Ahead of the character’s time in the cinematic spotlight in next year’s Avengers: Infinity War, the creator of Thanos has, once again, publicly fallen out with Marvel — or, at least, Marvel’s comic book arm.
Writing on Facebook, Jim Starlin — whose upcoming graphic novel, Thanos: The Infinity Siblings, remains set for a February 2018 release and was intended to launch a trilogy for Marvel — said, “What I objected to and what will be keep me from doing any further work for Marvel Editorial was [executive editor] Tom Brevoort approving a plot for the current on-going [Thanos] series, which was pretty much the same as the Thanos story arc in the graphic novel trilogy Alan Davis and I have been working on for Tom for close to the past year. He had 200 pages of script and 100 pages of pencils on this project when he gave the green light to a strikingly similar plot. The on-going will be in print before the graphic novel trilogy. To avoid spoiling anyone's enjoyment of these two stories I will not be summarizing the striking similarities.”
He went on, “At first Tom denied giving his approval to the plot. When that turned out to be false, he switched to claiming there was nothing similar about the two plots. When that didn’t fly he changed his story to it was all an accident. These changes of excuse and other bits of procrastination ate up a month, by which time the current Thanos on-going art team was too far along for anything to be done about the situation. Too bad for me. So I am moving on.”
According to Starlin, he had “lobbied heavily” to write the monthly Thanos comic book, but Marvel’s comic book division “just made it clear they weren’t interested in using me on any of the tie-in series to the movies or regular series.” By contrast, he said, the movie division “has treated me very well and generously. Them I like.”
This is just the latest development in a contentious relationship between the veteran creator and Marvel. In 2012, when the first Avengers movie revealed Thanos in a post-credit sequence, he complained about the lack of financial compensation by Marvel, before coming to an agreement with the company that included the creation of new comic book work. As recently as January this year, however, he publicly shared that he made more money from Warner Bros’ Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice than from all the Marvel Studios projects featuring his characters combined.