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CSBG Archive

Meta-Messages – Will the Real Thanos Please Stand Up? (Part 2)

All October long I will be exploring the context behind (using reader danjack’s term) “meta-messages.” A meta-message is where a comic book creator comments on/references the work of another comic book/comic book creator using the characters in their comic. Each time around, I’ll give you the context behind one such “meta-message.” Here is an archive of the past installments! If you have a suggestion for a future meta-message, e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com.

First yesterday and now today I am examining two meta-messages involving Thanos and the use of clones of Thanos to explain away stories where Thanos may or may not have looked bad. Yesterday we saw Jim Starlin introduce the concept and today we see Dan Slott have a little fun with the concept!

As noted in the previous installment, Jim Starlin introduced the concept of Thanos cloning himself (much like Doctor Doom having Doombots) to explain away some stories featuring Thanos that Starlin did not feel accurately depicted the character.

Well, in 2006, Dan Slott had Squirrel Girl star in one of the stories in the 2006 GLX-Mas Special (starring the Great Lakes Avengers). Slott had a lot of fun with the fact that Squirrel Girl in an “in continuity” story defeated Doctor Doom. So Slott really played up this fact – that Squirrel Girl could beat pretty much anyone. So in one of the stories, she defeats MODOK.

Later, as she is headed back to her Great Lakes Avengers friends, she is interrupted…

In another story later in the issue, we see how the fight ended, along with some amusing words from the Watcher…



Good article but do the question we all need answering is if the real Thanos own a helicopter?

I love Squirrel Girl.

Ah but was that the real Uatu?

That’s the best thing I’ve seen all day.

Everything Slott wrote starring the GLA/GLI (last time I saw the team, they were called Great Lake Initiative, not before having a short run as GLX) was funny and awesome.

There should be another addition, where Slott used Thanos and his clones once again for the Starfox story in his second She-Hulk series.

I do believe there was a later story, though, in which Starlin mentioned Thanos’ clones were perfect enough to fool even a Watcher.

I don’t think Starlin has written Thanos since his short-lived ongoing series, which would’ve been before the throwdown with Squirrel Girl.

Not sure if this counts as a meta-message, but what about Chris Claremont’s response to the X-Men movies? Rogue was given a real name for the first time in the movies, Marie D’Ancanto. Some time afterwards in X-Treme X-Men (circa #31), Claremont specifically created a young girl / anti-mutant terrorist named Marie D’Ancanto to make it clear she and Rogue were separate characters in his mind. (Of course, he also started calling Rogue by the alias “Anna Raven” after the actress Anna Paquin, who played her in the movie.)

I do believe there was a later story, though, in which Starlin mentioned Thanos’ clones were perfect enough to fool even a Watcher.

Actually, Slott did that during his later use of Thanos clones in She-Hulk’s comic. The whole thing is a like one big spoof of Starlin’s protectiveness of the character.

Is Thanos’ ass on fire?

Claremont could have saved himself the trouble if he had made Rogue just TELL her real name to his longtime friends.

Since she never did, I never considered her a real X-Men and have been waiting for the reveal that she is an infiltrated evil mutant ever since…

omg can not believe dan had thanos join the ranks of those who got beat by squirrel girl and not a duplicate but thanos himself talk about hilerious.

This particular one was then the subject of it’s OWN meta-message by the SAME author! In an issue of She-Hulk not long after, the plot centres on Thanos creating a duplicate of himself that is specifically noted to be SO identical and perfect that not even a cosmic entity like Uatu could tell the difference. :)

Obviously I seem to be the only fan who hates Squirrel Girl.

The Great Lake Avengers mini-series were great! I’m surprised they didn’t keep doing them and just stuck with Christmas specials and such.

It should be noted though, that in a later SHE-HULK story, Dan uses *another* Thanos clone…and establishes that it is a clone so perfect, it can even fool the senses of cosmic beings. So Dan actually wrote an “out” to his own story, to allow for the Thanos that Squirrel Girl beat to be a clone.

I miss the GLA/GLX/Lightning Rods/Great Lakes Champions/whatever they’re called now. They need to make a triumphant return.

Slott himself retconned this appearance of ‘Thanos’ in a later issue of She-Hulk.

I liked the GLA stories, except the Deadpool cross-over. That was a complete misfire, with Deadpool running roughshod over everyone untl Squirrel Girl finally bothers to stop him at the end.

“Obviously I seem to be the only fan who hates Squirrel Girl.”

Not the only one.

Glad to see I’m not alone!

