This week, a fairly lackluster summer is going to be salvaged by Burt Macklin, a professional wrestler, and a talking raccoon. But who are the Guardians of The Galaxy? What are their ties to the larger Marvel universe? And what comics of theirs should you be reading? Here’s a rundown of what you need to know.
So, I assume the Guardians of The Galaxy are like the Avengers, been around forever, lots of beloved members?
…Not so much, actually. The name dates back to the ’60s, and that team had a successful 62 issue run in the ’80s and ’90s. But the team as we actually know it, with Rocket Raccoon, Star Lord, Gamora, Drax, and Groot, wasn’t actually formed until 2008.
Is this why you were skeptical of the movie at first?
No, I was skeptical because as a rule, CGI funny animals are hot-burning nightmare fuel. Rocket is the rare exception.
So, of course, it was a hugely beloved comic and is still runnin-
NOPE. The original series got canned barely two years into its run, in 2010.
To be fair, it wasn’t because of the fan base. The book, written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, was actually one of Marvel’s cult successes and many in the company’s infrastructure actually loved the book. But Marvel, at the time, was struggling to figure out where to go next, and it was also clearing house in the wake of getting bought out by Disney in 2009. And after the book’s first two issues sold out, the numbers began declining.
So why do fans even remember it?
The team has friends in high places. Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes had an entire episode that was basically Abnett and Lanning being allowed to do whatever they wanted with Marvel’s toys, and also had an episode of Ultimate Spider-Man all to themselves. Both episodes did well and were highly rated, and it also helped that Marvel had a promising film draft going.
Adding to the appeal is, for comics nerds, the nostalgia factor. The characters themselves all have rich histories in the Marvel Universe: They first were introduced during Marvel’s golden era of the ’70s, with Groot actually predating the modern Marvel Universe. There is little that can get a Marvel zombie going like being able to reminisce about Marvel’s ’70s comics.
Can I find the comic online? And should I?
Yes to both. In fact, by a complete and total coincidence, Comixology has the first volume on sale for $4.
You probably won’t need it to enjoy the movie, but then again, it’s worth reading on its own anyway. Keep coming back; we’ll have more about the movie building up to its release.