Thanos: A Brief History of Marvel’s Mad Titan

Michael Huggins Michael Huggins
Contributor
April 22nd, 2018

Gallery manager by day. Netflix level superhero by night.

Thanos: A Brief History of Marvel’s Mad Titan
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Thanos: A Brief History of Marvel's Mad Titan

Marvel

By now, most of the world has heard of Thanos thanks to his multiple cameos as the MCU's big bad in hiding. In a matter of days, Josh Brolin will bring his Mad Titan center stage as he faces off with the combined might of the entire Marvel's Cinematic Universe in Avengers: Infinity War. Little has been revealed about Thanos in the so far, so who is this giant purple alien, and what are his motives?

Thanos debuted all the way back in February 1973, in Iron Man #55 in a story by Jim Starlin which continued through Captain Marvel and eventually reached the Avengers in 1974. He would return many times over the next few years, but the Mad Titan wouldn't get his fleshed out backstory until 1991 with The Infinity Gauntlet story.

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Born on Saturn's moon of Titan, Thanos is the son of Eternals, a race is known to be an offshoot of the same process that created humanity, a process begun by The Celestials. Thanos carries the Deviant gene, which gives him his hulking purple build and scarred visage. This visual trait led to his mother Sui-San attempting to take his life at birth, an act that would foreshadow his treatment throughout his lifetime.

Interestingly, throughout his childhood, Thanos was a pacifist who would only play with his brother Eros and their pets. It wasn't until his adolescence that his love of nihilism and death began to form and eventually culminated in his pure devotion to the embodiment of death, Mistress Death. This devotion led him to the stars, vying for a way to please her and win her hand.

Marvel

Thanos went on to become a star pirate, and meddled with physical augments on himself and others as he began to create his "children"; a venture that would lead to the creation of Gamora, Nebula and the Black Guard. Mistress Death returned to Thanos at this time, and for her, he stayed all of his crewmates and many of his offspring, as a tribute to her. Here, Thanos learned how to sway Mistress Death to him, and so began the dark path to the Infinity Gauntlet and the destruction it could wreak.

It was this blind devotion to death and Thanos' constant need for power that lead to him collecting the 6 Infinity Gems and using them within the Infinity Gauntlet to eradicate half of the life in the universe with a click of his fingers. This act and the collaboration of multiple teams, heroes and even villains is the storyline that Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War will draw heavily on this week.

In the comic universe Thanos would go on to return for the Infinity Gems on multiple occasions, time-travel to meet his younger self and create an army of clones, and even finally achieve his goal of conquering and killing the entire Marvel Universe and all of its inhabitants (with Frank Castle's Ghost Rider at his side no less).

Marvel

Thanos has also been on the side of good, fighting along with the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Avengers, and even the Silver Surfer to take down the likes of Hela, Galactus and even versions of himself that he has deemed weaker and unsatisfactory. Whether on the pages, or the big screen, Thanos is a complicated villain whose backstory deserves to be learned.

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Though many other stories may be drawn upon for Marvel's upcoming super-showdown, it is sure to be climatic and powerful as one of the greatest and most feared/respected villains in comic lore is pitted against some of the most significant heroes Earth has ever created.

Avengers: Infinity War arrives on April 27th in cinemas around the world

Written by Michael Huggins a Contributor here at the superhero team ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter account @Mickey_Huggins

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