franchise to its place at the top of the charts." – Annihilator882 Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #101—Jean Grey reborn…as Phoenix!

7. IRON FIST First Appearance: MARVEL PREMIERE #15 (1974) Learn More…here Why He Makes The List: "While Daniel Rand is a living weapon who looks like he fell through a rabbit hole into the future, being infused with ancient powers allows Iron Fist to kick some serious butt in the present. But don't let the popped collar fool you, Rand mastered martial arts and got his powers in an unorthodox—yet excessively cool—way: by jamming his fist into the heart of a dragon! While Iron Fist may have been created to capitalize on the kung fu craze of the '70s, his continued relevance in the modern Marvel Universe proves that even passing fads can serve as the springboard for great characters." – Secret Cabal member CommanderCool Spotlight Comic: MARVEL PREMIERE #15—Danny Rand makes his high kicking debut as Iron Fist!

6. THANOS First Appearance: IRON MAN v1 #55 (1973) Learn More…here Why He Makes The List: "The Marvel Universe has no shortage of awesome villains. But epic-scale, universe-threatening, 'I'm gonna destroy everything ever' baddies? They're few and far between. You better believe Thanos is at the top of that short-list. He's ascended to virtual godhood, been in the thick of many a cosmic brouhaha and loves Death. Seriously, the purple-pussed tyrant from Titan fancies the physical embodiment of your demise. He rules. 'Nuff said." – Secret Cabal member Agent M Spotlight Comic: THANOS QUEST #1—The Mad Titan challenges the Elders of the Universe to claim the Infinity Gauntlet!

5. GHOST RIDER First Appearance: MARVEL SPOTLIGHT #5 (1972) Learn More…here Why He Makes The List: "Evel Knievel was all the rage in the '70s, but how much cooler would he have been with a flaming skull for a head? Ghost Rider creators Roy Thomas, Gary Friedrich and Mike Ploog took the 'two great tastes that go great together' approach by combining stunt racing and the occult—with an awesome visual thrown in for good measure—and came up with a character who made an immediate impact and has stood the test of time. Johnny Blaze's crazy motorcycle feats and edgy battles against the devil proved an irresistible cocktail for the youth of yesteryear—and he still gets our motors revved today." – Annihilator882 Spotlight Comic: GHOST RIDER v1 #27—Johnny Blaze teams with Hawkeye against the menace of the Manticore!

4. THE PUNISHER First Appearance: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #129 (1974) Learn More…here Why He Makes The List: "In an era as morally muddled as the '70s, the Punisher provided a novel solution to society's problems as black and white as his classic uniform. Although his origins are complex—fighting in Vietnam and watching your family get slain by mobsters can't be good for your mental health—Frank Castle adapted a clear-cut set of morals the day he painted that skull onto his Kevlar. He's stuck to his guns—literally and figuratively—ever since, punishing evil criminals with no off button. That makes him either totally righteous, or totally insane, depending on how you look at it; regardless, you can't look away. To this day, this badass blows villains' brains out and blows people's minds with his brand of anti-heroics." – MightyMsM Spotlight Comic: DAREDEVIL v1 #257—The Punisher faces a man diametrically opposed to his methods as he takes on Daredevil!

3. LUKE CAGE First Appearance: HERO FOR HIRE #1 (1972) Learn More…here Why He Makes The List: "Comin' from the mean streets of Harlem, Luke Cage doesn't take crap from anyone. Heck, this reformed bad-boy had the guts to walk straight up to Dr. Doom and ask the Latverian dictator, 'Where's my money, honey?' It's gotta take more than impervious skin to gather up the nerves to do something like that. Not to mention Cage is probably the only guy that can actually rock a tiara." – Secret Cabal member HeartOfOak Spotlight Comic: THE PULSE #11—Years removed from his Hero For Hire days, Luke Cage becomes a father!

2. STORM First Appearance: GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1 (1975) Learn More…here Why She Makes The List: "Introduced as a goddess, but later becoming leader of the X-Men and now queen of a nation, Ororo Monroe is one character you do not want to mess with. Originally a withdrawn outsider who relied on her raw power, she's gone through many changes in her life, but never has her indomitable will been broken. In one of her first appearances in UNCANNY X-MEN #96, she cemented her place as one of the most independent characters in the Marvel U. when her past as an orphan raised on the streets of Cairo is revealed to her new team while she kicks big monster butt, saving the X-Men! Over the past 30 years, Storm has become Marvel's most recognizable female character." – Secret Cabal member RunawayJ Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #96—Storm must overcome her fears in order to save the X-Men from the N'Garai!

1. WOLVERINE First Appearance: INCREDIBLE HULK v1 #180 (1974) Learn More…here Why He Makes The List: "Was there any way Len Wein and Herb Trimpe could have known what they were unleashing upon the comic world in 1974 when they launched the ferocious Canadian hero at the Hulk and Wendigo? I'm gonna go with no. But thanks to those blokes, we have one of the most recognizable, likable and dangerously cool heroes in Marvel Comics history." – Agent M Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #109—Wolverine's past catches up with him in the form of Weapon Alpha!

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