Thanos

Infinity Gauntlet

Thanos is a fictional character appearing in comic books and other media published by Marvel Comics. He is the villainous ruler of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. The character first appeared in ‘Iron Man #55’ in 1973, and was created by writer-artist Jim Starlin.

The character’s name is a derivation of Thanatos, the personification of death and mortality in Greek mythology.

Starlin originally conceived of the chatacter during college psychology classes: ‘I went to college between doing US 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.’

Starlin has admitted the character is influenced by Jack Kirby’s Darkseid: ‘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!”

In 1970, Jack Kirby left Marvel Comics to work at DC Comics, where he began the saga of the ‘New Gods,’ an epic story involving mythological and science fiction concepts. Kirby began ‘The Eternals’ when he returned to Marvel. The Eternals’ saga was thematically similar to the New Gods.’ The Eternals are a fictional race of superhumans. They are described as an offshoot of the evolutionary process that created sentient life on Earth. The original instigators of this process, the alien Celestials, intended the Eternals to be the defenders of Earth which leads to the inevitability of war against their destructive counterparts, the Deviants.

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.’

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.

He 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.

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