Marvel Comics and Jim Starlin – an early, influential architect of the publisher’s now thriving "cosmic" corner of their universe – were in the early stages of a reunion to partner on more stories in the creator’s series of “Infinity” storylines starring The Avengers movie villain Thanos, but a matter of the availability of the Adam Warlock character may be putting that reunion in jeopardy.
Starlin, who created both Thanos and Drax the Destroyer (who will be seen in August’s Guardians of the Galaxy) recently resumed work with the publisher on several Thanos-related projects tying into the character’s increased role at Marvel in films and the higher profile of Marvel’s cosmic titles. In a Facebook post over the weekend, the writer/artist wrote that he’d been told not to use Adam Warlock in any future work, implying dissatisfaction over the decision.
"Okay, this time, after I brought Adam Warlock back from the dead in The Infinity Revelation, someone at Marvel anonymously put a corporation-wide-no-use restriction on the character, effectively putting the brakes on the ongoing plans I had for him and [Thanos]," Starlin wrote.
The Infinity Revelation is a new graphic novel that the writer/artist finished earlier this year and is awaiting publication by Marvel.
Created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, Warlock’s best known stories were created by Starlin in various Marvel titles between the 70s and 90s. For a time under Starlin’s direction, Warlock was leading a group of heroes called the Infinity Watch who held the Infinity Gems, now a key element in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Following this Facebook post and an ensuing groundswell of comments by fans and comic professionals (including a job offer from IDW Editor-In-Chief Chris Ryall), Starlin posted that he wouldn’t comment further, saying that “The past is the past, even its mistakes. Keeping my eye on tomorrow.”
Presented with Starlin's comment over the weekend on his Tumblr page, Marvel Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort responded to the matter though not directly addressing Warlock's status, writing: “This is all really about something else, something much smaller that Jim probably shouldn’t even have taken public on his Facebook page. But he did, so there you go.”
Approached Tuesday for comment, Starlin shared more insight into the situation from his perspective.
“When I started on The Infinity Revelation, I asked about Adam's status, was told no one had any plans for him and that he was dead,” Starlin told Newsarama. “So I brought him back to life in the graphic novel and made plans to use him further.”
Upon the conclusion of his work writing and drawing the graphic novel, Starlin said he began working on the next project he had planned for Adam Warlock and Thanos, titled The Infinity Duel.
“I turned in a plot to Tom Brevoort, which included Adam Warlock, and about two months later Tom informed me about the hold but said he couldn't explain it to me,” Starlin claimed. “That's when I took on the Savage Hulk story arc, to keep busy until the hold was lifted and built up some more advanced storyline for the proposed project (The Infinity Duel).”
According to Starlin, he finished penciling his four-issue arc of Savage Hulk last week but found the Adam Warlock situation had remained unchanged.
“The hold is still in place and, apparently, shows no signs of being lifted any time in the future,” Starlin told Newsarama Tuesday. “So I'm moving on.”
Starlin, who has worked for Marvel as a writer and artist on-and-off for over 43 years, went on to infer that the situation might be due to the character being used in an upcoming Marvel live-action project.
“I find this all rather strange,” Starlin offered, “seeing how Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, the X-Men, Daredevil, the Hulk, Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider and whatever other characters became movie projects without this hold ever being placed upon them.”
Whatever the reason, it appears the situation may scuttle the proposed longer-term reunion with Marvel.
“I've given up on Warlock happening any time soon and have completed the three projects I committed to for Marvel - The Thanos Annual, The Infinity Revelation, and the Savage Hulk story arc," Starlin concluded.
"Talking to folks about future work, but nothing I can talk about at this time."
Marvel declined to comment on the matter Tuesday afternoon.