Millions of people became familiar with the Guardians of the Galaxy characters through the recent MCU movies directed by James Gunn. However fans of Marvel comics have been aware of Star Lord and his companions for many years.
In the MCU movies, we see the Guardians of the Galaxy team together with the Avengers to defeat Thanos in his quest to end half the life in the Universe.
Starlord, Groot, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Racoon and Mantis have a rich and varied history within the Marvel comic books which is well worth reading into.
But the current Guardians of the Galaxy team is not the first group of characters to fight the evils of the Universe under the name Guardians of the Galaxy.
The original Guardians of the Galaxy team was created in 1969 by Arnold Drake, Roy Thomas and Stan Lee.
The first GOTG comic was set in the year 3000 and was founded by Major Victory and Yondu Udonta in response to the Badoon invasion of the Alpha Centaurian system.
In 2008 Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning brought together a group of previously unrelated characters within the Annihilation: Conquest story arc.
This team included Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Phyla-Vell, Drax the Destroyer, and Adam Warlock.
In the Annihilation: Conquest story, the unlikely heroes must defend our Galaxy from Ultron and the Phalanx looking to assimilate all life into their cybernetic hive mind.
MCU Guardians of the Galaxy
The first Guardians of the Galaxy movie introduced the MCU to characters from a superhero team established in the GOTG comic book. The 2014 movie was the 10th in the MCU series produced by Marvel studios.
Directed by James Gunn using a screenplay written by Gunn and Nicole Perlman, the movie was an instant hit with Marvel fans and people who were not previously familiar with the comic book characters.
The movie revolves around the Quest for the Orb which brings together a team of intergalactic criminals and misfits.
When Groot, Rocket Racoon, Star Lord and Gamora are all imprisoned by Nova Corps they realise that they can work together to profit from the sale of the powerful artefact.
While escaping their imprisonment, they are Joined by Drax the Destroyer who has committed to get revenge on Ronan the Accuser who is seeking the power of the orb.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the adventures of the team established in the first movie. Peter Quill in introduced to his Celestial father Ego the living planet. Here they meet Mantis who joins the group.
Yondu, the adopted father of Peter Quill, along with Nebula switch their former allegiances to join the Guardians in their battle against Ego.
Later in the MCU the Guardians of the Galaxy team up with the Avengers in Infinity War and Endgame to help defeat the evil tyrant Thanos.
Drax the Destroyer
Drax the Destroyer is committed to revenge against Ronan the Accuser after his wife and daughter was murdered by the Kree warlord.
In the movies, Drax is played by Dave Bautista. He is an alien species that is unable to understand metaphors as they can only speak literally.
Gamora is played by Zoe Saldana in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies.
She was the adopted daughter of Thanos who spared her while annihilating her home planet and race of Zehoberei.
She is raised by Thanos as an assassin along with her adopted sister Nebula. As a result Gamora became known as The Deadliest Woman in the Galaxy.
Rocket Raccoon is a weapons fanatic, pilot and technical expert in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies.
The character is played by Sean Gunn via motion capture and voiced by Bradley Cooper.
Rocket was created as a result of experiments by alien scientists on the Halfworld planet where he was genetically and cybernetically enhanced so that he was given sentient levels of intelligence.
Star-Lord / Peter Jason Quill
Star-Lord is played by Chris Pratt in the MCU. The movie begins with Peter Quill as a young Earth born child in 1988.
When Peter Quill is captured by Yondu, he is taken in by the Ravagers and gives himself the criminal name of Star-Lord.
Groot is a sentient tree like character from Planet X voiced by Vin Diesel in the movies.
Groot is partnered with Rocket Racoon as bounty hunters, collecting rewards for capturing wanted felons.
Sacrificing himself to save the team, Groot dies in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
A sample of him is recovered by Rocket which is grown into a new Groot offspring.
During Vol.2 Groot is a child-like version of the original Groot. Baby Groot became one of the most popular Guardians of the Galaxy characters. In Infinity War and Endgame, Groot has grown to resemble a teenager.
Mantis is played by Pom Klementieff as an empathic alien working for Ego in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Mantis has abilities to help read and effect peoples emotions. During Vol.2 Mantis uses her abilities to encourage the living planet Ego to sleep as the team try to destroy it.
Then in Avengers: Infinity War she was able to briefly disable Thanos.
Yondu Udonta is a Centaurian leader of a team of Ravegers.
When Ego instructed him to kidnap Peter Quill from Earth, Yondu decided to keep Quill as his adopted son.
During the conclusion of GOTG vol.2 Yondu sacrificed himself to save Star Lord. Yondu is played by Michael Rooker in the MCU movies.
Karen Gillan plays Nebula, the adopted daughter of Thanos.
Nebula was a Luphomoid spared by Thanos after he killed her family. Thanos raised Nebula as his personal assassin.
Nebula would train with Gamora but as she could never defeat Gamora, Thanos would continually upgrade her body to try and improve her abilities.
Current Guardians of the Galaxy Team in the Marvel Comics (2008 Team)
The 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy team was formed of previously unrelated characters from the Marvel Universe.
