Thanos. He’s the purple dude who has been weaving through the Marvel Studios movies. But if you’re on my site, I’m sure you know that.
I was recently reading a random issue of Silver Surfer written by the great Jim Starlin, and was shocked at how great it was. I don’t remember being a big fan of “cosmic” books during my first phase of comic reading, back in the 1970s and 1980s (which is also when the books were first coming out in full force).
Thanos first appeared in Iron Man #55, back in 1973. I’m not sure why, but Marvel gave Jim Starlin generous credit on the book (that’s why I printed the whole splash page, above). But the real star of the book, as you can also see from the splash page, was Drax the Destroyer. Quickly, in a matter of a few pages, Starlin creates and entire cosmic framework, with the Titans (from Titan, one of Saturn’s moons), Thanos and his brother Eros (who would become an Avenger in the 1980s under the code name Starfox), and Drax. Interestingly, though, Starlin seems to know how kick-ass Thanos would become as he spends most of the book in shadow until the big reveal towards the end, shown at left.
The design was still fairly simple–he’d get more defined, and more sinister, very shortly.
Although Iron Man #55 was a one-and-done, it set the stage for the real story, which would appear the following months in Captain Marvel #25-30.
That will be the next post in this new feature, “Every Appearance of Thanos.” Click the tag if you want to see all of them so far.