With Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" rocketing into theaters this weekend, now's the perfect time to get acquainted with the five lovable scoundrels at the forefront of the action-packed feature film! These five characters might not have as high of a profile right now as some of their Marvelous peers, but they've actually been causing mischief in the Marvel Universe for almost as long as characters like Iron Man and the rest of the Avengers! With their long histories spanning over half a dozen comic book series stretched out across a few decades, we're providing you with a handy guide to each character's debut appearance and origin stories! Let's start with the oldest one of the bunch.
First Appearance: TALES TO ASTONISH (1959) #13
Yep, the monosyllabic tree creature actually predates the modern Marvel Universe by about a year! His first appearance in late 1960 as a generic monster in the TALES TO ASTONISH anthology series might not have initially been part of the Marvel mythos, but Groot got grandfathered in with a 1976 issue of INCREDIBLE HULK ANNUAL. We still don’t know Groot's origin, but seeing as how he just became a regular player a few years ago in 2006's NICK FURY'S HOWLING COMMANDOS, we're willing to wait a little while longer.
Drax initially debuted in an issue of Iron Man as a force of nature with a bone to pick with the madman named Thanos. His character didn't get properly fleshed out with a real origin story until a few years later when readers learned of Drax's history as a human named Arthur Douglas. After his family seemingly perished at the hands of Thanos, the purple one's papa molded Douglas into the fighting machine called Drax the Destroyer!
The deadly warrior known as Gamora made her debut as a mysterious figure lurking in the shadows of a tavern on a faraway alien world. Her mission: assassinate the intergalactic hero Adam Warlock. Gamora ended up fighting alongside her target against the much bigger threat--Magus! While trapped by Magus' forces, Thanos recounted how he adopted Gamora after the destruction of her entire race and molded the young girl into the deadliest woman in the galaxy.
Peter Quill first appeared as a pulp-style hero in the black and white pages of Marvel's oversized magazine, MARVEL PREVIEW. His adventures in outer space had little to no connection to the main Marvel Universe, which eventually allowed for the solo hero to fall into disuse for much of the 1980s and 1990s. Quill returned with a smirk on his face and tech on his eye as a Kyln prisoner in THANOS #8. From there, the hero's origin as the child of literally star-crossed lovers got an update in the current GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY series.
Another MARVEL PREVIEW character, Rocket didn't make his proper Marvel Universe debut until he teamed-up with the INCREDIBLE HULK on a mission to save his homeworld in the Keystone Quadrant. Rocket's original origin debuted in the pages of the ROCKET RACCOON limited series, but recent events have called most of that story into question. While much of the truth surrounding Rocket's history has been revealed, there's still one mystery that needs to be solved: is Rocket truly one of a kind?
Catch Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" now in theaters!