This was the second team known as the Guardians of the Galaxy. It included Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Phyla-Vell and Adam Warlock.
Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning first brought these characters together in Annihilation: Conquest #6.
You can get to know more about the origins of the characters by checking out the best Guardians of the Galaxy comics.
Many of the origin stories of these Guardians of the Galaxy characters differ from the timeline of the MCU.
Drax the Destroyer
Drax the Destroyer was recreated by Mentor and Kronos from a human called Arthur Douglas whos family had been murdered by the warlord Thanos.
Drax became and eternal who’s sole purpose was to destroy Thanos.
Read more about Drax the Destroyer.
The last surviving member of the Zen Whoberi (or Zehoberei), Gamora was raised by Thanos to become a deadly galactic assassin.
During a near death experience following an attack by several thugs, Thanos restored and augmented Gamora. Here she received bionic implants designed by Thanos which upgraded her abilities and gave her accelerated healing.
Read the complete history of Gamora here.
Quasar a.k.a. Phyla-Vell a.k.a. Martyr
Wendell Vaughn, a former agent of SHIELD, is a cosmic-powered superhero known as Quasar. Quasar is able to control powerful Quantum Bands which can manipulate energy.
Due to his courage, intelligence and resourcefulness, Quasar became a successor to Captain Mar-Vell as Protector of the Universe.
Following the death of Wendell Vaughn, Phyla-Vell, daughter of Mar-Vell took on the Quantum Bands. Phyla-Vell named
Find our more about Phyla-Vell as Quasar.
Rocket Raccoon began life in an star system sized insane asylum called Halfworld. When the researchers left the asylum, the patients began their own religion and called themselves “The Loonies”.
Experimentation on animals created intelligent animals to take care of the patients. Following the Toy Wars on Halfworld Rocket left with the robots to explore the Universe.
Find out more about Rocket Racoon.
Star-Lord / Peter Jason Quill
Peter Quill is the son of Earth woman Meredith Quil and J’Son of Spartax, King of the Spartoi Empire. When the Badoon killed Quills mother, he maintained his father’s element gun throughout childhood.
When he got a job with NASA Quill stole a Kree vessel and left for space. There he met Yondu and the Ravagers who agreed to let him join them. After a war against Ultron and the Phalanx, Starlord forms the new Guardians of the Galaxy.
Read the history of Star Lord in Marvel Comics.
Monarch of Planet X, Groot is a sentient tree-like creature who is the last of his species. Groot was first seen in Marvel comics when he tried to conquer planet Earth.
Some years later, Groot started changing his ways and joined a team of space superheroes, led by Star Lord. Lord Maximus reveals that while it may sound as if Groot is only able to say “I am Groot!” he is actually saying quite a bit more.
Groot is able to create smaller versions of himself or “cuttings” which can eventually be restored to full size.
Read the complete history of Groot in Marvel Comics.
Mantis began as a German/Vietnamese girl was given up to the alien Priests of Pama, a sect of the Kree. She became prolific in martial arts and returned to Earth to gain real life experience.
Here she meets the Swordsman and joins the Avengers. Mantis soon discovers that she is the the Celestial Madonna, and leaves Earth to give birth to the Celestial Messiah, Sequoia.
Mantis joins the Guardians of the Galaxy to help Star Lord defeat the Phalanx controlled by Ultron.
Read more about Mantis.
Major Victory / Vance Astro
Major Victory owns the Shield of Captian America which he found in the year 3000 before founding the original Guardians of the Galaxy.
Finding himself in a block of ice, Major Victory had no recollection of how he got there.
Mantis worked with him to try and gain back his memories. When the Guardians of the Galaxy were put back together by Rocket, Major Victory was among them.
Find out the full history of Major Victory.
Bug has exceptional agility and sight as well as the ability to cling to walls. Bug came from a Microverse race know as the Insectivorids.
As punishment for previous crimes, Bug spent some time as a gladiator on the planet Homeworld. Bug was recruited by Star Lord during the comic book series Annihilation: Conquest.
Read more about Bug the Micronaut
Jack Flag / Jack Harrison
Jack Flag began to train in martial arts following an attack by the Serpent Society on his home town which left his brother paraplegic.
Jack Flag absorbed the powers of Mr. Hyde during a mission and became super strong. Jack Flag joined the Guardians of the Galaxy after he became a fugitive on Earth.
Read more about Jack Flag.
Cosmo the Spacedog
Head of security of Knowhere, Cosmo is a telepathic dog who arrived on Knowhere having developed powers on his journey from Earth.
Originally launched into space as part of the Soviet Space Program, Cosmo mutated in his deep space journey.
Read the full story of Cosmo the Spacedog.
Moondragon is the daughter of Drax the Destroyer. She was raised by Shao-Lom Monks who taught her to increase her mental powers.
Moondragon became a powerful telekinetic and telepath. She was once in possession of the Mind Gem.
Read the complete history of Moondragon.
