Star-Lord: Guardian of the Galaxy
Issue(s): Marvel Preview #4, Marvel Preview #11, Marvel Preview #14, Marvel Preview #15, Marvel Super Special #10, Marvel Preview #18, Marvel Spotlight #6, Marvel Spotlight #7, Marvel Premiere #61
Marvel Preview #4
Marvel Preview #11
Marvel Preview #14
Marvel Preview #15
Marvel Super Special #10
Marvel Preview #18
Marvel Spotlight #6
Marvel Spotlight #7
Marvel Premiere #61
Star-Lord: The Special Edition #1 (framing sequence)
The question of whether or not Star-Lord's appearances from the 1970s and 1980s should be considered canon to the mainstream Marvel universe has gone through several back-and-forths. The initial answer was, "No, of course not". The origin story, published in 1976, had its roots in the future of 1990, and the story had no connection to the Marvel universe. And despite Marvel's tendencies in the 1970s and 80s to tie in everything (the horror genre, most licensed works, etc.) to the Marvel universe, subsequent stories remained apart. Star-Lord never encountered or heard mention of Skrulls, Badoon, etc. in all his space exploration, and no Marvel characters ever made mention of anything from the Star-Lord stories (with one exception: see the note about Uncanny X-Men #125 below). So there would have been no reason to even think that Star-Lord was connected to the Marvel universe. A 1996-1997 Star-Lord mini-series takes place at least 12 years after the last Star-Lord appearance, and features a new Star-Lord taking on the legacy and still no connection to the MU.
It seems the first such connection was in the 2000 Pacheco/Ladronn/Marin Inhumans series, which (seemingly?) featured Star-Lord's father Jason prior to the birth of Star-Lord and ended with a prophecy showing the events from Star-Lord's origin. So at that point, Star-Lord could be considered a part of the Marvel universe in the same sense as the (original) Guardians of the Galaxy: a character that exists in a (or an alternate) future timeline. But that was called into question in 2004 when Keith Giffen used an adult Star-Lord in the Thanos series. Star-Lord continued to appear through the Annihilation event and went on to belatedly become a popular character along with the (new) Guardians of the Galaxy. Since Star-Lord was a fully grown adult, the implications of the Inhumans series would have to be ignored, and we could assume that events like those depicted in Star-Lord's 1970s and 80s appearances did take place in the Marvel universe. The biggest hurdle would be the fact that the origin happened in the 1990s, but by this point it could be assumed that they really did happen in 1990 (especially with Marvel's sliding timescale), or the date could just be dismissed as a temporal reference. So that did seem to settle things, and for a brief period it seemed that Marvel was on board with this, including accounts of Star-Lord in Handbook entries that went from describing his 1980s stories to the Thanos series without blinking.
Under Giffen and then Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, references to the details of Star-Lord's past were kept to a minimum, so there was no reason to think there was any contradiction, and at that point i would have considered his older appearances to be canon, full stop. But as Star-Lord's profile continued to increase thanks to the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, Star-Lord was given to Brian Michael Bendis, who gave what i guess is the definitive origin of the character. And while that origin is broadly similar to the outline of the original, there are some key differences. I have a Star-Lord trade paperback published in anticipation of the movie, collecting all of his 70s and 80s appearances (and the 1996 series), and in the back of that trade is a reprint from a Handbook entry. The entry is four pages long and, as noted above, describes events from the 70s and 80s and the Thanos/Annihilation stories as all happening to the same character, with no caveats (it mentions the 1990 date without any indication that it happened in a "future"). It also lists Marvel Preview #4 as the character's first appearance. But at the end of those four pages is a note that is trying to come to grips with the Bendis revisions:
Star-Lord recently related an account of his origins that varied significantly in numerous respects from previous accounts. Notably, J'Son (or J-Son) of Spartex having traveled solo and arrived on Earth 30 years ago; J'Son only staying a few nights with Meredith; Meredith retaining her memories of J'Son; the aliens who killed Meredith being Badoon; Peter's Element Gun being a gift that J-Son left behind for Meredith as a romantic gesture; and Star-Lord being a title associated with Spartax rather than originating with Quill via the Master of the Sun. Assuming this was a truthful account, the name discrepancies may simply be different Anglicizations of alien words, but the extensive history differences suggest that the Star-Lord sired by Jason of Sparta was from alternate Reality-791, while the offspring of J'Son of Spartax is the Reality-616 Star-Lord. Further, while Star-Lord-616 has referenced his encounters with the Master of the Sun, how this Master compares to the Reality-791 Master of the Sun is unrevealed.
