“From obscure comic to mainstream blockbuster.”
I don’t know if you guys were aware, but this little known movie recently came out called Guardians of the Galaxy, and it’s doing pretty okay at the box office. I’m being sarcastic of course, but I thought with the movie being so good, it would be fun to dive into some of the history of the Guardians comics.
Now, this isn’t going to be a super detailed write-up on all the characters, but rather a simple and fun look back on these guys and where they came from in the comics. But if there’s something I leave out or forget to mention that you think the people need to know about, feel free to let us know in the comments.
Let’s start with the original team: created in 1969, The Guardians of the Galaxy first appeared in Marvel Super Heroes #15. This original team operated in the 31st century in an alternate timeline of our possible future on Earth 691. Which means the things that occurred in these books didn’t affect any original comic timelines or story continuity.
The original team was lead by Major Victory and was rounded out with Martinex Tnaga, Charlie-27, and Yondu (Yondu was one of the main characters in the movies) as the main members—with other members coming and going throughout the years.
One of the cool things about the OG Guardians was that they were the last of their kind. So while you have Star-Lord from the the current roster being from Earth, he’s obviously not the last Earthling alive in the timeline. But the original Guardians such as Yondu were the last of their race. I think it adds a nice element of drama.
The main reason for them uniting was to battle against an alien race called the Badoon. Their goal was to stop what happened to them from happening to other races (the extinction of their race caused at the hands of the Badoon). They did end up coming to our time to fight against Korvac, who was created by the Badoon with help from the Avengers. But that’s a whole other can of worms.
Now, let’s move on to the modern team who are featured in the the movies and who new fans are familiar with. This group of the Guardians came out in may of 2008 in annihilation: Conquest #6. In the aftermath of this series, Star-Lord started the current team to prevent other threats to the galaxy.
This team was brought to fruition by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. They took these pre-existing and previously unrelated characters and formed the modern roster. The core group is made up of Drax, Gamora, Groot, Star-Lord, and Rocket Raccoon—which you already knew if you’ve watched the movies.
There have been other members during the current run of comics: Nova, Mantis, Adam Warlock, and a few more lesser known characters. I haven’t had a chance to read this run of the series, but that’s only because I haven’t had the time and or money to pick it up yet. But it’s definitely on the list.
The only Guardians’ books I’ve read as of now is the newer run from Brian Michael Bendis, which started around the time of the first movie. I enjoy most of the series, but I also heard it’s a bit of a departure from the previous series and was aimed to be more like the movie version.
As the series went on, new members were added to the roster: Iron Man, Agent Venom, Angela, Captain Marvel, Kitty Pryde, and the Thing. Some of these characters weren’t on the team for long, while others were on the team right up to the end of Bendis’ run.
Opinions vary on how the more mainstream characters fit in as the Guardians—with some people downright rejecting them. Luckily for the naysayers, a new series has recently started with just the five main members.
The Guardians of the Galaxy have come a long way from little known cult characters to household names, and I’m sure their comic stock is only going to rise higher with the surging popularity of the movies.
I’m not going to touch on the issue too much, but it should be noted the Guardians mainly got a movie because Marvel lost the rights to many of their most popular characters.
So as an FU to their competitors who own the rights to said characters, Marvel decided to bring their lesser known characters to the big screen. With Ant-Man, Black Panther, and The Guardians of the Galaxy, they seem to have succeeded in this endeavor.
If you’re a fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, you should check out some of the original (and newer) comics. Especially because if it weren’t for them, there’d be no movies for you to watch in the first place.
If you liked this article, check out these other great comic book pieces from Spencer Church.