a KC COLUMN by KC Carlson
“Eagerly Awaited” is a film publicist cliche that’s especially apt for the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 (release date in the US: May 7, 2017). Film trailers and teasers have been available for a bit, and the buzz that’s been generated by them has been incredible. (Much of it being: “Awwww… Baby Groot!”) I, for one, cannot wait — not just for this film but a number of other upcoming movies this summer (such as Wonder Woman and Spider-Man Homecoming, to name just two). Looks like much of my summer will be spent in the dark! (Or, at least, more so than usual.)
As always, there will be a lot of merchandise that ties into the film — including a number of books specifically about the Guardians’ comic book adventures. Two new ones are in stores this week (as well as available through Westfield) and are worth checking out:
Guardians of the Galaxy: Creating Marvel’s Spacefaring Super Heroes: The Complete Comics History by Mark Sumerak (hardcover, 184 pages)
This is a huge book (physically, at 11” x 14” and almost 200 pages) published by Insight Editions that captures the history of the various Guardians of the Galaxy comic books published by Marvel Comics. They actually date back to the very first (and oft-forgotten) Guardians team, which debuted waaaaaay back in 1969 in the pages of Marvel Super-Heroes #18. It was written by Arnold Drake and illustrated by Gene “The Dean” Colan.
Colan was a Marvel mainstay by then, having drawn Sub-Mariner and Iron Man (under the pseudonym “Adam Austin”). Later, under his own name, Colan became known for fantastic runs on Daredevil, Captain America, Dr. Strange, The Tomb of Dracula, and Howard the Duck, to name just a few. After a falling out with Marvel in the 1980s, he went to DC Comics, where he primarily illustrated Batman, as well as a number of moody, esoteric features like Night Force and Nathaniel Dusk. Much of Colan’s best (and least seen/seldom collected) was his work for DC’s classic romance titles of the 1950s and 60s.
Arnold Drake, on the other hand, was just starting his career at Marvel after being unceremoniously fired by DC (after decades of service) because he (and others) tried to unionize comic creators. Drake’s best-known DC work includes co-creating Doom Patrol and Deadman. I also loved his humor work, which includes DC’s Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis comics, as well as his creation Stanley and his Monster (mostly published in The Fox and the Crow).
Unfortunately those two guys probably won’t be participating much in this book, since they both passed on to that big galaxy in the sky a while back.
Anyway, we were talking about Guardians of the Galaxy before (ahem!) I went off on a tangent. This new book by Mark Sumerak (a former Marvel Comics editor) interviewed many creators who told Guardians of the Galaxy stories over the decades — including Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Al Milgrom, Valerio Schiti, and Scottie Young. (I especially enjoyed the several pages devoted to Scottie Young’s artwork — because I love my Guardians as whimsical as possible!)
Guardians of the Galaxy: Creating Marvel’s Spacefaring Super Heroes: The Complete Comics History is very much a deluxe art book, with hundreds of fantastic reproductions of classic and breathtaking GotG artwork pulled from throughout their long publishing history. It’s a really cool book, of which the only real downside being is that there is no index. Also, it may be tough finding a bookshelf large enough to accommodate it.
MORE GUARDIANS… MORE GUARDIANS… MORE GUARDIANS…
Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy: The Ultimate Guide to the Cosmic Outlaws (hardcover, 200 pages) is more of a encyclopedic look at the various GotG characters, planets, weapons, friends, foes, and events. Since one of the things that publisher DK does best is these kind of books, it may be all you ever need to unravel the lightly twisted history of the various Guardians of the Galaxy teams. I know my mind was slightly blown by the four-page timeline of the series that opens this book, before diving into deep background on the original 1960s/70s/80s series.
It’s worth mentioning up front that this book is all about the comic book history of GotG — absolutely no movie or animated stuff. Most of the material is organized under these categories: Key Comic, Key Character, Key Theme, Characters, and Key Storyline. Fans of the original Guardians will be pleased to know that the modern team doesn’t even appear in the book until around page 90. (Technically, characters like Rocket Raccoon, Groot, and Star-Lord aren’t exactly “modern”, although the current versions are vastly different from their original interpretations. Marvel history is most certainly more fluid than firm.) This book’s smaller format (9.3” x 11”) is more conducive to quick flipping.
This isn’t a highly detailed, densely packed (and boring) encyclopedia. Think of it as a massive collection of factoids, all organized and curated by author Nick Jones. As with all DK comics publications, this is stuffed with great illustrations (by hundreds of artists, past and present), yet doesn’t scrimp on factual details. Just don’t expect dense entries of the likes of Marvel’s classic Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Me, I love both formats of information — but when I’m trying to find something quick, I usually turn to DK books.
The humorously informational Forward is by Dan Abnett, the writer of the 2008 GotG series that the films are mostly based on. So he knows what he’s talking about when he says “As Groot might say, ‘I am Groot.’ And I think you know exactly what I mean.” Wait… What?…
BONUS GUARDIANS (older) STUFF:
Because I was really bored when I woke up at 5:30 this morning, here’s a handy guide to all the modern Guardians of the Galaxy material available (or not) in the wonderful (yet foot-crunching) Omnibus format, all published by Marvel Comics:
by too many creators to list!
