When Did the Infinity Stones First Show Up in the Marvel Universe?

In "When We First Met", we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore, like 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.

I've actually featured this as a When We First Met before, but that was before they became Infinity Stones, so I thought that it was worth revisiting the concept.

For something that has become such a major part of the Marvel Universe, not to mention the Marvel Cinematic Universe (where the Infinity Stones will form the basis for the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War film), the Infinity Stones had a rather mundane beginning in the comics. Honestly, though, that seems to be the case for a whole lot of stuff in comics, doesn't it? One of the best attributes of a shared universe is the fact that something introduced by one writer could be developed into a WHOLE other thing by another writer.

Heck, even the START of the Infinity Stone journey began with a writer doing precisely that with a Stan Lee/Jack Kirby character. Kirby and Lee had introduced a new character known simply as Him in the pages of the Fantastic Four and Him showed up in a Thor story, as well. Roy Thomas took the character and had him star in his own feature in the aptly titled Marvel Feature, only now with a new name, Adam Warlock, and a new mission, being sent by the High Evolutionary to quell problems on Counter-Earth. Gil Kane designed his new costume, as well.

Before Warlock was set off on his mission, the High Evolutionary also gave him a powerful weapon, which was nameless...

The Adam Warlock feature did well enough that he was given his own series. Mike Friedrich took over as the writer on the series and in the third issue, he had the weapon know be referred to as a Soul-Jewel...

The following issue, it is referred to as a "gem" for the first time...

The series then fizzled out. After a couple of years in limbo, Jim Starlin brought the Warlock character back in a feature in Strange Tales #178. In that issue, he recapped Warlock's past and, for the first time, his Soul Jewel was called a Soul Gem...

In the final issue of Starlin's Warlock series, we learned that the Soul Gem was one of six gems!

Thanos naturally was all about putting power together, so collecting the soul gems was a big deal to him. He tried to collect them all to power a special sort of giant cosmic gem in Starlin's wrap-up of his Warlock stories in Avengers Annual #7/Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2, and that is when we first saw all of the soul gems together...

Naturally, Thanos is defeated (and actually killed). That was not going to be it, though, for both Thanos and the gems. Read on to see when they got a new name!

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