It’s been to my surprise that unless you’re an avid Marvel nut, you may not actually know the background of the Infinity Gauntlet, how it came to be, and how Thanos was able to possess it. Interestingly enough, the first mention of an Infinity gem, yes back then they were not referred to as “Infinity stones”, but “gems”, which actually sounds better if you ask me, which came from Marvel Premiere #1 in 1972, a key book featuring the first appearance of Him as Adam Warlock. This key issue also features the first glimpse and mention of the soul gem on the final page, which leads us to our original art page from this pivotal issue...
Marvel Premiere #1 is a significant 1972 issue, in that it features the 1st appearance of 'Him' as Adam Warlock, and his origin story. It also marks the 1st appearance of the Soul Gem, which is the first time an infinity stone appears in the Marvel universe of comics.
On this prolific page, The High Evolutionary rests while Man-Beast goes about his nefarious business. Man-Beast attacks the High Evolutionary's ship and revives the killer instinct in man with no-one to stop him. “Him" soon to be Warlock watches this all and will soon emerge to be known as Adam Warlock! Beautiful drawing by Kane and Adkins, from a key storyline, already teased in the Marvel Movie Universe, where Warlock's introduction is set for Guardians 3.
The following pages from this issue- Counter Earth- After his return to corporeality, the High Evolutionary took a ship disguised as an asteroid to the point in Earth's orbit on the opposite side of the sun and used his technology and abilities to advance a small chunk of terrestrial material into a nearly identical copy of the Earth. His goal was to create an Earth without the corruption of evil, but while he was resting, Man-Beast sneaked into his ship and tampered with the process to add that corruption himself. At the same time, the High Evolutionary had recovered the cocoon of Him and was taking care of it until its inhabitant would emerge again in a new form. When Him was reborn, High Evolutionary re-christened him as Adam Warlock, gave him the Soul Gem (which he had obtained by unrevealed circumstances), and enlisted him to protect Counter-Earth from Man-Beast and his evil New Men. Gil Kane pencils/Dan Adkins inks; page 19; 1971; image size 10" x 15" Pen and ink. Art is in excellent condition. Signed twice by Kane in the first panel and upper right corner.
Now let’s fast forward to nearly two decades later in 1990, The issue that started it all and paved the way for the Infinity Gauntlet series. This issue also marks the beginning of Jim Starlin’s Silver Surfer story arc, Thanos’ resurrection and the first Jim Starlin/Ron Lim creative work! Labeled on the cover as “The 1st Issue of a New Era of Greatness!”…
The Story “Even Demi-Gods Must Dream”- The Silver Surfer has arrived on a seemingly deserted planet. He appears to fall asleep and begins to dream. In his dream he see’s two little demons carrying a chest to Lady Death. She opens the chest and retrieves a soul, all the while complaining about a serious in-balance in the universe. After a couple more skirmishes with a planet full of aliens and a baby turned demon he has to kill, he wakes up and the planet is empty once more. What a nightmare!
Now to our original art page 21- He believes this was all a dream, and talks to himself about what dreams mean and his existence. He hears a voice suggesting that his dream was a premonition. The nightmare has just begun… In this key page by Ron Lim with Surfer in every panel, and great dialogue by Starlin, he questions whether this was all a dream or something more? He begins to reflect on his life and existence as a human underneath the silver shell. “So The question still remains… What was that dream all about?” Surfer says. The last panel a voice says “Perhaps it was a Premonition.” Surfer responds “Who?” And looks to see who it is. The last panel of this page is the first dialogue of Thanos in physical form to Surfer, and this premonition would start his quest for the infinity stones and wiping out half the population of the universe. When looking for a Lim / Starlin Surfer page, there are so few pages from this key issue #34, so much so I’ve literally counted the number on my hand in CAF galleries and auction results. Lim’s page layout and surfer images are great, especially of him in the middle on his board. Not to mention Starlin’s dialogue and Surfer’s reflection of himself, and the bottom panel importance of Thanos’ first dialogue in physical form. A Truly historic grail page reintroducing Thanos and the start of the Infinity Gauntlet Starlin/Lim story arc!
