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Top Five Most Iconic Thanos Covers

Here are my picks for the top five most iconic covers featuring Thanos (with iconic being determined by what covers are most established and most recognized when it comes to Thanos, with a preference towards covers that are homaged a lot). This is not a BEST cover list and due to the very nature of icons, very few (if any) recent covers will be on the list. A notable exception to the rules is that I don’t count covers from a character’s first appearance (which isn’t applicable to all characters, of course, just those who appeared on the cover of the comic they debuted in), as those tend to be automatically iconic so they’re boring. Here‘s a list of all characters featured so far.



Artist: Ron Wilson

Really, you’d be surprised by how few of the “classic” Thanos stories actually have good Thanos covers on them. Probably the best is the Marvel Two-In-One Annual where Adam Warlock dies, but really, even there, the cover itself is not that striking.

So I’m going with this memorable Ron Wilson Avengers cover, marking the first time Thanos took on the Avengers.


Artist: Jim Starlin

Let’s face it, THE most iconic aspect of Thanos is the whole Infinity Gauntlet thing, so it’s unsurprising to see that dominate the list (Thanos’ ongoing series and the Infinity mini-series leading into it were actually quite good, but they’re just not nearly as iconic as the earlier Infinity stuff)


Artist: George Perez

See #4.


Artist: Jim Starlin

This is Thanos’ first cover appearance, which is notable in and of itself, but it’s also a great symbol of the great Starlin stories where Thanos would fight Captain Marvel and Warlock. In addition, this cover is notable for the first appearance of the way Starlin has Thanos in the background – Starlin himself would use that motif for Thanos on at least four-five covers (Thanos as a floating head in the background).


Artist: George Perez

This cover was highly-demanded as one of the most iconic panels in Marvel history, so I think it’s fair to say it is Thanos’ most iconic cover. It’s been homaged a few times.


Good list, I would have maybe had number 3 as Number 1, that Infinity guantlet cover is the one I think of, and I think Its one of the best covers ever. Your choice of number 1 is also good though.

yeah, 1’s popular because of the comic it represents, but 3 is the one people think of when they think of that dude who managed to seize all creation.

Man, they really rammed that Infinity Gauntlet bit into the ground. Starlin wrote some AMAZINGLY good stuff for Marvel and then he got pimped out by them into the whole giant mini-series crossover deal. Thanos became a peaceful farmer and then dead and then stone and then whatever and whatever and whatever. They took an amazingly good Dakseid type character and them bitchslapped him around for a decade or so.

When I was young and first getting into comics, Thanos was the only villain who really scared me. I think it was the preoccupation with death…



I’m partial to the first one of these as an honorable mention, but I don’t think it beats out any of the ones you have listed, probably.

Also, you should really do an Impossible Man series.


I’ve always loved the “Infinity Gauntlet #1″ Cover. The split effect from the gems really has been used well.

I was also thinking of a few of the Ron Lim covers from his Silver Surfer run. #34, #44 and #50 especially….

I think number 1’s a no-brainer (though it seems some here disagree). Good call.

Very cool. I’d have taken Silver Surfer #34 over Avengers #125, but that’s just me. Also, the MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE ANNUAL #2 is KEY!!!

And I think Captain Marvel #33 is better than the #28.

Also – Just for good measure, as you may have missed this one because Thanos is on the back 1/2 of a wrap cover: COSMIC POWERS UNLIMITED #1 has a totally killer cover by Claudio Castellini:


I also vote for Infinity Gauntlet #1 as #1.

It may not be very striking but just in case anyone hasn’t seen the cover of Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2 here it is: http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=30580&zoom=4 .

was going to say when it came to Thanos there really was not many choices that fit the criteria of the list and the infinity gaunlet is the one story where thanos is really shown iconic

I also vote for Infinity Gauntlet #1 as #1, also. Vote.

I agree with many others that Infinity Gauntlet #1 should probably be #1 on the list.

