When I was a kid in the early 90s, I was a rabid comic book collector. Despite the dissenting opinions of a few naysayers, this period is what I consider one of the golden eras at Marvel. You had McFarlane creating his own mythology on the newly christened (and web-heavy) Spider-Man series, Jim Lee cementing his place in comic book history with the X-Men books (five cover variations!), and the first apperances of such Marvel mainstays as Deadpool, Cable, and Carnage.
My mom and dad gifted me two comic book subscriptions of my choosing for Christmas that year and after careful and meticulous research I settled on Silver Surfer and The Incredible Hulk. Hulk was in the midst of the Pantheon Saga, and honestly… well, I wasn’t quite feeling that one. In the pages of Silver Surfer, on the other hand, Jim Starlin was busy planting the first seeds of what would later become The Infinity Gauntlet. It was one of those instances of just being in the right place at the right time. Mistress Death had brought a long dead villain back to life, and that monster was the Mad Titan himself, Thanos. Before this, Thanos’ last apperance was back in the 70’s, a couple of years before I was born. So I really had no idea who this guy was, but I was instantly drawn to the character. The bulky frame coupled with an extremely devious intellect, the menacing grin, the smug and resolute confidence in his own power… Thanos was the fucking man. And soon I found myself caring less and less about the Surfer and more and more about his cunning, and infinitely (see what I did there?) more interesting adversary.
I was hooked, snatching up the Thanos Quest books as soon as they hit shelves, and they helped fuel that slow and steady burn towards the ultimate crossover event, that all-out cosmic brawl that reigned in all corners of the Marvel Universe from Spider-Man to Pip the Troll.
The Infinity Gauntlet and the far-reaching shockwaves that the series sent into the Marvel Universe are still being felt today. Now with Marvel Studios apparently primed to unleash the saga onto the big screen, my only hope is that they get it right. I loved the Thanos teaser at the end of The Avengers, but I wasn’t thrilled with the change of appearance the character recently underwent in the otherwise fantastic Guardians of the Galaxy. My uneasy reservations about Josh Brolin’s voice were quickly mitigated (I’d always silently read my Thanos dialogue with a deep Keith David tone), but the CGI gave the Titan an all too human, much too fluid face. Thanos shouldn’t have narrow lips, he shouldn’t have eyes. The way it stands now, he looks like a cosmic Shaq. The pseudo-humanoid appearance will only prove to make the Titan’s presence less menacing in the long run. Come on guys, you still have plenty of time to sweep this little misstep under the carpet before Avengers 3 drops… and for God’s sake, I know the gauntlet is still in the making, but give the dude some gloves for the time being.
This is a relatively small gripe in a cinematic universe that has otherwise hit on nearly all cylinders. I’m just stressing that these guys get Thanos right since this character seems to be the culmination of everything they have set into motion so far. A lot hinges on doing the Titan justice, as he represents the ultimate in badassery in the Marvel Universe. As Ben Thompson of boomtown.com so eloquently puts it:
When Thanos rolls into town, you know some serious shit is about to go down. Sure, every once in a while some inept bungler gets a lucky shot on him or turns him into stone, but this guy just keeps on plowing ahead and doesn’t let a little thing like having all of his internal organs turned into inanimate material stop him from trying to exterminate all sentient forms of life in the Universe. He’s the sort of mega-villain whose sheer existence is something of a mind-fuck, because it’s nearly incomprehensible to determine how you would even begin to try to take this bastard on.
Thanos is not only my favorite villain, but my favorite comic book character, and I want so bad for this ultimate confrontation to be everything my 12 year-old self would’ve dreamt it to be. Hear my nerd rage out guys… please don’t mess this one up.