|Thanos Rising #1 cover by Simone Bianchi|
By Jim Beard
In the THANOS RISING limited series, starting this April, writer Jason Aaron and artist Simone Bianchi delve into the origins of the universe’s most heinous villain, the death-loving Thanos. The series affords readers a rare glimpse into the ultimate nihilist’s early days on his far-off home planet Titan and the major events that lead to his life of cosmic infamy.
Aaron and Bianchi report that their excitement for the project runs high, knowing full well that Thanos’ mysterious cameo at the end of “Marvel’s The
Marvel.com: Jason, what was the creative draw for you when you were first approached for the THANOS RISING project?
Jason Aaron: The chance to do as dark and creepy a story as I've ever done for Marvel. This is not a super hero story. There are no good guys swooping in to save the day here. This is the origin story of a very bad dude. A cosmic mass murderer.
Marvel.com: Who is Thanos and what does he stand for?
Jason Aaron: Well, that's really the main question of the book. Who is Thanos? When the book starts, even Thanos doesn't know the answer to that question. It's the pursuit of that answer that begins to take him to some very dark places.
Marvel.com: Simone, what was your initial reaction to being offered the series?
Simone Bianchi: Let me put it this way: Joe Quesada and Axel Alonso called me at home, 40 minutes one after the other, to talk about my next project. So even before learning the name of it, it was clear to me of how important it would be. Then Axel revealed me it was THANOS RISING and I obviously was even more enthusiastic. But as I said, Axel and Joe’s simultaneous involvement in “recruiting” me gave me the feeling of how important the project was for Marvel and how much they cared of it.
Marvel.com: Jason, how did you begin to approach crafting an origin for the universe's biggest baddie? What was essential to include in the story?
Jason Aaron: Jim Starlin of course had already laid down a lot of the pieces of Thanos' origin, but they were spread out in several different stories written over the course of several years. THANOS RISING combines all those pieces and also fills in a lot of the cracks. I think it's true to Starlin's original ideas for the character, while also expanding on some aspects of the origin, and playing around a bit with the dark romance part of the character's history.
Marvel.com: How does the story begin? What event or events kick it off?
Jason Aaron: We start at the very beginning, with the day Thanos is born. And things start to get weird right from the get-go.
Marvel.com: Simone, how did you approach not only drawing Thanos, but also a younger version of him?
Simone Bianchi: It was a very complicated process and a type of character I’d never really faced before in my career. It took more than just one sample to get to the final version of him as a young boy. In the end, I am pretty happy with what I came up with but it took almost a full week of work to define the final version of the young Thanos. It was difficult to find a compromise between a face resembling the bad colossus the guy is going to look like as an adult and the sweet, almost tender look of him as a child.
Marvel.com: Jason, what about the female character in the story that makes such an impact on the young Thanos?
Jason Aaron: Thanos has dangerous taste in women. That's all I'll say.
Marvel.com: Will we be seeing any other recognizable Marvel Universe characters or races in the story?
Jason Aaron: We'll see Thanos' family, including Mentor, his dad, and Sui-San, his mom, and we'll some new characters that Thanos meets during his formative years. Some good influences. Others not so much.
Marvel.com: What will readers witness when they land on Titan, the planet of Thanos’ birth?
Jason Aaron: It was a sci-fi paradise when Thanos was born. A place without weapons, without the idea of murder. But that all began to change...
Simone Bianchi: Visually, I have tried to mix different inspirational sources for Titan, as I usually do. I loved what I saw in the “Tron” movie from a visual point of view, but then there is also some of the Castellini high-tech Mecha design of the 1990’s mixed with what I had done in my first run of WOLVERINE, especially for Wakanda.
Marvel.com: Simone, what in your opinion will really make readers sit up and take notice of your art on THANOS RISING?
Simone Bianchi: The two most important elements here are, in my view, a clearer storytelling with a much straighter use of the panels grid, a process I started already with WOLVERINE and which I have gladly continued working on in this series, and a different approach in inking. And, also, a surprisingly positive and instinctually easy interaction between Jason and me.
I am for the first time working with a writer who has a very clear and incredibly close view of science fiction environments to the one I have. I think, again for the first time, I have the chance to exploit my skills in science fiction design in both environments and interiors as I have never done before.
Marvel.com: How do you feel about working on the series with Simone as artist?
Jason Aaron: Like I'm in good hands. Simone is a dynamic artist who kicks ass on both the book's sci-fi setting and its creepy overtones of horror. I think he'll define the look of Thanos for the 21st century.
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