That's the first mention of Reality-791 in the entry, so i guess that is how the Handbook is telling us that the original Star-Lord is an alternate reality version (the "main" Marvel universe is 616). If you're not familiar with Star-Lord's original origin, you may want to scroll back up here after reading the rest of my entry below. The changes are not insignificant. It's enough that, (as the Handbook says) if true, the stories covered in this entry should not be considered canon. That said, the rough outline of events is close enough, and Star-Lord is significant enough a character, that i'll cover the original issues as a "similar but different" case like i've done a few other times. Since the Handbook leaves open the possibility that the Bendis account is not true, i am tagging Star-Lord and J'Son as Characters Appearing for now and i'll see if anything is confirmed by the time i get to Star-Lord's next appearance. Alternatively i may have to scrap this entry entirely. And it's for easy extraction that i'm placing all of Star-Lord's 70s and 80s appearances in a single entry.
By the way, the Handbook also throws up its hands regarding the Inhumans story:
Despite the many similarities, Jason of the Spartoi's timeline, among other things, is inconsistent with the timeline of the adult Peter Quill seen at the Kyln less than a year later. The true nature of this Jason of the Spartoi is, as yet, unrevealed.
Star-Lord was created by Steve Englehart and first appeared in Jan 76's Marvel Preview #4. Englehart intended to go in a direction inspired by astrology:
My hero would go from being a jerk to the most cosmic being in the universe, and I would tie it into my then-new interest in astrology. After his earthbound beginning, his mind would be opened step by step, with a fast-action story on Mercury, a love story on Venus, a war story on Mars, and so on out to the edge of the solar system, and then beyond.
The above is from Englehart's website, and, happy with the version that appeared on film, Englehart adds, "Thank God he never got past his initial state".
As it is, Englehart doesn't get past Star-Lord's origin in Marvel Preview #4, and the rest of the 70s and 80s stories are written by Chris Claremont and Doug Moench. And even the origin gets a pretty significant revision with the first Claremont story (which is co-plotted by John Byrne).
The origin starts with a description of how the planets aligned a certain way when Jesus was born, and then showing us the planets aligning again for the birth of Peter Jason Quill.
If you're familiar with comic book conventions, it's clear that Peter's "father" in this story is a heel. He's overwrought and angry for what, based on this story alone, i would assume is no good reason. The mother, Meredith, seems innocent and there's no indication that she was unfaithful to Jake. Jake grabs the child and runs out to a chopping block, where he has a heart attack, leaving Peter to stare up into the sky for "nearly an hour" since Meredith was too weak to go after them. The astrological implications are the only extra-wordly aspect of Peter's birth in this original telling. It's not until the Claremont/Byrne issue that we learn that Jake was right all along and Peter's real father was a spaceman (Jason of Sparta). Not that that's a reason to kill a baby with an ax.
For now, Peter grows up fascinated with space (and a Trekkie). In 1971, he finds a spot in the woods that local legend says was a place where aliens landed in the 1930s.
In 1973, he returns to that spot and witnesses a flying saucer. He runs to get his mom, and when they return the aliens blast her.
In this telling, there's nothing from the mother about a subconscious memory returning to the surface when she hears that aliens have landed. In the Claremont/Byrne origin, we'll learn that Meredith was mindlocked, prevented from remembering her time with Jason. And we'll also learn that the aliens were sent to kill Peter as well as Meredith (if not moreso), whereas here their visit just seems random.
The authorities of course don't believe that Peter's mom was killed by space aliens. Peter swears an oath that he'll make the spacemen pay, and he devotes his life to becoming an astronaut. By 1989 he seems well on his way to achieving that goal, but he is passed over for a Mars probe mission because his die-hard dedication has cost him in human interaction points, and no one wants to be on a long space mission with a jerk.
If you weren't alive in 1987, i can tell you that this is exactly what we used to wear. It was all capes and shiny boots and jackets. You can thank Nirvana for changing the trends.
