The movie took the box office by storm and the eponymous comic series by Brian Michael Bendis has been one of the better sellers for Marvel, but it hasn’t always been daisies for the Guardians. Plucked from relative obscurity, these characters had been floating around in Marvel space for quite some time but didn’t etch a particular place of their own, that is until the Annihilation mini-series provided a shot in the arm for Marvel cosmic. Spinning out of the resurgence for the space opera came the Abnett and Lanning Guardians of the Galaxy book which went on for 25 issues and was later re-launched by Bendis.
This team seems like something built on the Island of Misfit Toys as each character had origins in some other realm of Marvel only to be united as the rag tag cosmic team that took on baddies like Ronan and Thanos. Take a look at the origins of each of the modern Guardians, as we know them from the Marvel movie, as well as their main baddie from the hit film, Ronan.
The leader of the Guardians first appeared in the black and white magazine format book Marvel Preview #4 and was created by Steve Englehart. Originally, Englehart had a much more elaborate tale to weave with Peter Quill which never came to fruition. Most of his early adventures were only in the pages of Marvel Preview but were also done by the accomplished creative team of Chris Claremont and John Byrne, who would later have an influential run on Uncanny X-Men. Other than some one off stories in Marvel Super Special and Marvel Spotlight, Peter Quill was out of the spotlight until the Thanos series in 2004 and then later the story that brought together the modern Guardians of the Galaxy, Annihilation. Books in rougher condition might only cost around $50-$75 while anything in the Very Fine range or better will run at least $150-$175.
Rocket’s first actual appearance goes largely unnoticed because it was in the Marvel magazine Marvel Preview, same as Star-Lord. His first comic appearance was later in the more appreciated Incredible Hulk #271 which then piggy-backed to his own limited series, Rocket Raccoon in 1985. Created by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen, he was inspired by the Beatles’ song “Rocky Raccoon”. Rocket had a few appearances afterwards in Quasar, Sensational She-Hulk, and Exiles before prominence in Annihilation. Issues of Marvel Preview #7 in around Fine condition float around $150-$175, but something towards Very Fine might be closer to $300. His first comic appearance in <em>Incredible Hulk #271</em> is anywhere from $70-$100 for a book in at least decent condition.
The oldest of the Guardians, Groot was originally in a group of Marvel monsters that popped up from time to time in stories that played off of Marvel’s horror anthology catalog. Created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Dick Ayers, Groot originally was an extraterrestrial plant monster who came to Earth to study humans. He later appeared in the mini-series Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos and then again in Annihilation with the rest of the Guardians. Most of its value stems from the book being so old, but this one in decent shape will set you back around $800.
After her the rest of her species, the Zen Whoberi, is wiped out, Gamora is taken in by the Mad Titan Thanos and raised to assassinate the evil Magus. Thanos promised her the opportunity to avenge the killing of her people, which helped shaped her into the Most Dangerous Woman in the Universe. Gamora has sporadic appearances since her first appearance, mostly in anything related to the Infinity Gauntlet and its sequels Infinity War, Infinity Crusade, ad infinitum. Typical prices for Strange Tales #180 seem to be currently around $50-$75 with VF/NM books closer to $90.
Created by Mike Friedrich and Jim Starlin, Drax’s origin is weird and completely different from the movie version. Originally a human named Arthur Douglas who has his family killed by Thanos, his spirit is then placed into a new body, that of Drax the Destroyer, in order to better battle his long time enemy Thanos. His first appearance in Iron Man #55 is also the first appearance of Thanos and because of which makes this an extremely hot book. Anything that is in mediocre condition will cost you at least $300, and books that float more towards the Very Fine to Near Mint range will cost at least $750.
A member of the militaristic alien race the Kree, Ronan (the Accuser) was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. After a brief first appearance in Fantastic Four #65, Ronan would mostly surface during larger events such as the “Kree-Skrull War” in the Avengers and then later in the mediocre “Galactic Storm” and “Maximum Security” crossovers. He played a much larger part in the Annihilation, the progenitor of the modern Guardians team. Because this first appearance is slightly older, most finds will probably be in the Very Good to Fine range, of which are lately around $40-$65.
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