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DF Interview: Rob Williams shows us the Thanos in Thane
By Byron Brewer
At the close of the mega-event Infinity, the hidden Inhuman Thane discovered he was the son of the Mad Titan Thanos and that his touch, the touch of a trained healer, brought death! Accompanied by the constantly whispered advice of the Ebony Maw, Thane now wants to discover his father’s history, and his own future in a four-issue mini-series beginning in October.
Written by Rob Williams and featuring a variety of talented artists, the mini brings to print for the first time the life and times of Thane, son of Thanos. To get the 411 on this series, Dynamic Forces met with Williams on the rings side of Titan’s orbit.
Dynamic Forces: First, Rob, how does the continuity of Infinity and Thanos: A God Up There Listening fit in with what Jim Starlin has been doing with the Mad Titan … or does it at all? Are both in the 616?
Rob Williams: Both are definitely 616 and definitely canon. This is a story that’ll have a major effect on the Marvel U going forward in the sense that it continues the journey of Thane, Thanos’ son, following Infinity. There you saw him realize his terrible power and use it to imprison his father. But now Thane has to decide if he will follow his father’s path. He’s determined not to. He wants to be a good man. But then he’s offered the opportunity to actually see one of Thanos’ pivotal battles first-hand via a telepath who was with Thanos at the time. So the Thanos story we see actually occurred in the past, kind of. Time can get a little distorted when you’re dealing with a mad Titan. The walls of reality tend to crumble. And suddenly Thane is there, alongside Thanos. Some quality father-son time.
DF: Originally an Infinite Comic, tell us how this mini-series came about from a production standpoint.
Rob Williams: The Infinite Comic side of things means that the script and plot are written ‘Marvel style’, so the storyboard artists lay down the initial panels, then our art team work over the top and I get a chance to rejig dialogue somewhat. So there’s possibly more of a pronounced sense of visual progressions in place. But you really shouldn’t see much of a difference between any other Marvel comic when reading the print version. The production may have been a little different but the reading experience in print is exactly the same.
DF: How did Rob Williams get the assignment of letting Marveldom Assembled in on the secrets of Thanos’ son? Was this something you pitched?
Rob Williams: No, I was approached to see if I was interested. With Thane being such a large part of Infinity and a player in the Marvel Universe going forward, editorial had a destination in mind for him. It was up to me then to pitch the story we’d tell here and how I intended getting him to that point. Playing with characters like Thanos and Ego The Living Planet was huge fun. This is a strange alien war between gods, effectively. And Thane’s fate is caught in the middle.
DF: Many have not yet read the Infinite Comic, I would imagine. (I have not.) So tell us a few secrets of Thane (and/or Thanos) we may discover … or at least hints.
Rob Williams: Thane was a healer in an Inhuman city who had no clue he was Thanos’ son, and when his power activated itself the city, and everyone in it, was destroyed. Thane has inherited the power to kill or imprison with just a touch. But he’s still intent on being a good man. Now, whether he can maintain that when the universe seems to have marked him down for horror is another question. And that’s really where our title comes from. If there is a God up there listening, will he hear Thane’s prayers? Could you have, say, Marvel’s version of Hitler as your father and still be a good person?
DF: Thanos vs. Ego is one of those battles that you just dream for, and hope it will be handled right. How did the bad blood between the Living Planet and the Mad Titan come about?
Rob Williams: Ego LIVES, and that greatly offends Thanos. So he decides to kill the planet and give it to his mistress Death as an undead flagship for his genocidal space fleet. You know... romance! Ego is just defending himself. But he’s so ancient and lonely out there in space he comes to enjoy the battle... for a while, at least.
DF: Were you pleased with the images of your story created by artists Paco Diaz, Iban Coello and Neil Edwards?
Rob Williams: I was lucky to be given several very talented artists on the book. There’s some amazing, huge, cosmic visuals in this story. A great battle between a living planet and a space fleet, a planet moving mountain ranges to smile etc. It’s a fun, big canvas. But there’s a lot of small personal moments too. Thane’s journey is a harrowing one. So the artists had to pull off the scale and the intimate battles. And they did that really well.
DF: Will we be seeing more of Thane and his father in the future, perhaps in Guardians of the Galaxy?
Rob Williams: I’d not be surprised. But that’s a question for editorial to answer.
DF: What projects current or future might you want to mention, Rob?
Rob Williams: I’m currently writing the new 11th Doctor Doctor Who series for Titan. That’s a lot of fun. I have a Wonder Woman Sensation Comics story on the way. Ordinary, my creator-owned book with D’israeli, is released as a GN October 22nd, and I have a number of things coming from 2000AD, including Judge Dredd, Low Life and, starting in October, a final serious of the supernatural western The Grievous Journey Of Ichabod Azreal (And The Dead Left In His Wake).
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Rob Williams for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. The first of four issues of the in-print mini-series Thanos: A God Up There Listening hits stores October 8th!
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