The very next page we see Thanos on a Metron-style flying chair, “The Name is Thanos.” And the rest is history!
The next pivotal issue in the saga, Silver Surfer #44, the first appearance of the Infinity Gauntlet! We don’t currently have an original art page from this issue, though we hope to obtain one in due time. In the movie, Thanos obtains the stones throughout the Infinity War movie, but in the comic series, he actually obtains them in a mini series called Thanos Quest. We see the first time all of the stones and the gauntlet together in Silver Surfer #44, which then leads to the biggest, arguably most important saga of our time, The Infinity Gauntlet six issue series.
We may be skipping from issue #1 to #4, but in a moment if you keep reading you'll see why,..
For many of us proud owners of Infinity Gauntlet original art pages this speaks to the nostalgia of our childhood, perhaps our first moment of a saga or story arc that remains classic to this day. It simply doesn’t get much better than this.
This is the George Perez finale page to Infinity Gauntlet saga, a 6-part event series that has gone down in comic book history as one of the greatest Marvel stories ever told. It served, of course, as the basis for two of the biggest movies ever, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Infinity Gauntlet was a sequel of sorts to the "Thanos Saga" of the 1970s, written and illustrated by the master of cosmic sagas, Jim Starlin. This time Starlin served as the writer with the incredible George Perez drawing the first three issues and part of issue four, as seen here this being his final art page. Perez, having drawn DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths five years earlier, was the go-to “Rockstar” artist for huge events featuring dozens of characters. This momentous key page, which not only marks the first attack on Thanos (first true battle page in the saga), as mentioned above served as Perez’s last page.
It’s public knowledge Perez left the project due to time constraints on other projects with DC, and perhaps creative differences. Perez was also a storyteller, but we must remember this was Starlin and Lim’s show leading up to the saga. With that said, Marvel brought on Perez to be the lead, the rockstar artist if you will for such a grand project. With Perez’s departure midway through Issue 4, it makes us wonder why leave after this page? One can guess after a slower paced, content driven first 3 issues, issue 4 is the battle issue and he wanted to go out with a bang! It’s no coincidence this being the first Thanos battle page in the series and happens to be Perez’s last one, making this great page the only Perez Thanos battle page in the entire saga!
The cover says it all, “Let The Games Begin”. The subsequent 2 prior pages to this page has the second snap, essentially unfreezing the heroes in time to follow through with their attack, and Thanos says the classic line “Let the Battle Begin”, which leads us to this epic battle page. The top half splash is the heroes very first strike atempt at Thanos, it’s a clash of titans! You have both Hulk and Drax the Destroyer sneaking up and knocking the mad titan Thanos down. “Love and Godhood truly have befuddled his reason.” This is the first time what seems to be a full on successful assault on Thanos. Though in the ensuing lower panels we see Thanos is simply playing with them, as he blasts Drax with one devastating look. “They are but bothersome fleas to Thanos”.
Perez leaves his mark with a character-filled bottom panel with literally a dozen characters in total including Thanos, Hulk, Drax, Captain America, Iron Man, She-Hulk, Wolverine, Namor, Spider-Man, Nova, Quasar and even Mistress Death is there on the side watching on. One can only imagine after drawing this action filled battle page, he felt it was time to move on and pass the torch to Lim. Sure there are significant pages in the saga, but how about drawing the first Thanos battle page in the entire run and this being his final penciled page? If you want to see a Perez Gauntlet battle page with Thanos, well, look no further, as this is it! Not to mention Perez obviously loved the top splash panel so much he paid homage to the image again in 1993 for the acclaimed series Future Imperfect #2 double splash title page this time Hulk in Thanos' same pose being blasted by Maestro, his future self.
By all accounts, just a magnificent historic page in Marvel's largest saga. Ink over graphite on Bristol board Large “Twice-Up” art 13x19, signed by both Perez & Rubinstein at bottom center. In Very Good condition.
