Promotional art by Jim Starlin for Thanos #4 (March 2004).
|First appearance||Iron Man #55 (Feb. 1973)|
|Created by||Jim Starlin|
|Species||Titanian Eternal (Mutant)|
|Place of origin||Titan|
|Team affiliations||Infinity Watch
|Notable aliases||The Mad Titan
Avatar of Death
|Abilities||Superhuman strength, stamina, durability, longevity, and intelligence
Thanos is a fictional character appearing in comic books and other media published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Iron Man #55 (Feb. 1973) and was created by writer-artist Jim Starlin. Debuting in the Bronze Age of Comic Books, the character has been featured in over three decades of Marvel continuity and a self-titled series. The character's name is a derivation of Thanatos, the personification of death and mortality in Greek mythology. Thanos has appeared in other Marvel-endorsed products, including animated television series, arcade and video games, film, toys, and trading cards. Thanos was ranked number 47 on IGN's top 100 comic book villains of all time.
Writer-artist Jim Starlin originally conceived of Thanos of Titan during college psychology classes. As Starlin described:
|“||I went to college between doing U.S. military service and getting work in comics, and there was a psych class and I came up with Thanos ... and Drax the Destroyer, but I'm not sure how he fit into it, just anger management probably. So I came up to Marvel and [editor] Roy [Thomas] asked if I wanted to do an issue of Iron Man. I felt that this may be my only chance ever to do a character, not having the confidence that my career was going to last anything longer than a few weeks. So they got jammed into it. Thanos was a much thinner character and Roy suggested beefing him up, so he's beefed up quite a bit from his original sketches ... and later on I liked beefing him up so much that he continued to grow in size.||”|
|“||Kirby had done the New Gods, which I thought was terrific. He was over at DC at the time. I came up with some things that were inspired by that. You'd think that Thanos was inspired by Darkseid, but that was not the case when I showed up. In my first Thanos drawings, if he looked like anybody, it was Metron. I had all these different gods and things I wanted to do, which became Thanos and the Titans. Roy took one look at the guy in the Metron-like chair and said : "Beef him up! If you're going to steal one of the New Gods, at least rip off Darkseid, the really good one!"||”|
Thanos' first appearance was in an extended storyline that spanned Iron Man #55 (Feb. 1973), Captain Marvel #25-33 (bi-monthly: March 1973 – Jan. 1974), Marvel Feature #12 (Nov. 1973), Daredevil #107 (Jan. 1974), and Avengers #125 (July 1974). He returned in an extended storyline that spanned Strange Tales #178-181 (Feb.–Aug. 1975), Warlock #9-11 (Oct. 1975 – Jan. 1976), Marvel Team Up #55 (March 1977), and the 1977 Annuals for Avengers and Marvel Two-in-One (Thanos does not actually appear until the end of Warlock #9). He was also featured in a short backup story in Logan's Run #6 (June 1977) and had a small role in the Death of Captain Marvel graphic novel (April 1982).
The character was revived in Silver Surfer vol. 3 #34 (Feb. 1990) and guest-starred until issue #50 (June 1991), while simultaneously appearing in Thanos Quest #1-2 (Sept.–Oct. 1990) and Infinity Gauntlet #1-6 (July–Dec. 1991). Thanos had a recurring role in Warlock and the Infinity Watch #1-42 (Feb. 1992 – Aug. 1995). This was followed by crossover appearances in Infinity War #1-6 (June - Nov. 1992), Infinity Crusade #1-6 (June - Nov. 1993), Silver Surfer vol. 3 #86-88 (Nov. 1993 - Jan. 1994), Warlock Chronicles #6-8, Thor #468-471 (Nov. 1993 - Feb. 1994), Secret Defenders #11-14 (Jan.–April 1994), Cosmic Powers #1-6 (March–July 1994), and Cosmic Powers Unlimited #1 (May 1995).
