TOP

When We First Met – The Tale of the Infinity Gems

by  in Comic News Comment

Every week we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic book lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!'” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.” Stuff like that. Here is an archive of all the When We First Met features so far! Check ’em out!

Today we take a look at the history of the infinity gems.

The soul gem was first introduced in Marvel Premiere #1, when Roy Thomas and Gil Kane first gave us Warlock. The High Evolutionary just gives it to him…



The jewel is not named, though, until Warlock had his two issues of Marvel Premiere and then two more issues of his own solo title. In the third issue, now written by Mike Friedrich (taking over from Thomas), Friedrich first refers to it as a “soul-jewel”…


The next issue is the first one to refer to it as a “gem”…


When Jim Starlin took the character nearly two years later in Strange Tales #178, Starlin referred to the gem as a “soul gem”…


After Warlock #15 had the soul gem note that it was one of six gems, Bill Mantlo, John Byrne and Dave Hunt did an issue of Marvel Team-Up (#55) where we first actually see other soul gems…



The Gardener makes his intro…




Soon after, Starlin used the soul gems in the pages of Warlock’s classic last (initial) storyline, the two-parter in Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2 (with Joe Rubinstein as his co-artist). Here, from Avengers Annual #7…



Here are the Avengers destroying Thanos’ gem..


Fast forward to the return of Thanos in the early 1990s by Starlin. Here, in Thanos Quest (the prelude to the Infinity Gauntlet, with art by Ron Lim and John Beatty), Thanos goes to collect the soul gems…


After getting the Champion’s soul gem, Thanos notes that calling them ALL “soul gems” is probably inaccurate, since only the first gem really has to do with the soul. So he decided to give them a new name…


And they’ve been the infinity gems ever since. Most notably in the Infinity Gauntlet…