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Star-Lord #1

Star-Lord #1

Capsule Review

Hey everybody, it’s Young Peter Quill! What we have here is Peter’s origin story … a new one, sort of, and while this young Peter has plenty of rough edges, he’s no where near the psychotic jackass he used to be. This Peter is a scrappy kid, the square peg, too smart for the room but thinking with his fists — he feels like a slightly more Young Adult fiction version of J.J. Abrams’ young Captain Kirk from his Star Trek reboot. None of these are bad things. Writer Sam Humphries makes us care for Peter as he works as a grease monkey in an experimental space program, stealing simulator time to polish his piloting chops, and scheming for a way to jump the line of more qualified astronaut candidates competing for that big space ride. Of course, Peter’s headstrong ways get him into trouble. You can draw a pretty direct dotted line from this kid to the Star Lord we’ve seen in recent Guardians of the Galaxy comics and movies. Artist Javier Garron provides solid storytelling and uses exaggeration to good effect. It’s a comfort food kind of comic book — the beats are predictable, everything goes as you’d expect — but it is still fun enough.

Approachability For New Readers

Good. One of the few actual origin stories in this crop of new Marvel #1s. There’s no mention of the Guardians of the Galaxy or a tie-in or a flash-forward or anything like that, which seems like a missed opportunity to ground new readers coming here from the film, but whatever.

Read #2?

Yeah.

Sales Rank

#44 November

Read more about The Guardians of the Galaxy at Longbox Graveyard

Read more capsule reviews of Marvel’s All-New All-Different rolling reboot.

Star-Lord #1

 

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Guardians of the Galaxy!

The wait is almost over! The curtain lifts shortly on Marvel’s riskiest movie to date — The Guardians of the Galaxy!

Guardians of the Galaxy

I’m all-in on this one, and will try to see it first weekend, but you can be forgiven if you are skeptical about this picture. After all, who are these guys? The Guardians, by far, are the most obscure characters Marvel has brought to the screen.

To help you brush up on Guardians history, here are several articles I’ve written about the Guardians of the Galaxy!

I wrote about the origins of the Guardians of the Galaxy here … and while these original characters won’t feature in the film, the article still gives you a basis for Guardians lore. Plus, after reading this article, you’ll be equipped to carp about Charlie-27’s omission from the film … you’ll be the envy of your friends!

Marvel Super-Heroes #18, Gene Colan

The present leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy is Star Lord, and that character has interesting origins all his own (and appeared in a terrific solo adventure, too) …

Marvel Preview #4

I’ve also published several Galleries of Guardians of the Galaxy artwork, like my Star Lord Gallery

Star-Lord, by John Byrne & Terry Austin

… and my Guardians of the Galaxy Gallery

Marvel Presents #3

… and don’t forget last week’s Rocket Raccoon Gallery, either! Rocket is going to steal the show, mark my words!

Rocket Raccoon

And for a deeper dive, check out my coverage of the Guardians’ Big Bad, Thanos …

Thanos by Jim Starlin

 

… I’ve got a Thanos Panel Gallery for you, a look at his obsession with the Infinity Gauntlet, and a piece about how ol’ Thanos keeps looking for love in all the wrong places.

Enjoy the movie … and be sure to share your impressions of Guardians of the Galaxy in my comments section, below!

Star-Lord: Windhoelme!

Longbox Graveyard #134

Welcome to the Dollar Box, where I look at classic comics with an original cover price of a dollar or less!

This month, my subject is the historic first teaming of the classic comics team of Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Terry Austin, and Tom Orzechowski.

Am I writing about Uncanny X-Men? Or maybe an issue of Iron Fist?

Nope!

The very first time this team worked together on the same book was … Star-Lord?

Marvel Preview #11

Published in 1977 in the pages of Marvel Preview #11, Marvel’s black-and-white anthology magazine, “Windhoelme” was the second outing for Star-Lord, a science fiction adventure character who debuted in issue #4 of that same mag. The original Star-Lord, by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan, was an ill-tempered, borderline-psychopath who stole his superpowers as part of his quest to avenge his mother’s death at the hands of space aliens.

This Star-Lord … was something different.

Star-Lord by Byrne, Austin, and Claremont, Marvel Preview #11

 

It was characteristic that Star-Lord’s second outing was a “reboot” — additional reboots would follow, seemingly every-other issue in the character’s brief career, culminating in a near-total rewrite that saw Star-Lord enter the Marvel Universe in the pages of Thanos #8-12 — and now, as the leader of the Guardians of the GalaxyStar Lord is fast-tracked for pop culture stardom in next month’s Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

the Star Lord you probably know

the Star Lord you probably know

I like the new Star Lord, but he really has little to do with this Star-Lord, who headlined this little jewel of a science fiction adventure in Marvel Preview #11. What with all the space empires, swashbuckling sword-fights, and humanoid aliens running around this story, you could be forgiven for thinking Star-Lord was a fast-follower of Star Wars … but Marvel Preview #11 was conceived and created months before Star Wars hit the theaters. The similarity is down to common origins, with the Robert A. Heinlein “juveniles” that Claremont cited as his inspiration providing a rich portion of the pulp science fiction tradition that Lucas drew upon for Star Wars.

It’s also kismet, of the negative sort, in that Star-Lord was just … that … much ahead of its time. If release of this issue had been able to take better advantage of Star Wars mania, maybe Star-Lord would have gone on to become a superstar comic book character. As it was, Star-Lord came and went, and while the character would have additional outings under various creative teams prior to fading into obscurity for a decade or two, he would never be better than in this rollicking, two-fisted space opera.

