Comics and Film – Guardians of the Galaxy, a LitFlix

There’s a lot that could be said about Guardians of the Galaxy. About how it’s great. About how it has great relationships. About how it lived up to expectations. About how it has great music. About all the great characters. Luckily, as the links show, we’ve already written about these things, to one extent or another.

Cover to Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 1

We’re putting the band back together!

So this is my LitFlix of Guardians of the Galaxy: my comparison of the film to the comics that it comes from. In particular, this group of Guardians of the Galaxy came together in the 2008-2010 run of the comic, and I read all 25 issues before seeing the film. I read the Marvel prequel comic, too, but those were short: an intro to Nebula and Gamora, and an intro to Groot and Rocket. Then a bunch of the first appearance comics for these different characters.

But they came together pretty recently. And ended up part of a lot of crossover comics. I figured there probably wouldn’t be much at all from the comics in the movie. So call me surprised to find just how many little tidbits from the comics ended up in the film! I’ll be looking at a few things that made the cut, from comics to movie, and then a few things that didn’t – spoilers to come, for Guardians of the Galaxy!



They woke Knowhere up a bit...

They woke Knowhere up a bit…

As things got going in the movie, and the team pulled together, I was really not expecting them to end up in their headquarters from the comics: Knowhere, the head of a dead Celestial, with a whole lot of different aliens living inside. So little did I expect that they would be cruising on in there to see The Collector.

I think one reason to include this, other than as a homage to the comics, is that it introduces the Celestials at all. They included another image of Celestials: one using the Infinity Stone, in The Collector’s explanation of these stones. Will they come back up in the movies? Maybe! The door has been opened!

The Cosmic Cube / Infinity Stone



Speaking of the Infinity Stone… while it’s not quite the same, the scene of Starlord using the Infinity Stone is very reminiscent of him having and using a Cosmic Cube in the comics. I can appreciate them wanting to keep it to one set of ridiculously overpowered cosmic power devices for the movies. Indeed, the Tesseract seems to serve the purpose of being both of these sorts of artifacts at once.

Nonetheless, in the comics Starlord ends up with a Cosmic Cube, and he uses it when they’re really in a pinch – not unlike using the Infinity Stone in the movie to stop Ronan.

Cosmo the Space Dog

Cosmo the Space Dog... and friends!

Cosmo the Space Dog… and friends!

Of all of the various characters who graced the pages of Guardians of the Galaxy – and there were a lot – one I would not have expected to see in the film was Cosmo. A Soviet space dog – not unlike the one seen in The Manhattan Projects – who ended up with high-powered Telepathy and intelligence.

In the comics, he runs Knowhere’s security, and kicks a lot of ass, and takes many names. In the movie, he’s just a dog in a space suit in a cage at The Collector’s place. Could he be more than that? Sure, but he didn’t need to be in the movie. honestly, fitting in the talking animal that is Howard the Duck was quite a lot from The Collector’s menagerie…

Showing us the Characters through Heads-Up-Display Screens

Very different situations, perhaps, but the characters in both are introduced to us through screens with pop-up displays. In the movie, it’s the scene from the trailer: arrested, and being reviewed by the authorities. In the comics, it’s after-action reports that they do, which they then sprinkle throughout the comics for expositional or comedic effect.

After Action Reports

I was amazed how long they kept this going in the comics: all the way through the 25-comic run. I thought for sure it would end after people were introduced, or maybe especially once they all got upset at Starlord…

Starlord and the Ends vs. the Means

Some of Starlord’s character is that he is more focused on the ends than the means. Even right at the end of the film, asking if they’d like to do something good, something bad, or a little of both. Both, of course. Heists, for justice.

In the comics, it comes out that Starlord has the team Telepath influence everyone’s minds into joining the team. It’s a good result, it pays off and they save the Galaxy, but it also makes the entire team upset once they know about it. Not something that happens in the film, but the character still thinks the same way.

All The Aliens!

And I guess if I’m going with vaguer connections, like the one above about Starlord’s character, then I should add that many of the major aliens we see in the film are also in the pages of the comic. The Kree, and especially their main Accuser, Ronan himself. The Centauri, and their Living Arrows. The Necro-guys, though they are creations of the Badoon in the comics, not of the Kree.