A few people are agreeing that they think Infinity Guantlet #1 should be number 1 in the list, which is cool. I just wanted to say, I wasnt actually asking for a vote. This was your opinion and thats cool, your number 1 is also a great choice – even if it is wrong ;-)

Im really liking these articles as a whole by the way, I like the diverse choice of characters.

I think that the cover to Infinity Gauntlet #1 is the more technically beautiful of the covers, but that the cover to #4 just says “Thanos” so much more to me.

So, yesterday was Darkseid, and today was Thanos. Continuing the pattern, I assume tomorrow is Mongul?

(Of course, I’m not sure Mongul has been on 5 covers [even if you include both Mongul and Mongul Jr], much less has 5 iconic covers.)

I agree on the first four, but the Avengers cover is fugly! MTO Annual #2 has a much more iconic cover in my opinion (that’s the one I thought when remembering the pre-Infinity Gauntlet Thanos covers).

The solo Thanos series had some of the best Starlin-drawn Thanos covers. Maybe if that series was more famous…

(And why isn’t it? It was quite good, sold well at the time and only got derailed because Starlin left Marvel suddenly. The only reason I can imagine for it not being so famous is that Marvel dropped the ball on the TPBs, which went out of print almost right after publication.)

Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Count me in as putting IG #4 over #1.

Also, we do have to note the importance of IG #3, even if it doesn’t make the list. I always took the heroes charge on #3 to be what Thanos was looking at, while “Come and get me” was what the heroes on #3 were looking at. Theoretically, you could make a little diorama by having the covers face each other.

The cover to IG #4 is what first popped into my mind when I saw this post. I totally agree with its spot at #1.

When I read “Iconinc Thanos covers,” IG #1 is what sprang to mind as my #1. I’d probably Have IG#1 at 1, IG#4 at 2, Thanos Quest at #3, followed by Captain Marvel and the Avengers.

I agree with Pedro — I actually love that MTIO cover. It’s a bit cluttered, but the central image, particularly of Thanos? Awesome. And bludgeoning one super-hero with another hero never gets old.

Heh…so are you going to go for the hat-trick and do Mongul covers tomorrow/today?

“Come and get me” was certainly the first one I thought of.

Looking at these covers, and especially Darkseid’s, it seems iconicism is pretty much defined as “when the character is inexplicably gigantic” (at least for villains). Not that that’s wrong or anything, the choices are still good ones.

I hope this feature continues beyond September, if not every day at least once in a while. I would love to see the choices for Hank Pym, Adam Warlock, and Animal Man!

Speaking of Thanos and Darkseid, I’ve always noted how similar they are in design, but even the general layouts of their cover appearances are very similar.

Mongul really is the substitute teacher of the cosmic megavillain world. He sits around knitting sweaters on Warworld until someone calls him to say Darkseid’s out sick and ask if he could please come in and dominate the JLA for a few days. Gotta love him for his redundancy alone.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

September 29, 2009 at 9:12 am

In fairness, Mongul’s also the guy that you can actually do stuff TO, since altering Darkseid overmuch would be taken as meddling with Jack “King:” Kirby’s Vision, TM and patent pending.

Solid list. Mine would probably be a little different, but nothing here I can really disagree with.

I would have liked the Silver Surfer cover with Thanos reappearance with Mephisto instead of Captain Marvel. But the number 1 choice is the right choice by far.

I’m going to agree with this list but disagree with keil, who said that the variant cover for GotG #8 “has to be in the top 2″. I think that by definition, if it’s a variant cover it can’t be iconic. Yes, people might get to see the art online, but if only a tiny percentage of the buying and reading public has the opportunity to actually see the comic, how can the image ever become iconic? It’s a nice cover, but by making it a variant, Marvel has marginalized it.

True, Omar. It’s worth noting that Mongul was created at a time when Darkseid was used very sparingly, and mostly within the Fourth World stories. Since Darkseid really wasn’t available to go around beating on Superman, and didn’t usually lower himself to that kind of thing anyway, Mongul was created to be a villain who might actually prove a challenge to Superman at the height of his pre-Crisis powers.

good point Scott. I hate it when my local shop doesn’t get variants – or they overcharge like mad for them. put that cover as iconic (where available) – ha

I’ve never seen any of these before, but I haven’t seen very many Thanos stories at all, really.