Peter had a pet owl named Owl. Peter won't design his own Star-Lord costume, but i assume the similarity it has to an owl is not a coincidence.
Peter doesn't really seem like that much of a "jerk". He's described by girls as being a cold fish, and he's described as being super-dedicated to his studies, and the main point of interaction with his peers that we're shown is him angrily chewing someone out for not thinking fast enough when a centrifuge trapped them, causing Peter to have to save them. He's not a bully, he doesn't single people out for criticism, and he's not arrogant. He's just focused on his studies, not good with human interaction, and prone to bursts of anger. This is slightly different than a Peter Parker type character, since he's not meek and he's not targeted by bullies, but it's closer to that than him being a jerk. And when he learns that his personality is holding him back, he makes a proactive effort to change it, i suspect by basically treating it like any other aspect of his studies. This would be an aspect of the character that i would have liked to see explored more if anyone was going to do revisions, but it's really not something that is brought up again. Despite Englehart saying that Peter would continue to be a jerk, he seems to have gotten past the jerk phase by the end of 1989, when he's proven that he can be a better person and he's given an assignment on a space station.
In 1990 the space station is visited by a voice describing "the Starlord".
It's said that in two weeks, during an eclipse, someone from the station will be taken to become the Starlord. Seeing this as the opportunity to avenge his mother's death, Peter volunteers for the position, but his superior says that it will be someone that already has space experience, i.e. someone that wasn't passed up for the last mission (even though the superior thinks that it's really a trick by the Chinese). Peter (understandably) has a fit and is kicked out of the service. But two weeks later he manages to get back onto the satellite and force his way into the position to be selected as the Star-Lord.
Ok, if he's shooting to kill i guess he still counts as a "jerk" (Peter later says that he is "maybe a murderer").
Clearly being a "jerk" is the least of his problems.
Peter is teleported away and finds himself floating in space and then in a futuristic city confronting someone called the Master of the Sun.
The Master's line that he might not be what he seems will turn out to be more than it, er, seems at the moment. When we get to Doug Moench's stories, it will turn out that the Master is a lizard person like the aliens that killed Peter's mother. For now, the Master's line gets Peter to confess that he forced himself into the position. But the Master doesn't seem to care about that, makes him "a" Starlord.
The suit grants him the ability to fly, and his gun can shoot the four classic elements.
Peter is then immediately teleported into space so he can take vengeance on the lizards.
And, having done that, he's brought back to the Master, who says that it may or may not have really happened, but either way Star-Lord should be past his need for vengeance now.
And that's how the initial story ends, and that's the last anyone saw of Star-Lord for over a year, when he returns with a different creative team. Since Star-Lord has already (sort-of, maybe) taken his vengeance and he's (sort-of, maybe) overcome his jerkiness, and the Master of the Son doesn't exactly seem to mind the fact that he's (maybe) killed people, i'm curious how Englehart's idea of doing character work via the trips to each planet would have played out. The idea of having a fast-paced adventure on Mercury, finding love on Venus, etc., sounds inherently cheesy to me, but i like the idea of Star-Lord being a "jerk". The character instead becomes a pretty generic good guy for the rest of these appearances. He becomes a swashbuckling space adventurer and, it turns out, royalty, and the Master of the Sun connection is downplayed, and any astrological themes are dropped entirely. So in a lot of ways he's a completely different character.
The first follow up, in Marvel Preview #11, is by Claremont & Byrne with inks by Terry Austin. I originally had this in a Star-Lord: The Special Edition reprint that also colorized it, and i'll keep the scans i took from the color version but add some new ones from the black & white.
For the Special Edition reprint, there is a framing sequence with Michael Golden on art (but with Austin returning for inks). The framing sequence takes place later than the main story, and by publication date and seemingly in-story, it takes place later than all the other 1970s and 80s Star-Lord appearances, so i'll cover it separately towards the end of the entry.
A text piece by John Warner accompanies the original issue:
We also set the story some bit of time after Starlord's first appearance so that we could make some alterations on Peter Quill's character. We did so because Chris and I felt uncomfortable with Quill being quite as twisted as he was in the first story. However, I don't think we have contradicted anything in the first issue. Time and his new awareness have mellowed Quill out just a bit.
