From 1969 to 1996, they guarded the galaxy. During that time, they did it all, time travel, evil twins, epic losses and victories and high adventure. They travelled to the past, lived in the far future and kicked ass in both. They met everyone from Spider-Man to Adam Warlock, from Quasar to the Thing. They helped the Fantastic Four, worked with the Defenders and at one point joined the Avengers. Their enemies ranged from the Stark to the Badoon, from Dr Doom to Galactus and at one point, the devil himself. They were the Guardians of the Galaxy.
The great advantage they had, by not having their own title for much of their early years, was that they were passed around from creative team to creative team and were worked on by some of the best around.
They were written first by Arnold Drake, but were also written by Chris Claremont, Gerry Conway, Tom DeFalco, Michael Gallagher, Steve Gerber, Mark Gruenwald, Len Kaminski, Ralph Macchio, Ron Marx, David Michelinie, Jim Shooter and Jim Valentino.
Drawn first by the excellent Gene Colan, but he was followed by pencillers Jerry Bingham, Sal Buscema, John Byrne, Howard Chaykin, Colleen Doran, Dale Eaglesham, Don Heck, Ron Lim, Bob McLeod, Al Milgrom, the legend that is George Perez, Mark Texeira, Herb Trimpe, Jim Valentino, Mike Vosburg and Kevin West.
There were from where I sit 5 distinct eras for the Guardians.
1969-1975: The guest star years, their first appearance, the war with the Badoon and adventures with the Defenders.
1976:-1977: The solo adventures, their post war years with strange adventures and a new member or two.
1977-1980: The second guest era, including both the Korvac Saga and and the point where the Guardians’ timeline diverged from the 616 timeline.
1990-1992: The Valentino years, where the team came into their own and had their own adventures in their own really entertaining title.
1992-1995: The post Valentino years, where Michael Gallagher and Kevin West blazed their own trail taking the series to it’s conclusion.
My favourite will always be the Jim Valentino era, he brought me into the series and it stills hold up. The other eras have their high points and all of them are worth having a look. In a time when the only Guardians of the Galaxy anyone remembers include a talking tree and a ill tempered raccoon, I wanted to fly the flag for the first team:
Captain Charlie-27: Last of the soldiers of Jupiter.
Martinex T’Naga: Last of the scientists of Pluto
Nicolette Gold: Young survivor of Mercury.
Yondu Udonta: Last warrior of Alpha Centauri
Aleta Ogord: Lady of Light
Starhawk: One who knows
Vance Astro: Survivor of the 20th Century.
These guys guarded the galaxy and they did it with style.
They guarded the galaxy. They entertained and inspired me, check them out, back issues or the recent reboot Guardians 3000.
Now, in case it wasn’t apparent, the Guardians of the Galaxy and all associated characters are trademarks of Marvel Entertainment and all rights are reserved to them. No infringement is meant and this blog is simply my way of thanking Marvel for all the entertainment they have given me and so many others.
Before I go I want to say a thankyou to Al Sedano, who’s podcast about Adam Warlock, (which I mentioned in an earlier post about Podcasts, the link’ll be there) inspired me to start doing this. He deserves plenty of credit, or blame, maybe it’s blame. The person I have to thank most is my most excellent wife Rosie, without her support and encouragement, many things, including this blog, would not happen. She is my north star, when I see her, I always know where home is. Also a bit of shout out to my son Sam, for being awesome and the greater online fan/podcasting communities, keeping the flame alive for so many things we loved once and loved still.