But didn’t Adam Warlock die in Avengers Annual #7, not Marvel Two-In-One? I have the Avengers Annual, but I’ve never read the Marvel Two-In-One. I suppose it’s possible Warlock died twice in the same storyline, but I’ve never heard that mentioned before.

Good call on Infinity Gauntlet #4 as the most iconic. That was the first cover that popped into my head. Thanos Quest #1, too. Solid list.

I’m really happy for this list and I’mma let you finish, but Thorion of the New Asgods #1 had the most iconic Thanoseid cover of ALL TIME!

Good list. Overall I’m happy about this order except I would have likely put Infinity Gauntlet number 1 at the number 2 slot.

Despite Brian’s explanation, I vote for MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE ANNUAL #2 over AVENGERS #125. A lot of iconic covers aren’t that striking.

Darkseid, Thanos, and Mongul should get together and decide which of them is going to rule the universe. Also, they should compare notes and see if they were “separated at birth.”

but Mongul’s yellow. The others are kinda purple-y. maybe its one of those ‘this kids’s a different shade, cause that’s how i rolled’

The different skin colors would be easy to explain. For instance, the future-soul-crushing toddlers took on the color of whatever sun they were raised under.

Silver Surfer 34 has got to be on there! The character was literally dead and unused for 12 years(save for the Captain Marvel graphic novel) when that issue resurrected him. To folks of a certain age, that was THE introduction to the character. I had this one AND issue 45 on my wall of comic covers circa 1990 – so I guess Matt D thinks I’m silly :-P

here it is with proper colors…

I always found Thanos much scarier than Darkseid as a kid. I had no idea what the Anti-Life Equation meant, but a huge dude going ga-ga over the bony, female personification of Death? And he was willing to take down the whole universe just to earn her love? You don’t get more twisted than that.

Thanos should have remained in stone form, forever denied that for which he lived. And if he had to be brought back, leaving him a humble farmer after learning what price the Gauntlet brought along should have been his final swan song.

The Avengers cover looks more like Gil Kane inked by John Romita.
Is it really Wilson?

Isn’t Thanos’s first cover appearance Captain Marvel #26?

The MTIO cover is a typical busy 70s Marvel cover, but the real image is STRIKING!

It was used (sans worthless junk) as the cover of the brazilian reprint edition where I first read the story, so I may just have a personal experience different from most people.

Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Good eye, Brad. I believe you’re right. Not too prominently featured, though.

I’m on the fence for what cover deserves the number 1 slot. As I tried to guess what covers would make the cut while the page loaded, Infinity Gauntlet #4 was the first book that came to mind. Not sure how it compares with Infinity Gauntlet #1 for homages, though, and the image for #1 is far more majestic, really giving a great sense of the scope of the book, and the threat that Thanos represents.

“Really, you’d be surprised by how few of the “classic” Thanos stories actually have good Thanos covers on them.”

Is it just me, or has been a running theme for a good portion of the cover lists in general?

I like #3 the best. Perez may not be loved for his costume designs, but he does produce some beautiful covers. I love it when he crams as many people as possible, and it still looks good and detailed, with it being easy to identify all the people on the cover (his Crisis covers are a great example).


October 1, 2009 at 6:14 am

Me, I love that one.

His first app (as a robot) was Iron Man 55, together with Drax, the Destroyer.

Infinity #3 IS Thanos to me, Marvel Two-In-One Annual is a classic, far superior to the Avengers cover, but what about Warlock #10 ?

Great list and pics!!

Unfortunately, Thanos’ first cover appearance was Captain Marvel #26 (in the window).


[…] Top Five Most Iconic Thanos Covers (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com) […]

Silver Surfer (1987) #34 was prety Iconic for a Thanos Cover…


When I was a kid my dad had a box of old comics and Captain Marvel #28 was one of them. Since I couldn’t read yet, I always thought Captain Marvel was a bad guy because of the cover. I remember being vastly confused by this.

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