Thanos appeared in a connected storyline in Ka-Zar vol. 2 #4–11 (Aug. 1997 - March 1998), Ka-Zar Annual (1997), and the X-Man and Hulk Annual (1998), before featuring in Thor vol. 2 #21–25 (March – July 2000) and the 2000 Annual. The character was next used in Captain Marvel vol. 4 #17–19 (June–Aug. 2001), Avengers: Celestial Quest #1-8 (Nov. 2001– June 2002), and the Infinity Abyss #1-6 (Aug. - Oct. 2002).
In 2004 Thanos received an eponymous title that ran for 12 issues. In 2006, the character played an important role in Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1-4 (June - Sept. 2006) and Annihilation #1-6 (Oct. 2006 - March 2007). The character was re-introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 #24-25 (April–May 2010) and played a major role in The Thanos Imperative: Ignition (June 2010) and The Thanos Imperative #1-6 (July–Dec. 2010).
Fictional character biography
Thanos was born on Saturn's moon Titan, and is the child of Eternals Mentor and Sui-San. Thanos was carrying the Deviants gene, and as such shared the physical appearance of the Eternals' cousin race. Although treated fairly, Thanos became mindful of his appearance and isolated himself, only playing with his brother Eros (Starfox). Thanos becomes fascinated with nihilism and death, and worshipped and eventually fell in love with the physical embodiment of death, Mistress Death. As an adult, Thanos uses bionics and mysticism to become the most powerful of the Titans, and is often referred to as the Mad Titan.
Cosmic Cube & Soul Gems
Wishing to impress Mistress Death, Thanos gathers an army of villainous aliens and begins a nuclear bombardment of Titan that kills millions of his race. Seeking universal power in the form of the Cosmic Cube, Thanos travels to Earth. Prior to landing, his vessel destroys a nearby car as a family witnesses his arrival. Unbeknownst to Thanos, two of the family members in the vehicle survive: the father's spirit is preserved by the Titanian cosmic entity Kronos and is given a new form as Drax the Destroyer while the daughter is found by Thanos' father Mentor and is raised to become the heroine Moondragon. Thanos eventually locates the Cube, and also attracts the attention of Mistress Death. Willing the Cube to make him omnipotent, Thanos then discards the Cube. He imprisons Kronos and taunts Kree hero Captain Marvel, who with the aid of superhero team the Avengers and ISAAC (a super-computer based on Titan), is eventually able to defeat Thanos by destroying the Cube.
Thanos later comes to the aid of Adam Warlock in a war against the Magus and his religious empire. During this alliance Thanos cultivates a plan to reunite with Mistress Death, and secretly siphons off the energies of Warlock's Soul Gem, and combines these with the power of the other Infinity Gems to create a weapon capable of destroying a star. Warlock summons the Avengers and Captain Marvel to stop Thanos, and although the plan is foiled Warlock is killed by Thanos. The Titan regroups and captures the heroes, who are freed by Spider-Man and the Thing. Thanos is finally stopped by Warlock, whose spirit emerges from the Soul Gem and turns the Titan to stone. Thanos's spirit eventually reappears to accompany a dying Captain Marvel's soul into the realm of Death.
The Infinity Saga
Thanos is eventually resurrected, and collects the Infinity Gems once again. He uses the gems to create the Infinity Gauntlet, making him omnipotent, and erases half the living things in the universe to prove his love to Death. This act and several other acts are soon undone by Adam Warlock. Warlock reveals that Thanos has always allowed himself to be defeated because the Titan secretly knows he is not worthy of ultimate power. Thanos joins Warlock as part of the Infinity Watch and helps him to defeat first his evil and then good personas, and cure Thor of "warrior Madness."
Thanos later recruits a team of Earth-bound super-villains and puts them under the field leadership of Geatar in a mission to extract a robot containing the knowledge of a universal library. Thanos uses information from the robot to battle Tyrant, a failed creation of Galactus. When trapped in an alternate dimension, Thanos employs the aid of the brother of Ka-Zar, Parnival Plunder and later the Hulk to escape, although both attempts are unsuccessful. Thanos is eventually freed and comes into conflict with Thor, and during their battles Thanos decimates the planet Rigel-3.