Star-Lord by Byrne, Austin, and Claremont, Marvel Preview #11

Displaying the fast-paced, catch-you-up-while-we’re-on-the-run storytelling that would characterize his X-Men work, Claremont drops us in the deep end of his story, with a peaceful planet conquered by slavers, and a pair of young adventurers eager to fight back. Kip and Sandy are fairly stock supporting characters, but they’re not without spirit, and Sandy is sort of hot, in that square-jawed, big-eyed John Byrne kind of way …

Star-Lord by Byrne, Austin, and Claremont, Marvel Preview #11

With the population of a planet hanging in the balance, we’re introduced to Star-Lord, who makes a confident and understated entrance (despite the characteristic internal self-doubt Claremont’s script would display later in the issue). It’s never really made clear who our hero is, or where he came from, but that’s actually a strength of this story. It’s more entertaining to try to piece together the details of our hero’s powers and origin as we go along (and besides, it was all on display in the character’s inaugural appearance in Marvel Preview #4 for those who simply had to know).

Star-Lord by Byrne, Austin, and Claremont, Marvel Preview #11

In the pages that follow, we learn that Star-Lord can breathe in outer space, that he can handle himself in a fight, and that he takes a dim view of slavers. But freeing Kip, Sarah, and everyone else on the slave ship is just the start of our adventure.

Star-Lord by Byrne, Austin, and Claremont, Marvel Preview #11

In short order we are winging across the galaxy with our little crew, exactly in the fast-paced manner that we’d learn to love when Han Solo settled behind the controls of his Millennium Falcon.

Star-Lord’s spaceship isn’t quite so cool as Han’s legendary ride, but “Ship” has secrets of her own. For one thing, she can change shape. For another, she’s sentient … and she may also be in love with our hero. Certainly Star-Lord and “Ship” have a long and unexplained history between them — just another of a score of intriguing story hooks Claremont drops into this story.

Star-Lord by Byrne, Austin, and Claremont, Marvel Preview #11

So far we’ve checked off most of the compulsory boxes for a good space opera. A virtuous hero, young people in distress, spaceships and starfaring adventure, enigmas and mysteries at every turn.

But there are also hissable bad guys, who torment our innocent supporting characters …

Star-Lord by Byrne, Austin, and Claremont, Marvel Preview #11

… cruel lizardmen who get exactly what they deserve …

Star-Lord by Byrne, Austin, and Claremont, Marvel Preview #11

… and in the finest sword-and-planet tradition, our hero locks steel with a corrupt galactic nobleman to determine the fate of a stellar empire. Looking back on this sequence from a post-Star Wars perspective, it’s impossible not to hear lightsabers humming and crackling.

Star-Lord by Byrne, Austin, and Claremont, Marvel Preview #11

“Windhoelme” is a brilliant bit of comic book space pulp, fast-paced, imaginative, heartfelt, and fun. It (re)introduces a great science fiction hero in Star-Lord and follows him on an arc that sees him liberate the throne of a far-flung star empire, and then toss it all aside for a life of adventure roaming the stars …

Star-Lord by Byrne, Austin, and Claremont, Marvel Preview #11

It’s a great set-up for a continuing series of adventures, but Star-Lord’s mojo would quickly fade. Byrne and Austin never drew the character again, and Chris Claremont’s following outings with Star-Lord never quite reclaimed this story’s magic. After a host of lesser appearancesStar-Lord would diminish from memory, leaving only the bright star of Marvel Preview #11 behind.

Original copies of Marvel Preview #11 aren’t all that easy to find, but if you want to read this superior comic story, here’s a Dollar Box pro tip. If you’ll allow me to exceed my brief by recommending a book with an original cover price of more than a dollar (gasp!), then I’ve got just the thing for you …

Star-Lord Special Edition

 

Star-Lord The Special Edition #1 (the one and only issue in the line) reprinted Marvel Preview #11 in 1982. This is a standard-sized comic book, and the tale is slightly altered here (with a new introduction and a postscript by Chris Claremont and Michael Golden), but the meat of the tale is as Claremont, Byrne, and Austin created it in 1977 … with the added bonus of color! Purists will want the original tale, but I’ve grown fond of the colorized version as well, and it also has the advantage of being readily and cheaply available on the back-issue market.

Star-Lord in living color!

Star-Lord in color!

But whether you experience this tale in color or glorious black & white, “Windhoelme” from Marvel Preview #11 is well worth tracking down. It is a relentlessly entertaining space opera comic that is presently lost to the mists of time, but may shortly loom large in our pop culture, pending Star-Lord’s big screen debut in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy movie. I strongly suggest you score your copy of this best of the early Star-Lord adventures before the Imperial scum start jacking up the prices on eBay!

This article was originally published at Stash My Comics.

NEXT MONTH: #135 All This And World War Too!

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Gallery

Visit my Guardians of the Galaxy Gallery on Pinterest.

Marvel Super-Heroes #18, Gene Colan

Read my column about The Guardians of the Galaxy!

(View all Longbox Graveyard Pinterest Galleries HERE).

Star Lord Gallery

Visit my Star Lord Gallery on Pinterest.

Marvel Preview #4

Read my column about Star-Lord!

(View all Longbox Graveyard Pinterest Galleries HERE).

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