Star-Lord is indeed perfectly heroic. In this story he says that he no longer kills. Doug Moench will walk that back a tad in his issues, but even then he's evolved from the guy who blasted his peers to cheat his way into being picked as Star-Lord.
We first see him in a ship that can apparently become transparent, confronting a group of slavers.
He rescues the slaves...
...including ones named Kip and Sandy.
Kip turns out to be a psychic, and after the slaves are free, Star-Lord has him locate the base that the slavers operate from. The head of the operation is Kyras Shakati, a powerful merchant that lives on planet Cinnibar (which sounds like something one would find in a mall's food court). They fight their way through various defenses...
...and eventually locate Shakati, who is killed by Sandy.
But using Shakati's computers, they work their way up the food chain...
...which eventually leads to Prince Gareth, brother to the emperor of the space empire of Sparta. Gareth believes the throne should be his and is using slavery to finance his rebellion. Star-Lord confronts Gareth, who is backed-up by a lizard-man named Rruothk'ar, who also has the interesting title of "Sith Lord".
Star-Lord recognizes Rruothk'ar was the alien who killed his mother. He then gets into a sword-fight duel with Gareth (Star-Lord's Element Gun is used but downplayed in Claremont's issues), and loses. When Gareth unmasks him, he is shocked by what he sees. Gareth nonetheless stabs him with a poisoned dagger, and Star-Lord instinctively lashes out and kills Gareth in response. Star-Lord is saved from arrest by the arrival of his sentient Ship.
He then meets the Spartan Emperor, who turns out to be his father.
We learn that Peter's mother did indeed have an affair. The emperor, Jason, crash landed on Earth and fell in love with her.
For what it's worth, it's said that one other Spartan accompanied Jason but died in the crash.
When he was "ready to leave", Jason put a mindlock on Meredith to prevent her from remembering anything that happened. She wanted to go with him but he had to fly through Ariguan space (the lizard people) with a jury-rigged spaceship, and didn't want to put her at risk. He was aware that she was pregnant when he left. Jason later asked his brother Gareth to retrieve his "wife" and child, but the scheming Gareth instead sent Rruothk'ar to kill them.
Jason expects Peter to stay with him, but Peter is not interested in being a prince, and he quickly departs for space. He suggests that Kip, who is developing a romance with Sandy, be made Jason's successor instead. We'll find out in the framing sequence that that's what happens.
It's worth noting that nothing of Star-Lord's origin is shown in this issue. I mean, clearly it focuses on the parts related to Peter's birth, but nothing about the Master of the Sun, and the story doesn't dwell on Peter's earlier moral choices. I suppose that is deliberate. With this issue, the focus is on the fact that Peter is special because he's a half-alien space prince. But he's Star-Lord for reasons (seemingly?) completely unrelated to that. I can see why Bendis would similarly try to gloss over some of that with his revisions (making the Element Gun come from Jason and making Star-Lord being a Spartax title). When i first read this issue and the accompanying text piece, i got the idea that Star-Lord was originally like a space pirate and Claremont was revising him into a more heroic character, not unlike the Starjammers. But it's really more a case of dropping the quasi-mystical elements altogether. Later issues won't worry about it, though, and will happily recap the Master of the Sun portion alongside the rest of it. I guess Marvel figured we could handle two different things happening to one character at the time, but changed their minds about it later. Certainly the Master of the Sun doesn't figure into the Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
(Oddly, there's also a Dr. Who comic reprint in the Star-Lord Special edition. I don't know why that would be included in a comic made specifically to be about Star-Lord. It would have made more sense to include Englehart's original Star-Lord story, or at least excerpts showing the origin.)
You might think that Star-Lord being a space prince would be important to future issues, but this is the last we'll see of Emperor Jason outside of the framing sequence until the much later stories. In addition to the origin revisions, the important addition in this story is that of Ship.
This story has the dream team of Claremont/Byrne/Austin, with very nice art. It also has a nice space opera story that would have fit into the zeitgeist nicely at the time when it came out, which was circa the release of the original Star Wars movie.
