Just How Old Is Thanos Anyways?

In Abandoned an' Forsaked, we examine comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically "overturned" by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent).

This is one of those instances where the retcon at hand is less explicit than normal, in that it isn't a case where a writer has a character specifically says "Oh that? That didn't really happen," but more that we are shown that the original story couldn't possibly have happened, so it is an implicit overturning of the original story. That story, as suggested by reader Jef W., is an early odd story about Thanos where, for a moment there, he was a LOT younger than you would expect.

Thanos made his debut in "Iron Man" #55, where we also met Drax the Destroyer. Writer/artist Jim Starlin (script by Mike Friedrich) has Drax explain his connection to Thanos to Iron Man, while also explaining just who Thanos is...

Okay, so here's the weird twist. So Moondragon made her debut an issue before Thanos and Drax, but in a clearly unrelated story by Bill Everett, Mike Friedrich and George Tuska where she was an unrelated villain known as...sigh...Madame McEvil...

Awesome Dylan reference, Friedrich!

Later that year, Steve Gerber brought Madame McEvil over to Daredevil in "Daredevil" #105 (art by Dons Heck and Perlin), where he re-named her Moondragon and now tied her into the Thanos overall story - although not yet part of the whole Drax story. Check out how it was done, though...

See, Moondragon is shown as a CONTEMPORARY of Thanos. That almost certainly did not fit into what Starlin had planned for the character, so a year later, in "Captain Marvel" #32 (by Starlin, Friedrich and inker Dan Green), Starlin gave the definitive origin for Moondragon and Drax, tying them together and making it clear that Thanos was already an adult by the time he caused the death of Moondragon's parents, thus abandoning and forsaking the Gerber story from "Daredevil" #105...

Later writers were more explicit about Thanos being even older, but suffice it to say that is a good deal older than Moondragon.

Thanks for the suggestion, Jef!

If anyone else has a suggestion for a future Abandoned an' Forsaked, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

A Guide to Watching Comic Book TV in Canada, Legally

More in CBR Exclusives