Cover to Guardians of the Galaxy #25

Cover to Guardians of the Galaxy #25

There were all of these aliens and more in the movie, and in the comics. In both cases, it felt like they had a solid science-fiction title, and needed to cram as much in as possible. Who knows which, of any, of the aliens from the film will return. Especially, they had a chance to set up the Kree as experimenting on humans – paving the way for characters like Captain Marvel, or even for tie-ins like Agents of SHIELD and their dead blue alien. So we’ll see where they go with this!


Missing Half the Cast!

Lots more Guardians!

Lots more Guardians!

While yes, the 2008-2010 Guardians of the Galaxy comics included all of the characters from the film, they were by no means all of the Guardians of the Galaxy. In fact, not really half. And, when everyone gets upset at Starlord for manipulating them, they bring in even more people, who then don’t leave when the team comes back together.

I could go through each and every one, but eh. They’re aliens and bottom-rung unknown heroes. There’s only one I feel like should have an extra mention.

Lost Opportunity – Adam Warlock

Okay, he’s a ridiculous character. He’s a wizard. Well, warlock. And as I’ve said before, it’s unlikely we’ll see a Marvel movie with magic, right? Oh, wait, Doctor Strange is going to happen. And Scarlet Witch is going to be in Age of Ultron. So magic is going to be a thing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe…

In the comics, it’s Starlord and Adam Warlock who pull the Guardians of the Galaxy together. It’s Adam Warlock who’s figured out there’s a galactic level threat to deal with, who provides our plot impetus. Heck, in the Infinity Gauntlet, it’s Adam Warlock who pulls the heroes of Earth together to fight Thanos.

There he is, leading the charge in the Infinity Gauntlet - the storyline everyone is guessing will be Avengers 3!

There he is, leading the charge in the Infinity Gauntlet – the storyline everyone is guessing will be Avengers 3!

So not including him seems like a really lost opportunity, despite the fact that his main purpose in the comics seems to be plot impetus. He’s just that guy. But he could have been introducing us to magic, pulling the Guardians together as a team, bridging these storylines. But he wasn’t there at all.

The Original – and Future – Guardians of the Galaxy

The original Guardians of the Galaxy! You can see Yondu there with his mohawk.

The original Guardians of the Galaxy! You can see Yondu there with his mohawk.

Apparently the original team to carry the name Guardians of the Galaxy was from the 30th Century. They’re future heroes, and fight future problems. The whole science fiction setting must make even more sense then. They’re kind of ridiculous looking, but then, so are the more “contemporary” team…

I didn’t know this team until I found them, after reading the newer version. Once I saw them, I went, “oh, them!” Because they had appearances throughout the newer comics, thanks to time travel. They are the voice of doom, that something horribly wrong is going to happen (it’s Thanos! Surprising no one).

There’s one nod to this team, however. In the movie, Yondu, the Centauri – he’s a member of the future Guardians of the Galaxy. Well, not in the movie, but the character is straight from the comics. It’s an interesting reference, obscure even for an obscure reference filled movie like this.

More about the Characters

There’s more to the characters they did include, too. Things like Drax being an agent of life, as opposed to death – something for which he occasionally gets deep.

Drax gets Deep

Or there’s Groot being a well-educated king.

King Groot

But, like all the rest of these differences, I think the movie is just fine without them. In fact, the movie would be good without the similarities, too. This movie is based on comics with some of the least history or backstory. This isn’t Captain America with history going back to the 40s, this is a comic from a few years ago. And really, this exact team lineup only just got together in the last year or so in the comics – once they were already producing this movie.

They kept the movie good by not bothering to work from the comics, from doing what they needed it to do – introduce space, the characters, pull a team together, get a win. The real significance of this movie for their overarching plans won’t come clear for years to come, until we really get Thanos again.

How about you – do you feel like you were missing something, a reference or information, that you thought was in the comics? Let me know in the comments below!


20 responses to “Comics and Film – Guardians of the Galaxy, a LitFlix

  1. Great article! The movie made me want to read some Guardians of the Galaxy, and your Litfix details clinched it! Thanks.

