Jim Starlin, the creator of Avengers: Infinity War villain and giant wrinkled grape Thanos, is no longer with Marvel Comics. Per THR, the very public falling-out was due to disputes with Marvel Editorial.
Starlin’s forthcoming graphic novel, Thanos: The Infinity Siblings, is still due for release in February of 2018, but the artist and writer said on Facebook:
What I objected to and what will be keep me from doing any further work for Marvel Editorial was [executive editor] Tom Brevoort approving a plot for the current on-going [Thanos] series, which was pretty much the same as the Thanos story arc in the graphic novel trilogy Alan Davis and I have been working on for Tom for close to the past year. He had 200 pages of script and 100 pages of pencils on this project when he gave the green light to a strikingly similar plot. The on-going will be in print before the graphic novel trilogy. To avoid spoiling anyone’s enjoyment of these two stories I will not be summarizing the striking similarities.
At first Tom denied giving his approval to the plot. When that turned out to be false, he switched to claiming there was nothing similar about the two plots. When that didn’t fly he changed his story to it was all an accident. These changes of excuse and other bits of procrastination ate up a month, by which time the current Thanos on-going art team was too far along for anything to be done about the situation. Too bad for me. So I am moving on.
Starlin summarizes his departure by saying that he believes that Marvel Comics no longer has interest in utilizing his ideas and services, but says in contrast that the Kevin Feige-led Marvel Studios has treated him “very well and generously.”
Thanos first appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a mid-credits scene following Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, before briefly appearing in Guardians of the Galaxy and another credits scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron. After the Mad Titan’s first film appearance, however, Starlin spoke out about the lack of financial compensation for the use of his work in the films by Marvel Entertainment—in 2014, Starlin (at least, temporarily) repaired his relationship with Marvel Comics with a new deal that involved him working on a new project.
Despite the dramatic departure, filmgoers may still see Starlin on the big screen—earlier social media exchanges between him and Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo indicated interest in filming a cameo for Starlin. Avengers: Infinity War, which debuted its record-setting trailer recently, opens on May 4, 2018.