Jim Starlin on Thanos

For those of you who have not seen the Avengers yet, you may want to bookmark this post and come back later.


It’ll wait.

Ok, you’re back. Good to see you. Have you taken off weight? That is a nice color on you. Anyhow… The Avengers. The stinger at the end confirms that the guy behind the guy loading up Loki with his army of aliens was none other than Thanos.

‘Who’s Thanos?’ I hear you ask and point you here.

The creator of the villain, artist and author Jim Starlin, spoke to the LA Times about his creation of Thanos as well as his experience seeing the Avengers and having to pay to watch his own creation used as entertainment (awkward).

Jim Starlin is an incredibly talented creator who breathed life into the cosmic superheroes of Marvel Comics back in the day and even developed his own series Dreadstar which is fantastic and well worth a place on your shelf.

I had the good fortune to meet Mr. Starlin after the release of Cosmic Odyssey (you are writing these down, I hope) and he was a very pleasant man. Ever present at comic conventions, make sure to drop by and pay him your respect for making the comic book world that much richer. He’s a real pedestal of the industry.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview (read the whole thing here)

JS: Thanos came to me while I was taking a psychology class in college after coming out of the service; the ol’ Thanos/Eros concept. I had him sort of roughed out before I ever started working at Marvel. When editor Roy Thomas asked me to do a fill-in Iron Man, I decided to add him to the mix. I showed some character sketches I had of the character to Roy, he asked if I could perhaps bulk up Thanos some and then let me run with it. Mike Friedrich then dialogued the issue. As time went on, Thanos just sort of grew organically on his own. Not sure where his loving Death came from. At the time I was recently out of the service and rather messed up. Hard to remember what was going through my head back then.

HC: On that topic, most villains in comics usually want to conquer or destroy things, but Thanos’ ends are more, well, romantic. Was there any specific inspiration that led to a character that — literally — courts death?

JS: I suppose the Mad Titan’s doing a Pepe Le Pew on Death was an offshoot of the death wish that I was probably entertaining around then. If I hadn’t had the outlet of writing and drawing comics, I guess there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be around today. But I got to vent and am still among the living and breathing.

JS: The conversations I have had on Thanos with fans over the years have ranged from the bizarre to the intense, as would be expected. The odder reaction to my handling of Thanos and (later) “The Death of Captain Marvel” came from my fellow professionals. I sort of became the go-to guy for killing off characters. At this point I don’t know how many comic-book characters I’ve been asked to assassinate. I eventually did in Robin, Warlock and Captain Marvel but passed on Shang Chi and at least a half-dozen others.

HC: I spoke to Jerry Robinson once and I congratulated him on the billion-dollar success of “The Dark Knight” and he winced like I had poked him in the eye. Of course I instantly realized that watching Alfred, the Joker, Two-Face, etc. fill the coffers of Warner Bros. was like watching a son raised in another house with another family’s name. I don’t know the arrangements on this film, but has this project and its success been a mixed experience in any way?

JS: Very mixed. It’s nice to see my work recognized as being worth something beyond the printed page, and it was very cool seeing Thanos up on the big screen. Joss Whedon and his crew did an excellent job on “The Avengers” movie and I look forward to the sequel, for obvious reasons. But this is the second film that had something I created for Marvel in it — the Infinity Gauntlet in “Thor” being the other – and both films I had to pay for my own ticket to see them. Financial compensation to the creators of these characters doesn’t appear to be part of the equation. Hopefully Thanos’ walk-on in “The Avengers” will give a boost to a number of my own properties that are in various stages of development for film: “Dreadstar,” “Breed” and the novel “Thinning the Predators.”

Recommended (please remember I do not receive any profits from these posts):

Essential Warlock – Volume 1

Infinity Gauntlet

Art of Jim Starlin

Dreadstar Volume 1 Part 1

Breed the Book of Genesis

The Life and Death of Captain Marvel

Thinning the Predators

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