Before moving on to the next story, a note: the slave merchant Kyras Shakati and his minons Arak and Arion have a cameo in Uncanny X-Men #125. I take that to be an Easter egg, a nod to the work that the same creators did here. It's a scene that also includes Popeye the Sailor Man. So i don't think we should take it to mean that Kyras Shakati, and therefore everything here, is in continuity (especially since, by publication date, Kyras, Arak, and Arion should be dead).
The next two stories, from Marvel Preview #14 and #15, are by Claremont, Carmine Infantino and Bob Wiacek on art (and Infantino does not get a co-plotting credit like Byrne did). I won't necessarily cover all the ins and outs of the space adventures on the remaining issues. I'll instead focus on character developments. And one such development is regarding Starlord's Ship. If you got a vibe from her hologram and Star-Lord holding hands and calling each other "companion" in the previous story, you're not off the mark. In issue #14, we learn that Ship is in love with Starlord. And when they get shot down as part of their space adventure, Ship forms a physical body for herself while Star-Lord is unconscious.
De-boobification for the trade reprint.
The kicker is that she doesn't tell Star-Lord that she's the Ship. She calls herself Caryth Halyan and says that she's an explorer that was ambushed by the same attacker that shot Star-Lord's ship, and she says that she found him.
So they go on an adventure together...
...and get romantically interested.
But Ship has a kind of freakout and breaks it off.
They continue on the adventure, which involves something about the collective consciousness of a termite species and bad guys (the ones that shot Star-Lord's ship down) who don't know/don't care that they're sentient. Peter makes them stop trying to exterminate the termites. Also, a giant cosmic egg or something inside the termite mound hatches.
Ship repeatedly calls Peter "boyo", which is Irish slang that i've seen Claremont use a number of times. So i wasn't sure if when Caryth started calling Peter "boyo" it was meant as a clue for Peter that she was Ship or if it was just Claremont being Claremont. But Peter does eventually recognize her speech patterns.
Caryth is seemingly killed during the adventure, but we can see her transfer her consciousness into Peter's belt (!) and it's later transferred back into ship. When Caryth is dying, the narration says that Peter had never cried before, even when his mom was killed, but he's crying now. And that is Claremont being Claremont because i went back and checked and young Peter does indeed have tears on his face in the scene where his mom dies. It's also generally implied in this story that Peter has been keeping a tight grip on his emotions, denying the expression of them since his mom's death. And again, the opposite of that actually seems to be true in the original story; Peter was prone to emotional outbursts.
When they get back to Ship and the fact that Ship was Caryth is revealed, Ship jokingly says that she's "got about a billion years on you". We haven't yet learned where Ship comes from, but it will be revealed in the next story (Marvel Preview #15) that she used to be a star that gained consciousness, so Claremont was thinking at least one issue ahead.
In that story, we learn that after she gained consciousness as a star, she enjoyed watching the life forms that evolved on planets in her orbit. Then one day a fleet of starships flew into her solar system, fleeing another army.
The pursuing army launched a weapon that caused her to go super-nova, so that she killed the fleeing fleet as well as all of her planets. Her consciousness was then collected by the Master of the Sun, who kept her until he made Peter Star-Lord, and then he gave her to him as Ship.
This comes up in issue #15 because Ship detects a new army going around committing planetary genocide.
Ship likens their behavior to the fleet that "killed" her and her planets, and she makes the decision that she and Star-Lord are going to stop them. It's implied that Star-Lord doesn't really have much choice in the matter (not that he objects).
After their first target, they turn their sights on a totally peaceful planet with no means of defending itself.
Note that we seem to be outside the Spartan Empire.
Star-Lord infiltrates the bad guys.
A few things to note about the above scans. The first is the line about Star-Lord once being a nasty fighter but he's now mending his ways. That's not exactly how the first story went. He was socially awkward and later he was willing to cheat and kill to get chosen as Star-Lord, but we didn't see him picking fights. The script here makes it sound, again, like he was some kind of space pirate for a while. Maybe we're to understand that something like that did happen in between Star-Lord's first and second appearances (hence the line from Warner about time having mellowed him), but it seems odd for that to be happening after Star-Lord meets the god-like Master of the Sun. The next thing to note is how indistinct Star-Lord is. He's not wearing his owl-like costume (nominally because he was trying to infiltrate), and he's not using his Element Gun (just a random gun he's grabbed off a goon). He does mention being a quick healer, but beyond that he's a random space adventurer swashbuckler. This will be especially notable in contrast to the later Doug Moench stories that happen in Marvel's regular color line instead of the magazine line, when Star-Lord's Element Gun and ability to fly essentially make him a super-hero.