Thanos then uses the heroes Thor and Genis-Vell (Captain Marvel's son) against the death god Walker, who attempts to woo Mistress Death and then destroy the entity after being rejected. Thanos then devises a plan to become the All-Father of a new race of Gods created by himself. Thanos, however, finds himself opposed by the Avengers' former member Mantis and her son Quoi, apparently destined to be the Celestial Messiah. Thanos abandons this plan after having to unite with Mistress Death to destroy the "Rot", an aberration in deep space caused by Thanos' love for Death. Thanos also once conducted extensive research on genetics, and after studying many of the universe's heroes and villains cloned them and gene-spliced his own DNA into the subjects. Although he later abandons the project, five clones survive, being versions of Professor X, Iron Man, Gladiator, Doctor Strange, and Galactus respectively. A sixth and unnamed version of Thanos also appears, and it is revealed the incarnations of Thanos encountered by Thor and Ka-Zar were his clones. The true Thanos — with the aid of Adam Warlock, Gamora, Pip the Troll, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, and Dr. Strange — destroys the remaining clones.
When an ancient Egyptian pharaoh called Akhenaten uses a source of cosmic power to seize power in present-day Earth (killing most of Earth's heroes in the process), Thanos uses a time-travel stratagem to defeat him. Thanos then uses the artifact to reverse Akhenaten's actions and also correct a flaw in the universe. Changed by the experience, Thanos advises confidant Adam Warlock he will no longer seek universal conquest.
Thanos decides to atone for the destruction of Rigel-3, and agrees to aid a colony of Rigellians in evacuating their planet before Galactus can consume it. During the course of this mission Thanos learns Galactus is collecting the Infinity Gems in an effort to end his universal hunger. Thanos later learns Galactus is being manipulated into releasing a cosmic threat known as Hunger, which feeds on entire universes. Despite opposition from Thanos, Galactus frees the entity, although when the entity's intentions are revealed the pair team to destroy it.
En route to the Kyln, an intergalactic prison, Thanos meets Death, who for the first time speaks to the Titan. Death claims it is worth wooing, but that he must offer something other than death. At the Kyln Thanos encounters Star-Lord and the Shi'ar warrior Gladiator, who are both prisoners, and the Beyonder, who has been rendered amnesiac by its choice to assume a mortal female form. Thanos battles the Beyonder and causes its mind to shut down, leaving its power trapped within a comatose mortal body. Thanos then instructs the Kyln officers to keep the Beyonder on life support indefinitely in order to prevent the entity from being reborn. Thanos departs the Kyln in the company of Skreet, a chaos-mite freed from the prison. Thanos then meets the Fallen, a former Herald of Galactus. Thanos defeats the former Herald and places him under complete mental control.
During the Annihilation War Thanos allies himself with the genocidal villain Annihilus. When the Annihilation Wave destroys the Kyln, Thanos sends the Fallen to check on the status of the Beyonder, whose mortal form he finds has perished. Before the Fallen can report back to Thanos it encounters Tenebrous and Aegis: two of Galactus' ancient foes. Thanos convinces Tenebrous and Aegis to join the Annihilation Wave in order to get revenge on Galactus, and they subsequently defeat the World Devourer and the Silver Surfer. Annihilus desires the secret of the Power Cosmic and asks Thanos to study Galactus. Once Thanos learns Annihilus' true goal is to use the Power Cosmic to destroy all life and remain the sole survivor, he decides to free Galactus. Drax the Destroyer kills Thanos before he can do so but discovers that Thanos had placed a failsafe device to allow Silver Surfer to free Galactus in the event that Annihilus betrayed him. During a climactic battle with Annihilus, Nova is near death and sees Thanos standing with Mistress Death.