    And I got really excited when the Collector had a video of a *Celestial* using the stone. The visual designs on the Celestials are always great, and I’ve loved seeing them in the past, in the Eternal stories, or the weird SHIELD comics, in Fantastic Four (when Reed was hanging out with the Legion of Super Reeds), and in Earth X.

    I’m also hoping we see them in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at some point.


    • I think reading the comics I especially was paying attention to the characters I knew were going to be in the movie… that said, I think they were all great. Starlord is Starlord, Gamora is badass (doing things like they’re reacting to above, half-sacrificing herself, only to heal with a healing factor), Drax waxes overpowered, Groot is Groot (and a genius?), and Rocket really is the tactical genius.

      I kind of want to get Rocket and Cap working together… I am hoping the films make this happen!

      I did also read some of the comics related to the series, in terms of the crossover event it passed through – the War of Kings in particular. Lots more cosmic characters there…

      I read everything through Marvel Unlimited, which is a great subscription service for reading “older” comics (they have 6-months old and older), and which made it easy to browse out, find the crossover comics, read them, and move on.

      The crossovers, like most of the aspects of the plot from the comics, did not appear in this film.

      Anyway. These comics seemed like a small part of a larger whole, which I guess the movie does as well. I’ve read a bit of the new run of Guardians of the Galaxy, by Brian Michael Bendis, and it’s pretty good – I’d like to read more! The core team there is the movie team, with friends!


  2. I have to see this now and I will! 🙂 Thanks for your film advice as always


  3. I was lured here by the pingback and only had time to scan, but will definitely return and read later 🙂

    That Infinity Gauntlet image made me think of this:

    I have the originals of the whole Infinity Gauntlet and the follow-up thing they did, and MANY but not all of the crossover issues. It’s like half of my small-but-high-quality early 90s comics collection, which is about 400 issues I bought over 2.5 years, most of them read once, bagged, and stored in a dark, climate-controlled closet for the last 20 years.

    That collection includes early War Machine appearances, a What If? in which the Avengers fight Galactus instead of the Fantastic 4, and a Todd McFarlane series in which Wolverine and Spiderman team up to track a serial killer in the Pacific Northwest.

    Tell me that isn’t cool. I’m thinking I should review some of it eventually.


    • I think that would be fun to review, for sure! I was reading a lot of comics in the early 90s, too. Some good stuff then. And yeah, plenty of comics in the protective sleeves and tucked away – back when the belief that those were gold!

      My favorite crossover was the Spirits of Venom series, where Spider-Man, Venom, and Ghost Rider crossed over. So good.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing all of these great details from the comics. I loved the movie, but I hadn’t had an opportunity to read any of the background material before going in. Looking forward to spending some time on your site!


    • Thanks for stopping by! We do plenty of stuff centered around comics. We also have an ongoing series called LitFlix (of which this is a part!) where we compare the movie and the source material. We try to avoid approaching things from a “the book is better!” attitude, instead thinking of some of the realities of trying to translate for the screen!

      In which case… they definitely used the fact that this is an unknown group to their advantage. They barely touched the source material, and it did not suffer because of it. They made a good movie instead!


  5. I could be wrong but I’m pretty sure I spotted Adam Warlock’s cocoon in the stinger scene with the Collector and Howard. Could be a hint that he’ll show up next time?


    • Maybe – there was entirely too much stuff in The Collector’s place. There could be anything. I imagine it’ll be like the Easter Egg of the full Infinity Gauntlet in the Asgardian Vault in Thor – anything could be in there, and who knows what it means!!!

      Seeing it a second time, I tried to watch for specific things in there. Other than the obvious, I mostly just noticed that they show Howard the Duck earlier in the movie, when they first visit The Collector!


  6. They went pretty heavily toward “aliens with weird magic-like technology” for Thor, especially in Thor 2, so I’m not sure what we’ll actually get with characters like Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange…


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  10. I was looking for some fanarts of Thanos and accidentaly found this site… I must say it is awesome and i’ve learned a lot of things about marvel world… I’m from Mexico, and its difficult to me (at least) to find comics and articles like this, so… Thank you, you’re doing it Great!! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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