Avengers: Infinity War is packing in cinemas around the planet, and this should be a boom for comic shops around the planet too but after three plus decades in comics I’m betting there’s shops missing tricks because of a mix of not knowing what to do or/and Marvel being rubbish in keeping their work in print.
But if you’ve watched Infinity War and want more big purple Thanos action throbbing on your bookshelves and don’t want to spend the very rapidly increasing prices for back issues (things like Silver Surfer #44 will be selling for around 100 quid by the end of May at this rate, almost doubling its value) so if you want better options try these.
Captain Marvel by Jim Starlin.
This has the first appearance of Thanos from Iron Man #55 (currently selling for the GDP of New Zealand) as well as Starlin’s excellent Captain Marvel stories. Although the film arm hasn’t used Captain Marvel yet (film coming in January 2019) there’s much in here they have used as a influence.
Warlock by Jim Starlin.
Simply some of the best comics of the 1970’s. Starlin’s Warlock stories had a strange, trippy, even underground feel but the stories which close off the first phase of Thanos stories that feature the Avengers, Warlock, Captain Marvel, Spider Man and the Fantastic Four’s The Thing are the comics that defined the epic cosmic superhero saga. There’s big chunks of these stories DNA in Infinity War.
The Avengers/Defenders War written by Steve Englehart, Roy Thomas, Jim Starlin and drawn mainly by Sal Buscema.
These aren’t just fun superhero comics, they also feature an appearance from Thanos, plus these are the issues which defined the relationship between the Vision and Scarlet Witch.
Silver Surfer: Rebirth of Thanos by Jim Starlin and Ron Lim.
Starlin and Marvel left Thanos in the realm of death for 13 years which is an eternity in superhero comics terms. In 1990 Starlin returned to Marvel and brought Thanos back.
The Infinity Gauntlet/Infinity War/Infinity Crusade by Jim Starlin, George Perez and Ron Lim.
There are multiple versions of all three trade paperbacks, plus hardcovers, plus there’s trades of the associated tie-ins and spin offs but this seems to be the main core of what Marvel are loosely adapting though there’s clearly material from more recent works from the likes of Jonathan Hickman…
And of course Jim Starlin…
This is by no means a complete list. I personally think Marvel’s milking of the character in the last few years has produced some dreadful comics, but these are your core books that realistically, as long as Marvel or your distributor has them in print/stock you should have at least one of each to recommend
And if you’re not a retailer and want a reading list then there you go. You should be finished by the time Avengers 4 comes out next May.