In any event, a combination of Star-Lord sabotaging their ship and Ship briefly re-exerting her star-form subdues the enemy, and they are forced to land on an empty life-supporting planet where they'll be marooned.
It does seem like Ship has retained a physical body, which maybe suggests that she and Peter have a physical relationship.
Star-Lord's first color appearance is in Marvel Super Special #10. We're still in the magazine format, and Star-Lord still has one more black & white appearance in Marvel Preview before we go to the regular comic format. Marvel Super Special was mostly used for movie adaptations.
Before i get to the story, a note regarding Star-Lord's hair color. As noted above, i interspersed some colorized scenes from Starlord Special Edition when i reviewed Marvel Preview #11. And in that issue, Peter Quill's hair is brown. When Star-Lord is brought back in the 2000s, his hair is also brown. When Bendis took over the character, his hair became blond, and to fans that were upset that Bendis was taking over from Abnett & Lanning and seemingly disregarding all the work that they had done, the hair color change was one more bit of evidence. But on all the covers of Marvel Preview where you can see Star-Lord's hair (here, here, here), the hair is blond, and it's also blond (or maybe even red) in all the colored comics from this period (excepting the Special Edition reprint). That doesn't justify the sudden hair color change, and the hair color might even have helped identify 616 Star-Lord from the 791 version if it had been kept consistent post revival, but the blond hair wasn't coming from nowhere.
As for this story, it's a fairly typical sci-fi adventure. Star-Lord and Ship are sucked through a black hole. Ship is temporarily lost, and Star-Lord finds himself rescued by a spaceship led by "Noah", and the people on the ship are all refugees on his "ark". It's said that they're coming from Earth, and i briefly perked up thinking that this would confirm that Star-Lord's stories were meant to take place in a future timeline, but it turns out that all this information is plucked from Star-Lord's head to deceive him (and in any event, prior to that revelation, it's speculated that going through the black hole also caused Star-Lord to travel in time). The goal is actually to learn about Earth from Star-Lord so that the people on the spaceship can re-settle there. Most of the ship's population does not support "Noah", but he's been organizing a slow military coup. Star-Lord helps them rebel against Noah's dictatorship.
It also turns out that the people are all disguised with an illusion ("smoke") to make them look human, when they are in fact green aliens. Star-Lord gets romantically involved with one of them, Aletha.
In the end, it turns out that Star-Lord's missing Ship was hidden in the waterfall near where he and Aletha had sex. And it turns out that Ship was telepathically involved as well.
One thing about Star-Lord is that he is no speciest.
Aside from the inter-species menage a trois, the most interesting aspect of this story is probably the colors. Not only is it Star-Lord's first color appearance, but the colors in this magazine are much more vibrant than what you would get in the regular comics at this time.
Our final black and white story is in Marvel Preview #18. It's another standard space adventure. Star-Lord is on a planet where the occupying government has been experimenting with the natives, turning them into lion men.
The last surviving native has acquired a doomsday device that will blow up the planet, so Star-Lord has to stop him. In terms of ongoing character development, the main point is about Star-Lord somewhat relaxing his "no kill" policy.
After all his magazine appearances, Star-Lord had three issues in regular sized color comics: Marvel Spotlight #6-7 and Marvel Premiere #61. The stories are by the same creative team, and i suspect Marvel Premiere #61, which was published over a year after Spotlight #7, was meant to be the next issue of Spotlight but it got delayed (or canceled and then revived). The first issue features a detailed recap of Star-Lord's origin (although it leaves out Star-Lord murdering his peers and the idea that there was something wrong with his personality) and then a revelation about the Master of the Sun. But the main thing is that Tom Sutton makes the Ariguans look just adorable.
For that reason alone, they should never have been retconned into Badoon. They should be established as some kind of dwarf race offshoot of the Snarks or something.
Regarding the Master of the Sun revelation, the Ariguans go after him, saying that he was the greatest scientist ever known, but he interfered in their wars, and now he's going to be punished for it. They call him Ragnar.
