Is Thanos' destruction of half of everyone in the Universe based on any comic book issue or is this a new idea in the Infinity War movie?

This question seems to imply yes. It was elegantly presented in the Infinity Gauntlet series how Thanos, after collecting all the soul gems snaps his fingers and destroys half the universe.

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    On a semi-relevant note, when I first heard about Thanos' desire to kill half of the universe, I assumed he meant the left half (or possibly the right half), not 50% of each planet. – Valorum Mar 7 at 0:27
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    Random! Dispassionate! No bias favouring the left half, the right half, the top or the bottom half! – Paul D. Waite Mar 7 at 10:59

Basically, yes and no.

Yes, there is an idea of killing "half the sentient population of the universe" in the comics. No, this isn't exactly Thanos' great idea. He has been tasked by Death to fix a "cosmic imbalance", namely, having more people alive today than there ever were dead. She "hires" Thanos to do the job, and basically everything goes downhill from here, because you do not give that guy such powers.

Silver Surfer warns strange about Thanos

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    I remember talking to my comic savvy buddy and he was saying something about how Thanos was doing it (in the comics) to try and win her over, but she wasn't feeling it... – Odin1806 Mar 7 at 15:13
  • It should really be added that in the comics Thanos isn't motivated by some misguided Malthusian solution, but out of an obsession/love for Death. – J Doe Mar 7 at 17:10
  • Important quote from the Avengers post-(or mid)-credits scene: "To [fight the Avengers] would be to court death". Thanos smiles. This was possibly before they decided his movie motivations were going to be more grounded. – Parrotmaster Mar 11 at 11:21
  • I guess the rest of the fictional universe could be different via mass cloning or immortality or something, but way, way, way more people have died than are alive today - – Shamshiel Aug 26 at 9:51

In the comics, Thanos did wipe out half of all sentient life by snapping his fingers, but it was very different to what he did in the MCU. Firstly, in the comics, his motivation was to do it as a gift to mistress Death, not to help or bring balance. Also, in the comics, it was not the main reason exactly as to why he collected the infinity gems, and it happened earlier. So, he did do it in the comics, but the circumstances and motives were very different, as well as the gems themselves ( in that they were not hard to use and could work for as long as you want ).

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