History of the Guardians of the Galaxy
by: J.D. Cook
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— Big Blue Bullfrog (@BigBlueBullfrog) February 28, 2014
Long ago back when I was still in college a good friend of mine told me that Marvel might be planning to move ahead with A Guardian’s of the Galaxy film. My reply, “Who are the Guardians of the Galaxy?” Actually I probably nodded my head and acted excited because I didn’t want to lose Geek Cred but my point is these characters are fairly obscure even by my own Geek standards. So with that in mind I’ve decided to dedicate this Comic Book Commentary to discussing the history of the team spanning back to their original incarnation.
The team began in 1969 in what was primarily a re-print issue. After this they never really became huge. They appeared mostly as guest stars in other comic books until their first solo series that ran for 62 issues in the 1990s. The original team is made up of fairly obscure characters, Martinex, Captain Charlie-27, Starhawk and Nikki are some of the least known. There are two other members of the original team. Yondu, who is actually going to appear in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film played by Michael Rooker, and Major Vance Astro who would be the first of the original Guardians of the Galaxy to meet their modern counterparts.
In 2008 the Guardians of the Galaxy were brought back to comics by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. The team was essentially built on the backs of two fantastic story events centered in Marvel Comic’s Cosmic section. They were two massive cosmic wars the first of which centered on Annihilus, the ruler of the Negative Zone invading our universe. After this Ultron united with the techno-organic species called the Phalanx in a bid to rule the universe after it was weakened by Annihilus’s invasion. During these wars a few heroes stood out and decided to unify in a new iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy…well old considering the original Guardians of the Galaxy were from the 31st century. Star-Lord, Rocker Racoon, Gamora, Mantis and Drax were all lesser known characters who had existed in the Marvel Universe since the 1970s. Adam Warlock and Groot stretched back even further in Marvel history to 1967 and 1960 respectively. Phyla-Vell was the newest Marvel character created in 2003. This 2008 lineup will be the biggest influence on the upcoming film and it’s 25 issue run is critically lauded as a high water mark of comics writing.
The same friend of mine who told me about the potential film let me read a few of the issues and I have to confirm that it is some really fantastic stuff. All of the cosmic stuff done by Marvel in the years leading up and through the rebooted Guardians of the Galaxy had this really fantastic sense of scale to it. The reader always knew that the Universe itself was on the line and it made everything seem more intense plus it made the jokes seem funnier as they contrasted with the insane situations the characters were in. The humor is definitely a big component of the team and the upcoming movie seems to have that in it but I’m hoping for a bit of that grand scale as well. Only viewing the movie will tell me if James Gunn completely nailed the characters but judging from the trailer embedded below it’s definitely on the right track. Oh and hey if the movie does well perhaps Ultron will be popping up in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 since there is a precedent for it happening in the comics already and he is set to star in Avengers: Age of Ultron.