Star-Lord shows up to stop them, but Ragnar/Master ultimately surrenders, and it turns out that he's an Ariguan too.
Ship suggests "rescuing" the Master against his will, but Peter decides not to, saying that "his will must be done, and I can only obey it -- by seeking our destiny among the stars".
The next issue has us back to standard sci-fi adventures, although as i noted above, there are more elements of the super-hero genre, focusing on Star-Lord's Element Gun.
In the Magazine stories, Star-Lord was almost more of a Han Solo character. He had the gun, but it was for the most part just used as a regular blaster. Here, he's flying around and very explicitly using the gun's elemental powers.
The story is about a strange world that is obsessed with honor.
People that have gained enough honor eventually earn wings and are allowed into the nice part of the planet at the top of the mountain. The story is centered around one guy that earns his wings and then tries to give wings to everyone, which is against the rules.
The final story, published in Marvel Premiere #61 (the final issue of that series), is another strange tale on an alien world. This one has a nice Rashomon-style narrative device. The first third of the book is from Star-Lord's perspective, showing him investigating a hostile world...
...and some really gross stuff.
But the second chapter shows that the world is sentient, and its motives are entirely different than what Star-Lord understood.
The third chapter combines narration from both perspectives.
Star-Lord is so disgusted by the planet that he nearly destroys it, but Ship convinces him that all life has a purpose, so he spares it. The planet, hoping that Star-Lord would remain since all the original sentient denizens have died off, is upset by that choice, and futilely begs for death. But Star-Lord leaves, never aware of the planet's true intentions. In terms of the quality of the standalone stories (i.e. apart from anything about the development of Star-Lord's character), this is probably the best of the bunch.
I'm now going to go back to the Starlord Special Edition to cover the framing sequence. We go back to Emperor Jason. Prior to the reprint of Marvel Preview #11, we see that Jason misses his son.
And that Kip and Sandy are married with children.
Kip tells his kids a bedtime story, which segues into the reprint. After the reprint, Jason abdicates his throne to Kip. And then Star-Lord returns, having also missed his father, and the two of them (and Ship) go off to have adventures together.
Chronologically speaking, it makes sense for this framing sequence to take place after all of Star-Lord's earlier appearances, since Kip and Sandy have had children and we don't see Jason on any of Star-Lord's published adventures.
For completion, here's a few words on the 1996-1997 Starlord series. It is written by Timothy Zahn, who was known for reviving the Star Wars expanded universe franchise with the Thrawn trilogy of novels. The art is by Dan Lawlis, and it's a painted kind of thing. Star-Lord's Ship crash lands on a planet called Bovric and is found by a young law enforcer named Sinjin Quarrel. This is "about twelve years since this Starlord character did anything notable". Ship has lost some of her memories and initially thinks Quarrel is Peter Quill.
Quarrel eventually takes up the mantle of Star-Lord. He also renamed Ship 'Rora, short for Aurora.
I won't get into the details of the plot, which involves telepaths and the corrupt planetary government.
It seems like Star-Lord occupied a kind of cult level popularity. He was popular enough that he got the occasional magazine story, but not popular enough for them to really reach an ongoing status. I think the move to the regular comics line was an attempt to go truly ongoing. But, again, it didn't quite stick. Outside of Englehart's original intentions, the character is actually kind of bland, but he was blessed with some strong creative teams (especially Claremont/Byrne and Moench/Sienkiewicz) and he fit well into a post-Star Wars period where space adventure was in demand.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: See the top of this entry regarding its inclusion at all and regarding the Characters Appearing. As noted, i've included all the issues in a single entry even though it comprises several distinct stories that were published over a period of six or so years. Since Star-Lord never had any interactions with the regular Marvel universe, this is not a problem. I did debate placing this entry post-1990 since that's when Star-Lord's origin occurs. But i'm instead interpreting 1990 as "28 years later" compared to the floating birth of Peter Quill, which was said to happen in 1962 but that date would have to get continually updated to allow Quill to remain in his late 20s/early 30s in present day stories (i.e. the sliding timescale). It's worth mentioning that in a Marvel universe with regular trips into space, Peter Corbeau's Starcore One satellite, etc., it's not far fetched for "regular" astronauts to be doing Mars probes and manning space stations circa publication date.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Star-Lord: Guardian of the Galaxy TPB
In FOOM#17(3/77), John Warner stated that Star-Lord wasn't in the Marvel Universe.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 7, 2013 8:57 PM
The twin villains in the early part of the story were named Arak and Arion, both of which were coincidentally(?) the names of two sword & sorcery-type early 1980s DC books.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 3, 2014 5:06 PM
In the 2000 Inhumans miniseries it's clearly established that Prince Jason of Spartak lives in the present, and that the birth of Peter Quill is in the future. In the 2004 Thanos series it's clearly established that Peter Quill lives in the present. The Inhumans series was dull and forgettable, while the Thanos story was fun and served as the springboard for Annihilation, so that version wins.