Our next great representation from this saga are the final four pages from the six issue series, the four iconic “Farmer Thanos” pages (see below)…
These iconic moments were featured in both Infinity War at the very end with Thanos snapping and panning to him on the farm sitting down smiling after he just wiped out half of existence with the melancholy music in the background. The other notable half splash is the first page of four featuring the Thanos scarecrow image seen in Avengers Endgame, signifying he's retired his armor and living a simple life after he completed his task.
Though different from the movie than the comic series, in the comic series Thanos fails the task and slips away from Warlock to this remote planet living the simple life as a farmer, no longer the God-like Villain. The pages seen here have a much deeper meaning than at first glance.
In the first of these four pages we see the iconic scarecrow armor image, signifying Thanos’ retiring from his old Mad Titan life to being a simple farmer, which was always his end goal once he completed his task at hand. But in this case, different from the movie, he fails the task at hand to wipe out half of existence. The scarecrow image may also have other deeper meanings.
From Jesse Schnedeen Blog Discussing Avengers 4 Thanos’ Scarecrow Image- The Thanos-crow Symbolism
“The shot of Thanos' armor forming a bizarre scarecrow may well be the most striking image in the Avengers Endgame trailer. On the surface, this "Thanos-crow" symbolizes the fact that the Mad Titan has left his old life behind. He no longer wants to be the feared tyrant who traveled from world to world and murdered billions. He craves whatever sort of peace and contentment he can find after having sacrificed his own children for his cause.
That said, it's interesting to think about what this Thanos-crow might symbolize on a deeper level. Scarecrows are tools used to ward off birds and prevent crops from being devoured. Basically, Thanos is cultivating life on his farm and doing what he can to protect it from predators. That's the exact opposite of what he was attempting to do in Infinity War. Is the Thanos-crow a sign that Thanos has a newfound respect for the preciousness and fragility of life? Is the scourge of the MCU evolving into a defender instead?
Thanos the Hero- Few would attempt to describe the Thanos of the comics as a hero, but he has experienced some pretty dramatic moral shifts over the decades. Going back to Infinity Gauntlet, that story marked a major shift for the character as he stepped away from villainy and became a more benevolent force in the universe (for a while, anyway). Thanos even allied himself with Adam Warlock and the Infinity Watch, helping them safeguard the Infinity Stones and ensure that no one else could assemble the Infinity Gauntlet and wield unchecked power.”
This opening “Farmer Thanos” half splash infamous “Scarecrow” page is not only an iconic image from Avengers Endgame opening scene in which Thor beheads Thanos, but also has much deeper meanings behind the image, which makes this original art page by Lim extra special.
The second of the four “Farmer Thanos” pages is one of our favorites featuring great dialogue between Thanos and Warlock, while Gamora and Pip the Troll look on. We see great up close images of both Thanos and Warlock, but by far the best image and another famous one is Thanos at the top of the steps with his arms folded talking with Warlock about the importance of the gauntlet and where Warlock seeks advice from the former Mad Titan who says with conviction to either “endure or surrender the power”, from his experience with the gauntlet. Thanos goes on to mention his three failures with the gauntlet being enough for him and in the last panel he wisely says “A quiet life will allow me to digest and incorporate the lessons the past has forced upon me.” Warlock wishes the titan best of luck and farewell. Now onto the third page…
Another magnificent page with Pip The Troll and Gamora questioning Warlock why they’re leaving the Mad Titan on this remote planet without being punished. Warlock explains essentially this is how the universe is to be “...Without Thanos, the picture is incomplete.” In the last panel, Thanos looks out to the sky seeing his visitors leave and reflects on his past follys...
“Power. Such an ephemeral commodity, hard to gain, easy to lose. And I once thought I understood it. What vanity.” These are remarkable reflective words coming from the former Mad Titan, as he questions his life work, accomplishments and failures.