The Original Guardians of the Galaxy (1969 team)
The 1969 Original Guardians of the Galaxy stories were set in the far future in the year 3000. On several occasions, however, the GOTG did travel back in time to meet up with the other heroes of the Marvel Universe.
In the year 3000 Major Victory is the founder and leader of the Original Guardians of the Galaxy characters.
When the Centurians were attacked by the alien Badoon, Astro and native Centurian Yondu formed a group of freedom fighters known as the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Major Vance Astro a.k.a. Major Victory
When Air Force major, Vance Astrovik was sent in suspended animation to nearby star system Alpha Centauri, he arrived to find that the human race had beat him there by centuries.
Astro soon discovered that he could release destructive telekinetic power known as “brain-blasts”.
The guardians managed to locate the Shield of Captain America and had to battle Main Frame to get to it. During the Infinity War, Major Victory travelled back in time where Captain America gave him some training with the shield.
Genetically engineered to live on mining platforms in the atmosphere of Jupiter, Charlie-27 is a co founder of the original Guardians of the Galaxy.
He is the last surviving member of his race Following the invasion of the Solar System by he Badoon.
Martinex worked as a scientist on the dwarf planet Pluto which makes him able to stand extremely low temperatures.
His organic crystalline skin protects him from the high pressures and icy temperatures. He joined the Guardians of the Galaxy when his species was wiped out bu the Badoon.
Yondu Udonta began as a member of the Zatoan tribe which was native of Centauri IV in the Alpha Centaurian system. Yondu founded the guardians of the Galaxy with Major Victory.
Yondu uses a bow and a quiver of arrows made from yaka, a special sound-sensitive metal only found on Centauri IV. Yondu can skillfully control the movement of his arrow using certain high-octave whistle-sounds.
Stakar was an intellectual adopted by mutant parents who had left Earth and traveled to the stars. He is half-human and half of the same artificially created race as Adam Warlock.
Transformed by the Hawk-God, both Stakar and his sister Aleta were in command of a single body, existing simultaneously. Starhawk first fought with the Guardians in a fight against the Badoon.
Nikki has flames as her har since she is able to release heat throgh pores on her scalp. This flame can be intensified to blind opponents.
Nikki’s skin temperature is about 750 degrees Fahrenheit which means she can withstand ultraviolet radiation and intense heat.
Aleta Ogord is made from light which she can make solid. She shares the body of Starhawk with her brother Stakar.
As only one can be in control of the body Ogord and Stakar fight for possession of the body.
Replica is a devout member of the Universal Church of Truth who lives in disguise on the planet New Haven under the rule of Rancor.
When the Guardians of the Galaxy arrive, she joins them and the Resistance against Rancor.
Talon has some superhuman abilities thanks to his genetically superior Inhuman physiology, and has possibly been exposed to the mutagenic Terrigen Mist.
He has an orange fur-covered body with razor-sharp talons on his hands and feet.
Rita DeMara has no superhuman powers, but possesses expertise in cybernetic technology.
Yellowjacket’s helmet contains subatomic “Pym particles” which she can release by mental command. This enables her to shrink to one-half inch in size and return to normal.
The Galactic Guardians
When Major Victory decided that the original Guardians of the Galaxy characters were to remain on Earth, Martinex broke away to create a dream team of super heros.
Developed by Martinex, the Galactic Guardians were formed to protect the galaxy from the most powerful threats.
The Avenger formally known as Vision was now Main Frame. When Martinex visited Main Frames world, they formed the new team The Galactic Guardians.
Martinex is a member of a genetically engineered offshoot of humanity whose traits were designed for survival under the cold conditions of the planet Pluto.
Martinex founded The Galactic Guardians when the original GOTG decided to remain on earth.
Firelord is an ally of the Guardians of the Galaxy. He is known as “Protector of the Universe”, but does not wear the Quantum Bands traditionally assigned to the holder of the role.
In an alternate future, Wonder Man now with snow white hair and using the alias “Hollywood” aids the Guardians of the Galaxy.
He also aids several other heroes, sometimes operating out of the still-standing Avengers Mansion.
Main Frame is a future counterpart of Vision from the Avengers. Main Frame is the chief operating system of an entire planet, and the guardian of the shield of hero Captain America.
Giraud is an ordinary human with no active magic or psionic abilities who becomes host to the Phoenix Force.
As Phoenix he can use only those powers granted him directly by the Phoenix Force.
Replica assists the Guardians against a Stark saboteur, the Spirit of Vengeance, and the Grand Inquisitor.
She is a member of the Universal Church of Truth and a Skrull as well as member of the original Guardians of the Galaxy.
Spirit of Vengeance
The Spirit of Vengeance has the mystic ability to transform into a being with superhuman strength, stamina, and durability, with a head resembling a flaming skull.
He can project fire-like mystical energy called either “soulfire” or “hellfire” for various effects.
If you love the Guardians of the Galaxy characters, check out the link below for GOTG merchandise.
Images of MCU Guardians of the Galaxy Cast from mcu-movies.fandom.com.
Images of 2008 Comics GOTG Team from marvel.com
Images of the Original 1969 Guardians of the Galaxy from marvel.fandom.com.