Emacs 213 and up are able to display pictures and stuff, so Gnus has taken advantage of that.
|• X-Face:||Display a funky, teensy black-and-white image.|
|• Face:||Display a funkier, teensier colored image.|
|• Smileys:||Show all those happy faces the way they were meant to be shown.|
|• Picons:||How to display pictures of what you’re reading.|
|• Gravatars:||Display the avatar of people you read.|
Emacs 21 on MS Windows doesn’t support images, Emacs 22 does.