The fourth and final Farmer Thanos page, is also the final page of the six issue saga and it’s one of the most recognizable images in the entire series. This is where Thanos, the former Mad Titan from the previous panel page reflecting on both his life’s accomplishments and failures expands on his thoughts and comparison to the new supreme being Adam Warlock. Thanos has some choice thoughts on Warlock and thinks to himself, “Adam Warlock, a being who wished nothing more than to spend the rest of his days within the peaceful environment of the soul gem…He now possesses the infinite power and all the responsibility that goes along with it.” In comparison, Thanos looks at his entire life goal in pursuit of power, but is now scraping soil as a farmer, with a dialogue box reading “Irony worthy of the drama.”
In the final panel Thanos expands further on his thoughts thinking that even though his life was always in pursuit of power, through all this he does not envy Adam Warlock. “Somehow I feel that in the long run, Thanos of Titan came out ahead in this particular deal. THE END.”
5 Times Avengers “Infinity War” Brought Infinity Gauntlet Panels to Life- by Chris Tilly
This final image splash was featured as the main title image for the article as well as the end image, perhaps along with the “Snap” being one of the most prolific pages to the epic series. When bringing up this splash panel Tilly says…
“The Fate of Thanos- At the end of the book, Thanos is defeated, and Adam Warlock sends him to an unnamed planet that’s filled with lush greenery. He scrapes out a living from the soil. The final panel featuring the big bad sitting on the steps of his house, surveying the scene, and thinking: “In the long run, Thanos of Titan came out ahead in this particular deal.” At the end of the film, Thanos appears on a lush green planet — which may or may not be inside the Soul Stone — and sits on the porch of a farmhouse. Having just wiped out half of humanity, the film’s final moment finds him surveying the scene. And smiling.”
This final panel is featured in many articles, not only for the epic six issue saga but also for the Infinity War movie as mentioned above. It is truly iconic in every sense. In the comics, his exile came from failing his mission. In the movie, he succeeds, but his exile is practically identical to the page, living a simple life as a farmer wishing to be left alone while he looks out to the sunrise.
In Screen Rant “Infinity War Recreates Farmer Thanos Comic Moment'' by Andrew Dyce he writes an interesting take to the whole end of the series and again the importance of both the saga and movie end scene…
“It's an admittedly odd note to end on, with dialogue boxes suggesting that Thanos has wound up winning a preferable fate to godhood. Sure, he would eventually return as one of Marvel's greatest supervillains lusting for universal domination. But the closing panels of Thanos the Farmer are hard to forget. Apparently, that goes for the makers of Avengers: Infinity War as well.
The film adapts more comic moments than any one comic plot, but the Russo Brothers still make sure to end their film on the very same image. In this case Thanos has actually succeeded in killing half of all life, leaving it behind victorious, not defeated. Just as he promises earlier in the film, he wishes only to retire to a small farm and observe the sun rising on a new universe. Taking a seat on his front steps, just like the comic. And with his armor adorning a scarecrow nearby, as well. The choice to mimic the comic's conclusion so closely is a treat for fans, and likely one of the most satisfying Marvel Comic references in its entire runtime. Although fans might actually call the Infinity War version an improvement, making Thanos's entire emotional arc lead him to that very point - not merely a place to hide from those would would seek vengeance.”
In conclusion, the four page “Farmer Thanos” pages have deeper meaning than just living his life as a farmer on a remote planet. When most people think of Thanos, they think of more than just a great villain trying to kill off half of existence, and Infinity Gauntlet truly captures this feeling perfectly. The series captures nuances to his psyche, why he’s both succeeded and failed in his life’s work, which makes him a much more interesting and complex villain. It’s truly remarkable Starlin was able to give us a Thanos seen here in these pages who is vulnerable, questioning his life's work and ultimately thinking he came out okay at the end even without Godhood status.
In the end, we found a different, more profound Thanos than in the beginning of Infinity Gauntlet, who eliminated half the universe. But it was at the end of the series in which Starlin's story and Lim's art that gave us the more like-able, almost sympathetic Thanos, and making this arguably the greatest saga in comics and cinema.
Truly historic set of all 4 iconic "Farmer Thanos" pages, oversized 13x19, not to mention signed by all 3 artists/writers; Ron Lim, Jim Starlin and Joe Rubinstein!