A Mini-Guide to the Guardians of the Galaxy

The Guardians of the Galaxy teaser was released today (do a search, you’ll find it). I tend to stay away from trailers unless I just can’t avoid them (such as in movie theaters) so I haven’t actually seen the trailer and I don’t plan to for many months (the damn thing doesn’t open until August!). But I think it’s important to give credit where credit is due in terms of the inspirations for this flick. I see too many articles crediting the most recent Bendis-written GOTG series and that’s just wrong. Not including the true origins of the team, their appearances in Bronze Age Avengers comics and the 62-issue run of the 1990s series, the most recent resurgence for the team and its current roster dates back to 2003 when Keith Giffen took over writing duties of the twelve issue Thanos series starting with issue 6.

In that storyarc, Giffen and company start to drop seeds that would play out within the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe for the next ten years before Bendis even got his hands on the concept. One of those major seeds was reintroducing Peter Quill outside of his Star-Lord identity. I read a few of the earliest Star-Lord stories and he’s a character that never finds his footing – tweaks in personality, look, abilities, etc. Giffen seemed to finally cement the character for what was to follow. Following these Thanos issues, the rest of the team would fall into place:

– After Thanos came the 2005 Drax mini-series, also with Giffen as writer and Schmidt as one of the editors (that mini would introduce the young Cammi who just played a part in the recently wrapped Avengers Arena title). This story put Drax back into play into his most recent version.

– Late 2005/early 2006 gave us Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos, again also by writer Giffen, that reintroduced a version of Groot.

– With the first Annihilation event, we got a Nova revamp, the Nova Corps, Gamora, and Ronan the Accuser.

– From there, it was only a short step to bringing in Rocket Raccoon during the Annihilation Conquest event, putting Quill back into the Star Lord identity, and reforming a new Guardians of the Galaxy for a new series that would run 25 issues from 2008 to 2010 thanks to the excellent writing team of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. They were given the torch during 2007/2008 and kept it lit thru 2012 and it’s due to all of these titles (and more) and the many creators involved that Marvel Cosmic flourished.

Eventually, in 2012, Marvel engaged in their Marvel Now line-wide relaunch. The reigns for the characters were handed over to Brian Michael Bendis (during his Avengers Assemble run and then into their own new series). So sure – the current GOTG series is the most current connection to the upcoming movie. It’s what came before that gave the concept a new energy and a new fanbase of readers.

“You’re welcome.”