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Meta-Messages – Will the Real Thanos Please Stand Up? (Part 1)

by  in Comic News Comment

All October long I will be exploring the context behind (using reader danjack’s term) “meta-messages.” A meta-message is where a comic book creator comments on/references the work of another comic book/comic book creator using the characters in their comic. Each time around, I’ll give you the context behind one such “meta-message.” Here is an archive of the past installments! If you have a suggestion for a future meta-message, e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com.

Today and tomorrow I will be examining two meta-messages involving Thanos and the use of clones of Thanos to explain away stories where Thanos may or may not have looked bad. Today we see Jim Starlin introduce the concept and tomorrow we will see Dan Slott have a little fun with the concept (so save your Slott discussion for the second part)!

During the 1990s and early 2000s, Jim Starlin’s creation, Thanos, appeared in a few different comic books.

Ka-Zar (click here to see who Mark Waid originally intended to reveal that this “Thanos” actually was)….


Thor…


and Avengers: Celestial Quest


Just a few months after the Celestial Quest ended in 2002, Jim Starlin’s mini-series, Infinity Abyss, came out.

In it, Thanos reveals that these earlier stories were actually CLONES of Thanos!


As you can see, Starlin does not mince words with what he felt about how Thanos was depicted in the above stories.

You might notice that this very similar to how John Byrne used a Doom-Bot in an issue of Fantastic Four that I addressed in an older Meta-Message here.

Check back tomorrow to see how Dan Slott had a little fun with this Thanos clone idea a few years later!