The Thanos Imperative
A cocoon protected by the Universal Church of Truth is revealed to be hiding Thanos, who has been chosen by Oblivion to be the new Avatar of Death. Resurrected before his mind could be fully formed, Thanos goes on a mindless rampage before being captured by the Guardians of the Galaxy. Thanos pretends to aid the Guardians against the invading Cancerverse, and after discovering its origin kills an alternate version of Mar-Vell, the self-proclaimed Avatar of Life. This causes the collapse of the Cancerverse, with Guardians Nova and Star-Lord sacrificing themselves to contain Thanos inside the imploding reality.
Thanos eventually returns to Earth seeking an artificial cosmic cube (Tesseract) and forms an incarnation of criminal group Zodiac, but is defeated by the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy, and remanded to custody by the Elders of the Universe.
Powers and abilities
Thanos is a mutant member of the race of superhumans known as the Titanian Eternals. The character possesses abilities common to the Eternals, but amplified to a higher degree through a combination of his mutant Eternal heritage, bionic amplification, mysticism, and the entity Death. Demonstrating enormous superhuman strength, stamina, and durability, Thanos can absorb and project vast quantities of cosmic energy and is capable of telekinesis, telepathy and matter manipulation. Thanos is an accomplished hand-to-hand combatant, having been trained in the art of war on Titan.
Thanos is a genius in virtually all known fields of advanced science and has created technology far exceeding contemporary Earth science. He often employs a transportation chair capable of space flight, force field projection, teleportation, time travel and movement through alternate universes. Thanos is also a master strategist and uses a space vessel called Sanctuary II as a base of operations.
The Ultimate Marvel imprint title Ultimate Fantastic Four features an alternate universe version of Thanos who is the ruler of Acheron (and has a son called Ronan the Accuser, who is in possession of a Cosmic Cube), a vast empire consisting of thousands of worlds that exist in another plane of existence.
Thanos features in the limited series Marvel Zombies 2, set in the alternate universe of Earth-2149. Having been "zombified", the character is killed by the cosmic-powered Hulk after an altercation over food.
In other media
- Thanos features in the animated television series Silver Surfer, voiced by Gary Krawford. Due to the Fox's broadcast standards, Thanos is depicted as a worshipper of a female personification of chaos (referred to as Lady Chaos) rather than Death.
- Thanos is featured in The Super Hero Squad Show, voiced by Steven Blum in Season One, and Jim Cummings in Season Two.
- Thanos makes a brief appearance during the closing credits of the 2012 film The Avengers, and is portrayed by actor Damion Poitier. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has said that there are plans to include the character in future films. In September 2012, it was confirmed that Thanos will appear in the upcoming 2014 Guardians of the Galaxy film and the 2015 untitled Avengers sequel.
- Thanos appears in Capcom's Marvel Super Heroes and War of the Gems (voiced by Andrew Jackson) and is a playable character in Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (voiced by Jackson) and Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet (voiced by Jim Cummings).
- Thanos will appear in Lego Marvel Super Heroes.
- Toy Biz, Diamond Select Toys, Bowen Designs, and Eaglemoss have released mini-busts and statues of the character.
- Thanos is included as a collectible figure from the board game Heroscape featured in the Marvel crossover set.
- Five Thanos figures exist for the Heroclix miniatures game (Infinity Challenge, Supernova, Galactic Guardians (x 2) and Infinity Gauntlet Limited Edition set).
- Hasbro has produced Thanos products in several of their lines: an exclusive in Mighty Muggs; the Super Hero Squad in Fall 2010 and the Marvel Universe as a single figure in Fall 2010. It was repainted for a two-pack with Adam Warlock in Fall 2011.
