This is "Turns Back the Page," which is a look at interesting back-up stories from comic books. If you have suggestions for back-ups that you'd like to see me write about, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Today, based on a suggestion by reader Mike J., we take a look at one of the oddest back-up stories in Marvel Comics history, the story of how Thanos' first solo comic book story ended up in the pages of Logan's Run! This was something I touched on in an old Comic Book Legends Revealed, but hey, it applies perfectly to this feature, and Mike asked, so let's do this thing!
Logan's Run was a hit film that was released in 1976. It was interesting in how different our ideas were of what a hit science fiction film were at the time, as opposed to just a single year later, when Star Wars came out and blew everyone out of the way. Logan's Run was considered a notable hit by making, like, $25 million at the box office, which almost quadrupled its budget, but wasn't even in the vicinity of, like, the first couple MONTHS of Star Wars' box office receipts just a year later.
Naturally, during a period where Marvel was willing to give interesting science fiction concepts a chance with an ongoing series, Logan's Run received one from Marvel, with a great creative team on the opening arc (the adaptation of the movie itself), Gerry Conway, George Perez and Klaus Janson...
Once that the movie adaptation was over, Marvel kept going with a brand new arc starting in Logan's Run #6...
There was a notable problem, though, with this new story arc. You see, while Marvel believed that they had a deal with MGM to continue the series, much like they later did with Star Wars, MGM believed that their deal was only for an adaptation of the film (as I noted in this old Comic Book Legends Revealed). MGM, after all, was in the middle of doing a TV series that would spin the concept off into new stories in the Logan's Run universe, and presumably they did not want to have to compete with Marvel for stories set in that universe (I would think that it would have been a bonus, to be frank, but hey, it's their prerogative).
While Marvel was trying to negotiate a deal with MGM, they kept putting out the comic book, but finally, they were unable to work something out, so Marvel had to abruptly cancel the comic book with #7, which literally cut the series off in the middle of a story. Look at the last page of Logan's Run #7...
This was not a comic book series that was set to end any time soon, ya know?
In fact, Marvel had already started producing back-up stories for future issues of the series, so when the book was canceled, they would later appear edited into an issue of Bizarre Adventures (as detailed in this Comic Book Legends Revealed).
So what does this all have to do with Thanos?