I have never read a Squirrel Girl comic, but I hate the idea that these stories are supposed to be canon. What is this, the WWE? Throw your greatest villains under the bus?

It sounds like they are fun stories, and I’m all for that. But I don’t want Ambush Bug getting all up in my continuity.


Read She-Hulk and find that Thanos’s clones are of such a caliber that they can trick even cosmic entities, in this case, The Watcher!

Unless this article is getting a pt. 3 and Im jumping the gun…

@Tim B

Of course he has a helicopter. Its keeps him out of reach of beat cops.


Yeah, I always thought “fake Watcher AND Thanos” was the easiest way to retcon the Squirrel Girl/Thanos fight … not that it needs to be retconned.


I loved that She Hulk story with Thanos. The guy in that story HAS to be the real Thanos. His condescending facial expression when Phyla-Vell introduces herself as “Captain Marvel” was classic Thanos.

You can practically see the “of course you are, honey” thought balloon over his head.

David Fullam – you’re most definitely not alone.

Squirell Girl sucks.

Seems more just stupid than cute or clever, but oh well. Slott was “having fun,” and as Brett Favre taught us, that’s the most important thing.

And, when I think about the other Meta-comic article about Jim Starlin “fixing” Thanos. I wonder if Jim will come back and fix this too.

Does Squirel Girl have an arch-enemy? A Joker to her Batman or Red Skull to her Captain America?

We are now building the ASGA-Anti Squirrel Girl Army!

Captain Librarian

October 18, 2011 at 8:44 am

Heh, some people take comics waaaaay too seriously. That’s why I love GLA and Squirrel Girl. It’s fun and offends all the right people.

Where did I say I take comics seriously? Uh, nowhere! There are far better funny, goofy characters in the Marvel Universe that I would love to see get their day.

Matthew Petersen

October 18, 2011 at 9:56 am

@Captain Librarian

I don’t think its taking comics way to seriously at all.
I am a HUGE Sherlock Holmes fan, and if a new writer came in and said “these new stories are canon” and then made Sherlock Holmes a blundering idiot………I’d be upset.
Not because I take my detective literature seriously, but because that’s not how I feel the character should EVER be portrayed.

Oh and count me in as someone who does not like Squirrel Girl.

I take comics seriously, and I like Squirrel Girl. But alternate takes on characters don’t bother me, as long as the story itself is entertaining. A story in which Aquaman outsmarts Batman or Green Arrow takes out Darkseid doesn’t ruin anything for me. I’m less concerned with “that would never happen” stuff than whether a writer is just having a little fun and upturning expectations or just seems to not know any better. As with most things, opinions on that may vary.

Squirel Girl is awesome, given that she isn’t depressing, or edgy, just kick-ass and totally fun. Until Bendis has The Hood beat her up on youtube, or something. That would be lame. I do love the fact that she pretends she isn’t so totally amazing to help build the New Avengers confidence up – clearly she could have ended Fear Itself within five minutes. I would pay to see the artwork of her spanking Sin.

@ John – Jim doesn’t need to come back to fix this, it’s already been fixed by Slott himself.

As mentioned earlier, in an issue of She-Hulk it’s stated that the Thanos clones are so precise and exact that they can fool even the most cosmic senses…aka The Watcher. This was Slott retconning his own GLX-mas story.

You know, I’ve never read it, but I believe that Slott did a later story in She-Hulk where Thanos clones can fool Watchers.

Just in case y’all didn’t pick up on that from the dozen or so people that mentioned it here…

(Actually, the comments were probably moderated by Brian until he posted part 3, so it just looks weird NOW)

And I dig Squirrel Girl. I like the story (and actually, the Buy Pile’s mention of this bit got me to buy the one ish) in the Deadpool crossover where she faces…someone, and the squirrel says something about “she took down Doctor Doom and pwned him, and that was a story by Steve Ditko, so it’s totally in canon, suckas!”

Didn’t Dazzler take down an unusually powerful crew of villains, including Galactus, back in her series?

Didn’t Dazzler take down an unusually powerful crew of villains, including Galactus, back in her series?

Especially in the early issues, Dazzler did get to do some really goofy stuff. She didn’t take down Galactus, exactly, but she did impress him and go a sliver of temporary power from him which she used to defeat Terrax. And she managed to take on Doctor Doom and the Enchantress on separate occasions.

I really enjoyed the Dazzler series at the time. I particularly enjoyed her whupping Klaw, just because that obviously wasn’t going to go very well for him.

So if those clones are good enough to fool Uatu I guess that means they are so close to Thanos that Squirrel Girl could beat him, anyway…

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