A number of the stories featuring Thanos have been collected into trade paperbacks:
- The Life of Captain Marvel (collects Iron Man #55, Captain Marvel #25-34, Marvel Feature #12), 1991, ISBN 0-87135-635-X
- Essential Avengers: Volume 6 (includes Captain Marvel #33; The Avengers #125, 135), 576 pages, February 2008, ISBN 0-7851-3058-6
- The Greatest Battles of the Avengers (includes Avengers Annual #7), 156 pages, December 1993, ISBN 0-87135-981-2
- Essential Marvel Two-in-One: Volume 2 (includes Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2), 568 pages, July 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2698-8
- Marvel Masterworks Captain Marvel: Volume 3 (includes Captain Marvel #22-33, Iron Man #55), 288 pages, April 2008, ISBN 0-7851-3015-2
- Marvel Masterworks Warlock: Volume 2 (includes Warlock #9-11, 15; Avengers Annual #7; Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2), hardcover, 320 pages, June 2009, ISBN 0-7851-3511-1
- The Death of Captain Marvel (collects Captain Marvel #34, Marvel Spotlight #1-2, Marvel Graphic Novel #1), 128 pages, hardcover, June 2010, ISBN 0-7851-4627-X
- Silver Surfer: Rebirth of Thanos (collects Silver Surfer #34-38; The Thanos Quest miniseries; "The Final Flower!" from Logan's Run #6), 224 pages, April 2006, ISBN 0-7851-2046-7 (hardcover, August 2010, ISBN 0-7851-4478-1)
- Infinity Gauntlet (collects Infinity Gauntlet limited series), 256 pages, March 2000, ISBN 0-87135-944-8 (December 2004, ISBN 0-7851-0892-0; July 2006, ISBN 0-7851-2349-0; hardcover, August 2010, ISBN 0-7851-4549-4)
- Infinity War (collects Infinity War limited series; Warlock and the Infinity Watch #7-10; Marvel Comics Presents #108-111), 400 pages, April 2006, ISBN 0-7851-2105-6
- Infinity Crusade:
- Volume 1 (collects Infinity Crusade #1-3, Warlock Chronicles #1-3, Warlock and the Infinity Watch #18-19), 248 pages, December 2008, ISBN 0-7851-3127-2
- Volume 2 (collects Infinity Crusade #4-6, Warlock Chronicles #4-5, Warlock and the Infinity Watch #20-22), 248 pages, February 2009, ISBN 0-7851-3128-0
- Thor: Blood and Thunder (collects Thor #468-471, Silver Surfer #86-88, Warlock Chronicles #6-8, Warlock and the Infinity Watch #23-25), 336 pages, July 2011, ISBN 978-0-7851-5094-7
- DC versus Marvel Comics (collects DC vs. Marvel mini-series, Doctor Strangefate #1), 163 pages, September 1996, ISBN 1-56389-294-4
- Ka-Zar by Mark Waid and Andy Kubert:
- Deadpool Classic: Volume 5 (collects Deadpool #26-33, Baby's First Deadpool, Deadpool Team-Up #1), 272 pages, June 2011, ISBN 978-0-7851-5519-5
- The Mighty Thor by Dan Jurgens and John Romita, Jr.: Volume 4 (collects Thor vol. 2 #18-25, Annual 2000), 256 pages, November 2010, ISBN 978-0-7851-4927-9
- Infinity Abyss (collects Infinity Abyss limited series), 176 pages, 2003, ISBN 0-7851-0985-4
- Thanos: The End (collects Marvel: The End limited series), 160 pages, May 2004, ISBN 0-7851-1116-6
- Volume 1 (collects Drax the Destroyer miniseries, Annihilation: Prologue one-shot, Annihilation: Nova miniseries), 256 pages, October 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2901-4 (hardcover, March 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2511-6)
- Volume 2 (collects Annihilation: Ronan miniseries, Annihilation: Silver Surfer miniseries, Annihilation: Super-Skrull miniseries), 320 pages, November 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2902-2 (hardcover, May 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2512-4)
- Volume 3 (collects Annihilation: The Nova Corps Files one-shot/handbook, Annihilation limited series, Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus miniseries), 304 pages, December 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2903-0 (hardcover, July 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2513-2)
- The Thanos Imperative (collects The Thanos Imperative #1-6, The Thanos Imperative: Ignition, The Thanos Imperative: Devastation, Thanos Sourcebook), 248 pages, hardcover, February 2011, ISBN 0-7851-5183-4
- "Thanos is Number 47". IGN. Retrieved 2010-06-17.
