So most of you likely saw the news from Marvel about the new Guardians of the Galaxy team. It’s a picture with 11 characters on it but only 6 of them will end up being the actual team that makes up the new Guardians.
So who’s in the picture? From the looks of it, it consists of Star-Lord, Cosmic Ghost Rider, Nova, Moondragon, Silver Surfer, Groot, Beta Ray Bill, Adam Warlock, Darkhawk, Phyla-Vell and Gladiator.
Let’s dive into all these characters to explore their first and notable appearances to prepare for what’s to come.
Because we all know, once we get the final 6 team members, collectors will be seeking these first appearances and key books out.
It’s likely a given that Star-Lord will still be the leader. Unless Cates pulls a Cates and kills him off or does something crazy, I’m just going to assume that Star-Lord is already in the club.
But let’s revisit Star-Lord’s first appearance anyways for those not familiar.
First created by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan, he first appeared in Marvel Preview #4 (January 1976) which was a black and white magazine publication. Surprisingly for a popular character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s still in the affordable price range for most collectors.
Steve Englehart actually claimed to have big plans for Star-Lord but sadly left before any of those plans were carried out by him. Although Star-Lord was sort of sporadic over the years with other appearances until he became more prominent in the mid-2000s, Marvel has claimed that all his early appearances in Marvel Preview, Marvel Spotlight and Marvel Premier along with Marvel Super Special were all based in an alternate universe.
Marvel Spotlight #6 was Star-Lords first appearance in normal comic book format which is still a pretty affordable comic book for most collectors.
Cosmic Ghost Rider
It was 10 months ago we were introduced to this new guy named Cosmic Ghost Rider who first appeared in Thanos #13 after Donny Cates took over writing duties from Jeff Lemire.
It was later revealed that the hidden identity of Cosmic Ghost Rider is actually Frank Castle of Earth-TRN666. The original Frank Castle first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #129, which sadly is out of reach for most collectors budgets. It’s certainly an issue that one must save up to acquire.
I don’t know about the rest of you readers but Marvel really confused me with all their different Universes and timelines. It’s both interesting and annoying at the same time. Regardless though, Cosmic Ghost Rider became a reader and fan favorite quickly. I think he has a likely chance of making the team since he’s Donny Cates newly popular character that’s even had his own spin-off series already.
The current Nova is Sam Alexander, who made his first appearance in Marvel Point One #1 back in November 2011.
The original Nova was Richard Rider who actually created in 1966 by writer Marv Wolfman in issue #3 of his fanzine Super Adventures. Originally called “The Star”, this original Nova was an alien doctor who took pills found on a spaceship that changed his super powers every 5 minutes. Cheesy right?
Wolfman decided to redo the character when he debuted for Marvel comics in A Man Called Nova #1. I can only imagine Nova would not have taken off into the more popular character we know of today if Wolfman didn’t come up with a new origin story.
If Nova makes the cut for the new Guardians, I can only imagine it’s Sam Alexander unless of course a new Nova emerges with a new first appearance. I think Nova has a good chance makes the team as he’s closely affiliated to the Guardians being a part of the Nova Corps.
Either way, his first appearances I’d say are in just about any collectors budget. These do not command too much from one’s bank account.
Moondragon made her first appearance in Invincible Iron Man #54 as Madam MacEvil and then as Moondragon in Daredevil #105 which was more of an origin story. Both of these are still pretty affordable and within reach for most collectors budgets.
There’s a good chance that Moondragon’s first appearance in Iron Man #54 was and has been dwarfed by Iron Man #55 which is a key book on most collectors wish list since it is the first for both Thanos and Drax respectively.
She has been affiliated with many teams that include the Defenders, Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. She has a pretty close relationship with Drax, which her father’s soul after he was killed was bound to Drax the Destroyer.
Moondragon is a powerful telepath, a master of martial arts and telekinetic. With a complicated and twisted past, she’s had her fair share of encounters with Thanos and would probably make a great team member for the new Guardians of the Galaxy if she were to make the cut.
One of my personal all time favorite Marvel characters who really needs no introduction, unless you’ve been living on another planet since 1966.
The master comic book creator Jack Kirby is the mastermind behind the Silver Surfer who made his first appearance alongside Galactus in Fantastic Four #48. A very key book that most collectors would want in their personal collection.
Silver Surfer has not only been affiliated with many teams over the years but is also the original cosmic rider. You hear that Donny Cates, the original cosmic rider, don’t mess him up please and do him justice. I like Cosmic Ghost Rider but Silver Surfer is still the original Cosmic Bad Ass!
I’m not sure how he would fit in with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Silver Surfer really comes off as a loner and doesn’t need to be part of a team, particularly a team that travels by space ship since Silver Surfer needs only his board as he is empowered by the Power Cosmic just like Galactus, which gives him superhuman speed, strength and durability. He also possesses matter and energy manipulation, energy projection and absorption, with illusion casting and overall cosmic senses.
