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March 17, 2004



You know, you just made me think an interesting thought. While I'm sure we'd both agree that in many ways Thanos is merely a replication of Darkseid, who thanks to Kirby kicked off the whole concept of a cosmic lord of fascism (thus leading us inexorably to the weird sight of Jim Starlin bringing us Mongul, who is actually a copy of a copy, a bizarre xerox villain, but that's besides the point) but in one manner Thanos is an even more extreme villain than Darkseid himself. Both seek total dominion over life, but even at his most florid Kirby never even suggested that Darkseid was aware that his pointless militarism and endless warlike aspiration for universal conquest were in any way destructive on their own terms. Darkseid thoroughly seems to be motivated by a desire for power for his own aggrandizement, as an end of its own.

Thanos, however, is fully aware that he's on a death trip, that there's no way out of the cycle of conquest and destruction that he's begun by collecting his legions of followers. He knows that he's set out on a path that can only end in either his death or that of the cosmos, and either outcome is fine by him, since as you pointed out his ultimate ambition is to kill enough people to impress death enough so that she'll like him. Cosmic genocide as mash note.

That's an interesting take on the whole issue. I'd have to argue that the guy who knows full well that everything he's doing is just an elaborate form of self-destruction and chooses to go on with it anyway on the grounds of pure self-gratification is actually slightly more evil. Reminds me of Donald Rumsfeld.

And now I've wasted a tiny bit more of my life on an rumination inspired by Spidey Super Stories. Sigh.

David Van Domelen

If Mongul is a copy of a copy, what does that make Lord High Papal?

And, DAMN, I need some of those Spidey Super-Stories. Look to be good chemical-free substitutes for the Good Stuff.


Papal's the Dreadstar villain, right? He's pretty much the same as Mongul, I guess, with a bit of the Magus stuck in there. Less of the outright lust for death that Thanos personified.


All I know is, "Disco Madness with Mysterio" is the title of my next album.

Dave Van Domelen

Yeah, Lord High Papal essentialy takes Magus's original Cosmic Ecclesiast role (and even uses roughly the same ankh/cross hybrid) but puts it in a Thanos/Mongul body type. But where Magus essentially WAS the god of his church, Papal worships the twelve Dark Gods of the Empirical Galaxy (who Peter David later embodied in one humanoid character), making him closer to the death-worshipping Thanos.

Also, like Thanos, Lord High Papal has spent some time as a good (if creepy) guy, notably in the final Dreadstar book put out by Malibu.


Loath as I am to cede Darkseid's superiority to anybody (especially a knock-off), Matt makes a good point. The guy who acknowledges his own death-drive and would sacrifice the universe to it anyway does seem a little scarier.

Darkseid, on the other hand, can be chillingly pragmatic. In his comments on Seagrin's death in New Gods #4, or his showstopping lecture to Glorious Godfrey in Forever People #3, he betrays a sort of hard-nosed revelry in his own grandeur that suggests he's every bit as self-aware as Thanos. He believes every bit as strongly is his own quest - unlike Godfrey, who merely sells it to the masses - and he knows exactly how much destruction it take to achieve it. What's more, he knows that the heroes know it too - "They know better than most that war is but the cold game of the butcher!" - but he's the only one who's willing to admit it.

Thanos is more likely to destroy the universe out of uncontrolled passion. Darkseid is more likely to rule it, but only out of the tightest self-discipline. I don't know which is more scary. But I know who I'd give the better chance of succeeding.

Jim Salicrup

Insane, am I?

Well, at least I'm in the same company as one of my favorite childhood authors, Dr. Seuss, and the mysterious traffic sign scribes.

As for Thanos and Darkseid, let's not forget Doctor Doom, Darth Vader, and Mongorr (a cosmic Virtual Prize to anyone who admits to knowing where that last guy came from!), I'd love to see all those guys in a painting playing poker.


Wow, no one's commented yet on the idea that Jim Salicrup himself felt the need to defend his sanity over an old issue of Spidey Super Stories. Meanwhile, I made fun of Atlas Comics like it killed my dog and nothing from Larry Lieber. Life's not fair.

The only Mongorr I know about is from Stan Lee's short lived 7th Portal thing. As for the idea of a cosmic despots playing poker painting, I wouldn't play with Doom. He'll end up setting things up so someone else wins the game but in so winning incurs a debt to Doom in some fashion and the next thing you know you're in hell fighting Mephisto or something.


I feel so terribly guilty.

That being said, I hope to one day give the Thanos speech myself, word for word. Preferably at some kind of faculty meeting.

Jim Salicrup

Did I feel the need to defend my sanity? Gee, I learn more about myself every day!

And yes, Mongorr, is that guy from Stan's 7th Portal (does that sound odd or what?)! Consider thyself honored to win the very last Stan Lee Media Cosmic Virtual Prize -- or not. It's really up to you.

As for Larry Lieber, I think it may be best that he remains blissfully unaware of your Atlas attacks, after all, he had to live through the actual Atlas experience once already. How anyone could possibly complain about the likes of Tiger-Man, Ironjaw, and the good ol' Brute is beyond me. What is the world coming to --?

Now, if George W. Bush actually gives the Thanos speech, we're all in big trouble!


"Thanos... Do I feel that he... Wait a minute... I'm under the pressure of the press conference.

"Thanos was a bad man. Remember, he LASERED HIS OWN PEOPLE on Titan. And we may still find evidence that he did possess Infinity Gauntlets of mass destruction in his abandoned space station. That's why we had to...

"Do not let the few... Titan-people speak for the many... Titan-people. Thanos... he wanted to... Thanos was a bad man. That was clearly why I had to dress up in a Captain Marvel outfit and declare that major combat operations on Titan are over.

"Fool me once, Thanos, shame on me. Fool me... fool me twice...

"I don't make mistakes."

Jess Nevins

I will pay cash money to someone who photoshops Cheney's face on to Granny Goodness' body and Rummy's face on to DeSaad's.

Or vice-versa.

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