Jim Starlin is something of a legend in the comic book community. If you have a character that needs to be killed then Starlin's your man. All jokes aside, Starlin has created some of the most memorable comic runs for both Marvel and DC and has created such well known characters as Captain Marvel, Adam Warlock, Shang-Chi and of course Thanos. Speaking to Hero Complex Starlin discusses his creation and his reaction to seeing Thanos on the big screen.
HC: When did you find out Thanos was going to be in the film — and was it hard to keep it a secret?
JS: I was only alerted by friends to Thanos appearing in the film a few weeks before the opening. They’d come across rumors about it on the Internet. So I had no problem at all about keeping that particular secret.
HC: Thanos has such a memorable visage and powerful aura — even in a Marvel Universe packed with cosmic-level characters. Did the character arrive fully formed in your imagination or did it take awhile to get the character to the now-familiar version?
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.
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.”
HC: Where did you see the film and what was it like for you?
JS: I saw the film at a midnight showing at a local theater. Of course the audience was packed with comic-book crazies. It was like going to a comics convention. I had two heavy-duty geeks sitting behind me, narrating and commenting on the film throughout. I thought about asking them to pipe down but then realized they were actually adding to the experience for me and let it ride. My only surprise when I saw Thanos up on the screen was how violet he was. I always saw his exposed hide as being more grayish violet. I’ve only seen the film once and the Mad Titan appears quite briefly, but I had the impression he could perhaps use a bit more chin, but I could be wrong about that. I liked the voice.
There's a bit more with the man many consider the second godfather of cosmic [behind Jack Kirby] over at the source so be sure to click the link below. What did you think of the brief glimpse of Thanos at the end of The Avengers? Perhaps these subtle clues dropped in Thor and The Avengers are a hint of what's to come?
The Avengers is an American superhero film produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. It is the sixth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film is written and directed by Joss Whedon and features an ensemble cast, which includes Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson. In The Avengers, Nick Fury, director of the peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D., recruits Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America to save the world from destruction.
Development of The Avengers began when Marvel Studios received a grant from Merrill Lynch in April 2005. After the success of the film Iron Man in May 2008, Marvel announced that The Avengers would be released in July 2011. With the signing of Scarlett Johansson in March 2009, the film was pushed back for a 2012 release. Whedon was brought on board in April 2010 and rewrote the screenplay that was originally written by Zak Penn. Production began in April 2011 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, before moving to Cleveland, Ohio in August 2011 and New York City in September 2011. The film was converted to 3D in post-production.
The Avengers was released in the United States on May 4, 2012 in 2D and 3D.
Running Time: 2 hrs 23minutes
Release Date: May 4 2012 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG 13 for for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, and language
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Cobie Smulders, Jeremy Renner, Clark Gregg, Stellan Skarsgård, Mark Ruffalo, Amanda Righetti, Scarlett Johansson and Lou Ferrigno The Incredible Hulk (voice) .
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Written by: Zak Penn (initial screenplay), Joss Whedon (revised screenplay)