His first stand alone series is also sought out by most collectors as issue #1 is one of many key books for this character.
We’ll just have to forget that whole Dan Slott run as the writer on Silver Surfer. Perhaps that all happened in another universe and wasn’t the real Silver Surfer. Perhaps we can just ask Marvel to delete Dan Slott’s entire run since he almost ruined Silver Surfer.
Groot is probably one of my favorite characters on the Guardians of the Galaxy team so I hope he sticks around on the team.
Groot has evolved over the years. He use to actually have a bigger vocabulary (to my knowledge, someone correct me if I’m wrong) with more than just “I am Groot” but his origins were updated to change that fact that his species Flora colossus are hard to understand so everything comes out as “I am Groot” when they speak.
Groot’s first appearance was in Tales to Astonish #13, which is a really key book and out of reach for most collectors, likely due to limited quantity rather than it’s his first appearance. But we all know that limited quantity or availability plus demand equals price value.
Groot is Dutch for “large”. He is after all, a tree. Originally he came from Planet X to capture and study humans. Ultimately he was destroyed by termites but Groot has died numerous times, only to be recreated by planting a sprig from whatever is leftover of his body.
Beta Ray Bill
Beta Ray Bill is likely the one character I do not know that much about myself. He made his debut first appearance in The Mighty Thor #337 which is a really affordable book.
So if he makes the team moving forward, we could see some heat on this one if he sticks around and stays prominent in the Guardians of the Galaxy universe.
Beta Ray Bill was created by Walt Simonson and was an alien of the Korbinite race originating from the Burning Galaxy.
He was also the first being outside of the Norse pantheon worthy enough to wield Mjolnir.
Adam Warlock was originally introduced in Fantastic Four #66 as Him. He also made a brief appearance in issue #67 as well. He also appeared in Thor #165 as Him with another appearance in issue #166.
There’s been long debate of what his true first appearance actually is since it was so brief in the Fantastic Four issues.
It wasn’t until Marvel Premiere #1 that his character was revamped and given the identity of Adam Warlock. All are significant but does it really matter which is the true first appearance? The market ultimately decides which one ends up being the most collectible and valuable.
Warlock played a significant role in the Infinity Gauntlet and other Infinity related story lines and plots. He’s got a deep history in the Marvel Universe so it would be no surprise if he makes the new team.
A fun fact is that Adam Warlock can be killed in physical form, he truly never dies though since Death cannot claim his soul.
Unlike a bunch of the characters mentioned, Darkhawk’s first appearance was actually his own stand alone title called Darkhawk that actually lasted 50 issues from 1991 to 1995. After his stand alone title, he spent some time appearing in some of the New Warriors ongoing series.
Darkhawk is Christopher Powell. Other than New Warriors appearances, he also appeared briefly with the Avengers/JLA and Iron Man before making another appearance in Runaways Vol. 2 issues 1 through 6.
I have this feeling Darkhawk isn’ going to make the cut. If he doesn’t, at least he’s still got one thing going for himself though in that how many Marvel characters in this list can claim they had a 50 issue self title run? As popular as some of the characters have become, I think Silver Surfer is the only other character that’s had many self titled runs as most others were supporting cast or part of a team.
This is one of the newest characters out of this list. Phyla-Vell made their first appearance in Captain Marvel #16 from 2004.
She has a pretty short history being fairly new in the Marvel Universe but at one point did profess her attraction to Moondragon in issue #25 of Captain Marvel.
So for all you into some girl on girl action, there’s a slight chance Donny Cates will get these two to hook up if they both make the team and he’s been doing his homework. Sadly, this seems like a good character to kill off since I doubt most will care. For the most part, I find this character the least interesting thus far.
She did briefly try to lay claim to the Captain Marvel title. It didn’t last long.
The Gladiator made his first appearance in X-Men #107 and was created by Chris Claremont.
Since then he made numerous appearances in Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer and the New Warriors.
He was created as a homage to DC’s Legion of Superheroes. His actual name of Kallark is based off Supermans Kryptonian and Human name. Kal-El and Clark Kent.
He had an origin story revealed in War of Kings: Warriors #1 (2009)
Donny Cates has been superb in digging up past story lines and characters, creating dollar bin books into hot spec books. Maybe we’ll get some rewrites with this character and the others. But until then, we can just speculate and prepare with the information we have so far.
I tried to keep this brief but informative. If I’ve made any mistakes, please do let me know. Hope you all enjoyed this spotlight on the characters we know all have a chance at becoming part of the new Guardians of the Galaxy that is coming soon to a local comic shop.
Edit: I accidentally typed Guardian and then proceeded to run with that character not realizing this until it was pointed out. So the Guardian section was redacted and I included the information for the actual character Gladiator depicted in the Marvel image that was released.