Collects: Incredible Hulk (1968) 271; Incredible Hulk Annual 5; Iron Man (1968) 55; Captain Marvel (1968) 27-33, 43-44, 58-62; Strange Tales (1951) 180-181; Warlock (1972) 9-11, 15; Avengers (1963) 219-220; Avengers Annual 7; Marvel Two-in-One Annual 2; Marvel Preview 11; Marvel Spotlight (1979) 1-2, 6-7; Marvel Premiere 61; Rocket Raccoon (1985) 1-4; Star-Lord Special Edition & more!
hardcover 1,122 pages 7.6” x 2.2” x 11.2”
Guardians of the Galaxy by Abnett & Lanning Ominbus
by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Paul Pelletier, Brad Walker and others
Collects: Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) 1-25; Thanos Imperative: Ignition 1 1-6, Devastation 1; material from Annihilators 1-4; material from Annihilators: Earthfall 1-4
hardcover 936 pages 7.5” x 1.8” x 11.2”
by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Keith Giffen, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Simon Furman, Christos N. Gage, Stuart Moore, Mitch Breitweiser, Scott Kollins, Kev Walker, Jorge Lucas, Andrea DiVito, Mike McKone and many others.
Collects: Drax the Destroyer 1-4; Annihilation: Prologue; Annihilation: Nova 1-4; Annihilation: Silver Surfer 1-4; Annihilation: Super-Skrull 1-4; Annihilation: Ronan 1-4; Annihilation 1-6; Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus 1-2; Annihilation: Nova Corps Files
hardcover 880 pages 7.6” x 1.6” x 11.2”
(It appears that this volume is currently out of print, but it may still be available in comic shops and bookstores.)
by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Keith Giffen, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Christos N. Gage, Sean Chen, Mike Perkins, Paul Pelletier, Tom Raney, and others.
Collects: Nova (2007) 1-12, Annual 1; Annihilation: Conquest Prologue 1; Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord 1-4; Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar 1-4; Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith 1-4; Annihilation: Conquest 1-6; Annihilation Saga
hardcover 872 pages 7.5” x 1.8” x 11.2”
War of Kings Prelude: Road to War of Kings Omnibus
by David Hine, Ed Brubaker, Joe Pokaski, Dan Abnett, Roy Allan Martinez, Trevor Hairsine, Peter Woods, Frazer Irving
Collects: Son of M 1-6; X-Men: Deadly Genesis 1-6; Silent War 1-6; Secret Invasion: Inhumans 1-4; Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) 1-12; Nova 13-22; Nova: The Origin of Richard Rider; War of Kings Saga
by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Ed Brubaker, Chris Yost, Billy Tan, Clayton Henry, Paco Diaz, and Paul Pelletier
Collects: Uncanny X-Men 475-486; X-Men: Emperor Vulcan 1-5; Secret Invasion: War of Kings; X-Men: Kingbreaker 1-4; War of Kings: Darkhawk 1-2; War of Kings: Warriors 1-2; War of Kings 1-6; War of Kings: Ascension 1-4; War of Kings: Savage World of Sakaar; Nova 23-28; Guardians of the Galaxy 13-19; War of Kings: Who Will Rule?; Marvel Spotlight: War of Kings
hardcover 1,304 pages 7.5” x 2.2” x 11.2”
by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Scott Reed, Leonardo Manco, Pablo Raimondi, Wellington Alves, Kev Walker, Miguel Munera
Collects: Realm of Kings 1; Realm of Kings: Inhumans 1-5; Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard 1-5; Realm of Kings: Son of Hulk 1-4; Nova (2007) 29-36; Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) 20-25; Thanos Imperative 1-6, Ignition, Devastation; Annihilators 1-4; Annihilators: Earthfall 1-4; Thanos Sourcebook; material from I Am an Avenger 3
hardcover 1,248 pages 7.5” x 2.2” x 11.2”
by Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley, Steve McNiven, Sara Pichelli, Francesco Francavilla, Kevin Maguire, Nick Bradshaw, Ed McGuinness and others.
Collects: Avengers Assemble 1-8; Guardians of the Galaxy 0.1, 1-27; Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 1; Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorrow’s Avengers 1; All-New X-Men 22-24; Free Comic Book Day 2014 (Guardians of the Galaxy) 1; Guardians of Knowhere 1-4; Guardians Team-Up #1-2; and material from Free Comic Book Day 2014 (Guardians of the Galaxy) #1
hardcover 1,168 pages 7.5” x 2” x 11.1”
Don’t forget to support your local comic book shop! And if you don’t see it… ASK FOR IT!
AND ONE MORE DK THING…
Also out this week is the updated version of DK’s Marvel Year by Year: A Visual History — a capsulized publishing history of Marvel Comics. The last version of this book was published in 2013 (at the beginning of Marvel NOW!), and this new version of the book adds the subsequent years up to October 2016. (So, not totally up-to-date, but close, considering publishing deadlines.) A special bonus comes with the volume — two framable prints of the new covers by artist Dan Panosian. Everything else in the book is pretty much the same as before.
KC CARLSON can’t decide which is funniest, the various trailers for GotG2 or the just-released Thor: Ragnarok teaser. Or maybe they’re not that funny at all. Maybe it’s just me. (No, they’re really funny. Just wanted to head off the Marvel fans who always take everything too seriously. Shhh! Don’t tell them!)
WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. KC is not an employee of DK, although their names are remarkably similar. (No vowels…)