Why is Thanos called "mad"? He is a master in strategy, adept in sciences far beyond Earth technology. In Age of Ultron, Thor happens to mention that someone is making things happen involving infinity gems and it is understood that Thanos is the brains behind this.

Of course he has this hunger for power and worships chaos. But many others had similar or madder thoughts.

But why is only Thanos given the title "Mad"? Is there any story explaining this?

  • 8
    "Mad" does not equal "stupid".
    – Kreiri
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 12:39
  • 1
    Has anyone actually called him this in the MCU? I don't recall it happening.
    – phantom42
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 13:03
  • 2
    Yes, I know he is called that in the comics, but you reference the MCU and tagged the question as such. The backstory of the comics is not necessarily the same, and to my recollection, he has not been called "The Mad Titan" in the MCU, making it impossible to answer why he's called that in that universe.
    – phantom42
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 13:11
  • 12
    Thanos literally wanted to kill half the universe in an attempt to impress a girl. If that isn't "mad", I don't know what is.
    – phantom42
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 13:23
  • 10
    actually, he has been called that .... Corpsman Dey: Gamora. Surgically modified and trained as a living weapon. The adopted daughter of the Mad Titan, Thanos. Commented May 29, 2015 at 13:30

3 Answers 3


According to Marvel:

The Mad Titan Thanos, a melancholy, brooding individual, consumed with the concept of death, sought out personal power and increased strength, endowing himself with cybernetic implants until he became more powerful than any of his brethren.


Full Definition of MAD

1: disordered in mind : insane

2a: completely unrestrained by reason and judgment

2b: incapable of being explained or accounted for

3: carried away by intense anger : furious

4: carried away by enthusiasm or desire

5: affected with rabies : rabid

6: marked by wild gaiety and merriment : hilarious

7: intensely excited : frantic

8: marked by intense and often chaotic activity : wild


In an effort to court his longtime unrequited love Death, Thanos offers to kill half the Earth’s population in one fell swoop. So he snaps his fingers and poof billions of people disappear, just like that.

He must be the only known live Titan to be so mad, as the rest seem to have calmed down:

Under A'lars' leadership, Titan became a haven for peace. Then, A'lars (also known as Mentor) sired the last two of his numerous children: Eros and Thanos. Thanos was born a mutant, and grew up with dark visions of conquest and destruction. Thanos left Titan, recruited an army of mercenaries, and returned to attack. Only 100 of Titan's thousands of inhabitants survived, and Sui-San perished in the slaughter. Eventually, the Titanians rebuilt the colony and restored it to a place of meditation and the pursuit of knowledge.

  • 2
    I think 2 a and b fit better
    – user16696
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 14:05
  • 1
    @cde - depends. #5 might fit if Rocket bites him.
    – Omegacron
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 14:19
  • @cde Why risk death or prison when you can rule beside Death while having your minions die for you? Commented May 31, 2015 at 0:03
  • @CeesTimmerman ?
    – user16696
    Commented May 31, 2015 at 0:41
  • @cde Why 2a and 2b don't fit. Commented May 31, 2015 at 10:56

He proposed genocide as a means of saving his planet from decay

In The Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos mentions to Tony Stark that his home planet, Titan, was being destroyed as it was hugely overpopulated. He tells Tony that his proposed solution was, in Tony's words "genocide", and that his people called him "mad" for it.

  • He was speaking to Dr. Strange, not Tony
    – Dhon Joe
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 7:59

But why is only Thanos given the title "Mad"?

That depends on the scope.

If you are only talking about the MCU then there a limited number of characters so giving too many of them the "title" "Mad" would be silly.

If you are talking about all Marvel characters then your assumption is wrong. There is at least one other called "Mad", the "Mad Thinker"

If you are talking about just the inhabitants of "Titan" then it's because of that group (and arguably of the entire universe) he was clearly the most angry, aggressive, violent, insane and dangerous. All attributes associated with the descriptor "Mad".

Is there any story explaining this?

Thanos Rising is probably the most thorough story covering his origins and possible reasons for his serious attitude problem.

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