Jim Starlin wrote and drew Marvel’s very first original graphic novel back in 1982, The Death of Captain Marvel, and he’s at it again, 30 years later. It’s just been announced that Starlin is writing and drawing THANOS: THE INFINITY REVELATION a 100-page graphic novel that will continue Starlin’s influential Infinity series, and tie in with Guardians of the Galaxy. Andy Smith is inking and Frank D’Armata is coloring. Starlin told Newsarama “…it’s the story of undefined obsession and the end results of that obsession cause a catastrophe. After all, they call Thanos the Mad Titan — even Adam Warlock, the closest thing Thanos has to a friend, trying to hold things together.”
This is interesting on many fronts. First off, it seems to reinforce Marvel’s interest in original graphic novels, something that has waned quite a bit since 1982.
Even more interestingly, there is the matter of the relationship of Starlin, Thanos and Marvel itself. While there have been many lawsuits concerning the creation of Marvel characters where creators tried to get the rights back or more remuneration—Marv Wolfman and Blade, Joe Simon and Captain America, Gary Friedrich and Ghsot Rider, to name a few—no one has a better claim than Starlin does to Thanos. Starlin created the character long before he used ihim in Warlock, and even showed the original drawings on his Facebook page. Many had wondered if Starlin would pursue legal action after Thanos showed up at the end of the Avengers movie—and while he complained about it mildly in an interview, he’s stayed mostly quiet about he matter since.
Obviously, Marvel and Starlin have come to some kind of agreement about this. Is this graphic novel just a payout? Or just a smart move to capitalize on a great comics character by the man who created him? I’d be very surprised to see any of this publicly discussed, but it would appear that everyone is getting something out of it, and that’s the way more of these things should go. .
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.