Posted by: Andrew | May 26, 2015 9:23 PM
I've got this story in the Chris Claremont Visionaries hardcover. It looks much better in black and white.
Byrne with Austin inking him looks good in black and white in general. It's worth owning the Essential reprint of their X-men run just to get their work in that form.
Posted by: Red Comet | September 27, 2015 11:15 AM
There's a curious couple of panels on page 14 of this story that represent, I think, the first time Byrne drew one story and Claremont wrote a completely different one. In the first panel Kip is pointing and yelling at Star-Lord. Star-Lord has a big smile on his face, amused at the presumption of this fishing boy who thinks he's a warrior. In the second panel, Star-Lord breaks into a grin and claps sarcastically. At least, that's what Byrne drew. But Claremont's narration is about Star-Lord's memory of his murdered mother and swearing vengeance, and how it twisted his soul.
Posted by: Andrew | March 20, 2016 12:42 PM
Comments up to this point are from when this entry covered the Star-Lord Special Edition reprint of Marvel Preview #11 only.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | June 2, 2016 2:49 PM
The Bendisized version of Star-Lord's origin has been pretty much confirmed as being that of the Star-Lord who exists in the mainstream Marvel Universe of Earth-616. The way in which the 616 Peter Jason Quill first got into space was revealed in issues #1-5 of the current Star-Lord series and is very different from the versions which appeared in Marvel Previews #4 and the Guardians of the Galaxy movie (which, of course, were also very different from each other).
I was hoping that the Star-Lord series would eventually get around to explaining how the references in the Annihilation: Conquest - Starlord miniseries to both Ship and the Master of the Sun fit into Reality-616 continuity but, since that series seems to have been stealth-cancelled, it's unlikely that that will ever happen now (assuming that there was ever any chance of that happening in the first place).
Posted by: Don Campbell | June 2, 2016 8:59 PM
Bendisized, bastardized, same thing really.
Posted by: Thanos6 | June 2, 2016 11:25 PM
My feeling is you should keep this page up at least through the first Star-Lord revival, as your 'References' section will require it. And since it'll be quite some time until you get to the 2010s, it's possible the retcon will be retconned, or we'll have a different conception of continuity, or somesuch. I'm a canon inclusionist, though.
Posted by: cullen | June 3, 2016 1:48 AM
I'm also in favour of keeping the page up - Bendis' retcon (as usual for Bendis retcons) doesn't come up with something completely coherent enough to disregard all these stories, and 616 Star-Lord has referenced things from these stories that Bendis didn't use. So there's no perfect fit, none of it is more definitively "canon" than the rest, and you just have to squint a bit and say maybe Superboy-Prime's punch had an effect on bits of Marvel reality too.
It's not as if other characters don't have teething problems in development. Claremont's Magneto is not the same guy as the nuclear bomb-using crazy ranting telepathic guy from the first X-Men issues, the Punisher who first appears in ASM #129 doesn't seem the same guy (or using the same tech) as the guy in Punisher's other appearances, etc.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | June 28, 2018 7:50 AM
It's implied (or more than implied, IIRC) that the new Star-Lord origin is a result of the timequake at the end of Age of Ultron, which is the Marvel equivalent of the Superboy-Prime punch. So arguably, the new origin is in an alternate timeline, and no more in the scope of this project than Killraven or the Ultimate Universe.
Posted by: Andrew | June 28, 2018 5:20 PM
Comments are now closed.
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