- Cronin, Brian (2010-06-24). "Comic Book Legends Revealed #266". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
- Meylikhov, Matthew (2012-05-09). "The Big Bad of Avengers Assembled Revealed". Multiversity.com.
- Marvel Cancels Thanos: Son of Titan miniseries, www.bleedingcool.com, 27 July 2012
- Sunu, Steve (16 January 2013). "Aaron and Bianchi Explore "Thanos Rising" in April". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
- Avengers Annual #7 (1977)
- Captain Marvel #30 (Jan. 1974)
- Captain Marvel #33 (July 1974)
- Strange Tales #178-181 (Feb. – Aug. 1975)
- Warlock #9-11 (Oct. 1975 – Jan. 1976)
- Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2 (1977)
- Death of Captain Marvel (1982)
- Silver Surfer vol. 3 #34 (Feb. 1990)
- The Thanos Quest (1990)
- The Infinity Gauntlet #1 (July 1991)
- The Infinity Gauntlet #6 (Dec. 1991)
- The Infinity War #1-6 (1992)
- The Infinity Crusade #1-6 (1993)
- Thor #470-471 (Jan.–Feb. 1994); Silver Surfer vol. 3 #88 (Jan. 1994); Warlock Chronicles #8 (Feb. 1994); Warlock and the Infinity Watch #25 (Feb. 1994)
- Secret Defenders #11-14 (Jan. - April 1994)
- Cosmic Powers #1–6 (March - Aug. 1994)
- Ka-Zar vol. 2 #4–11 (Aug 1997 - March 1998), Annual 1997
- X-Man and Hulk Annual 1998
- Thor vol. 2 #21-25 (March–July 2000)
- Thor Annual (2000)
- Captain Marvel vol. 2 #17-19 (June–Aug. 2001)
- Avengers: Celestial Quest #1–8 (Nov. 2001– June 2002)
- The Infinity Abyss #1–6 (2002)
- Marvel: The End #1-6 (May-Aug. 2003)
- Thanos #1-6(Dec. 2003 - April 2004)
- Thanos #7-9 (May 2004)
- Thanos #10-12 (July - Sept. 2004)
- Annihilation #4 (Jan. 2007)
- Annihilation #6 (March 2007)
- Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 #24 (May 2010)
- Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 #25 (June 2010)
- The Thanos Imperative: Ignition July 2010; The Thanos Imperative Aug. 2010 - Jan. 2011
- Avengers Assemble #1-8 (March - Oct. 2012)
- Ultimate Fantastic Four #42 (May 2007)
- Ultimate Fantastic Four #35 (Dec. 2006)
- Earth X #0-12, X (Mar. 1999 – June 2000)
- Marvel Zombies 2 #1 (Dec. 2007 – Apr. 2008)
- Bullets and Bracelets #1 (1996)
- "Interview with Larry Brody". Marvelite.prohosting.com. Retrieved 2011-03-15.
- "Kevin Feige Avengers Spoiler Podcast". Empire Magazine. Retrieved 2012-05-08.
- "The Avengers has two post-credit scenes, mystery actor revealed". IFC. 2012-05-02. Retrieved 2012-05-02.
- Puchko, Christy. "Marvel Confirms They Have Plans For Thanos In Future Movies". Cinema Blend.
- ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ & ‘The Avengers 2′ Will Both Feature Thanos
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Thanos|
- Thanos at the Marvel Universe wiki
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- Thanos--The Mad Titan
- Thanos at the Marvel Directory