Sunday, August 03, 2014

Re: That movie that's probably well on its way to making tens of millions of dollars already

If you're reading this comics blog, then you're probably a fan of comic books in general, and superhero comics in particular. And I imagine there's a pretty good chance that, at some point this weekend, you went to the nearest movie theater to take in Guardians of the Galaxy, maybe the mostly hotly anticipated of all the many based-on-a-comic book movies that have appeared in theaters this year (Me? I'm going tomorrow night).

The movie is directed by James Gunn (Super, Slither), and written by Gunn and Nicole Perlman. It stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, David Bautista, Lee Pace and others. I don't generally follow box office returns, like, at all, but I'm fairly certain the film is going to be well-received and a huge financial success for Marvel Studios and Disney, as pretty much any profit made on a Guardians of the Galaxy movie is going to be seen as a remarkable amount (as far as properties likely to produce summer blockbusters, "Guardians of the Galaxy" was probably somewhere between Man-Thing and Red Raven on a list of all Marvel potential film fodder right up until about the point that it was announced that Marvel was doing a Guardians of the Galaxy movie).  A sequel is already showing up as announced under Gunn's IMDb profile, for whatever that's worth.

In short, a lot of people are going to make a lot of money off this movie.

And, if a lot of people make a lot of money and there are a lot of accolades being thrown about, then a lot of credit is going to go to a lot of people, from whoever cut those winning trailers to the designers and animators who got Rocket's fur to look just so to Gunn himself. If comic book people get any credit, chances are it's going to be as a collective (i.e. "Marvel") or under a "Special Thanks" near the end of the end-credit scrawl (IMDb has comics writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lannning receiving writing credit; if that's on the screen near the "written by" credit, then that's awesome).

So I think it's worthwhile to take a moment to remember who did what, and to maybe take a moment to write a check this weekend to The Hero Initiative, a non-profit that serves as a financial safety net for comics creators in need, for at least as much as the cost of a movie ticket (For me, it costs between $5-$9 to see a movie, depending on when I go; that's somewhere between one and three comic books). And/or to remember Bill Mantlo and his current circumstances, given his role in creating one of the more prominent and memorable characters in this particular film.
Hollywood, here we come!
The superhero team name "The Guardians of the Galaxy" was created for a 31st century group of heroes in 1969's Marvel Super-Heroes #18; they were written by Arnold Drake and their first appearance was pencilled by Gene Colan. The characters guest-starred in various Marvel books sporadically over the decades, eventually earning their own title in the 1990s.

In the 2007-2008 crossover storyline Annihilation: Conquest, overseen by writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, a rag-tag group of space heroes—including Groot and Rocket Raccoon—would begin to gravitate toward the character Peter Quill, Star-Lord. The miniseries Annihilation: Conquest—Starlord, written by Keith Giffen and drawn by Timothy Green II and Victor Olazaba, followed this thread most closely.

In 2008, Abnett and Lanning would launch the second volume of a Guardians of the Galaxy comic book, with pencil artist Paul Pelletier and inker Rick Magyar. The book spun out of the events of the writing team's various Annihilation storylines, and this particular line-up of this particular team is the same as in the movie—Star-Lord, Rocket, Gamora, Drax, Groot–and several others who come and go.

Behold: Groot's wide vocabulary!
Groot was created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers in 1960; he was one of the more memorable monsters in a string of one-off monster comics produced by Kirby and Lee in the pre-superhero days of Tales To Astonish.

The Collector was created by Lee and Don Heck in 1966 as an Avengers villain.

Please tell me "the deadly lips of Ronan" are referred to in the film.
Ronan The Accuser was created by Kirby and Lee in 1967 as a Fantastic Four villain; his alien race, The Kree, were also created by Kirby and Lee, and are a mainstay of the space-set stories in the Marvel Universe shared-setting.

Drax The Destroyer was created by Starlin and Mike Friedrich in 1973 in the pages of Iron Man.

Gamora was created by Jim Starlin in 1975; she is the adopted daughter of Thanos, another Starlin creation (albeit one heavily influenced by Kirby's DC-owned, 1971 creation Darkseid, who Thanos has beaten to the big screen).

Star-Lord was created by writer Steve Englehart and artist Steve Gan in 1976.

The Celestials were created in 1976 by Kirby for his series The Eternals.

Rocket Raccoon was created by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen in 1976 (and dramatically fleshed-out in a four-issue, 1985, self-titled mini-series by Mantlo, pencil artist Mike Mignola and inkers Al Gordon and Al Milgrom).
The Nova Corps (and Richard Rider, aka the superhero Nova who starred in the comic book Nova, but who I don't think actually appears at all in the film himself)  were created by writer Marv Wolfman and first drawn by artists John Buscema and Joe Sinnott in 1976.

Nebula was created by Roger Stern and John Buscema in 1985 as an Avengers villain.

Korath The Pursuer was created by Mark Gruenwald and Greg Capullo in 1992 in the pages of Quasar.

And...that's all I know of. Did I miss anyone or thing very important, that isn't a spoiler for the film...? I'm just going off what I've seen in the trailers and the cast-list on IMDb here.


gummi48 said...

There's another couple who are big surprise spoilers. One predictable for this film...the other less so.

Jacob T. Levy said...

Yeah, I really truly did not see that other one coming.

Evan Dawson-Baglien said...

I think it's worth mentioning that Yondu, one of the members of the original team created by Drake and Colan in "Marvel Superheroes #18," plays a fairly prominent supporting role in the film. He is played by Michael Rooker.

Robert Jazo said...

Without mentioning him by name, the after the credits spoiler character does get his creator credits displayed rather prominently immediately after his appearance.

Robert Jazo said...

Since we are mentioning box office, it looks like Guardians of the Galaxy's weekend box office take will be $94 million dollars. That makes it the third biggest opening weekend of the year, just behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($95 million) and Transformers: Age of Extinction ($100 million). It also beats The Bourne Ultimatium ($69.3 million) as the previous August opening weekend record holder.

I have to admit, I didn't see that one coming.

Eric Lee said...

What a world we live in where Guardians od the Galaxy is in contention for the biggest box office opening of the year!

Chip Chandler said...

They seem to have done a pretty good job crediting the creators and they especially did right by Bill Mantlo:

William Cardini said...

Thanks for putting this list together! One tidbit that I think is interesting, in an interview back in March, Starlin says that he was more inspired by Mentor than Darkseid for Thanos: