Launching May 3, Marvel Comics’ “Guardians of the Galaxy” title is getting a relaunch under the publisher’s Marvel NOW! 2.0 initiative, courtesy of writer Gerry Duggan and artist Aaron Kuder. Set to take the team back to space, the new series picks up immediately after Brian Michael Bendis and Valerio Schiti’s “Grounded” arc that left the team disbanded in the wake of “Civil War II.”
Talking the new series — “All-New Guardians of the Galaxy” — with the comic press today is Duggan, Kuder and series editor Jordan D. White. CBR will be updating this article live with a full report of the discussion. Throughout the article, you will also get a peek at some freshly debuted pages of Kuder’s interior art from the first issue, as well as the artist’s covers for “All-New Guardians of the Galaxy” #1-6 and variants for issues one and two.
Marvel PR’s Chris D’Lando opened the conversation asking a series of questions. D’Lando first asked if the series is new reader friendly, to which Duggan confirmed it would be, adding that it’s a “gift inhering Guardians at this particular time,” referring to “GOTG Vol. 2’s” release. Kuder noted how “fun” the series would be, stressing its comedic slant.
Asked about the opening arc, Duggan said, “When we meet the Guardians in issue one they are sort of mid-adventure on what seems to be on the surface a simple heist…but some of the Guardians have not been forthcoming about information…And while that’s happening, we see two cosmic entities clash: The Grandmaster and the Collector.”
He added, “There are also going to be some very big dangerous cosmic threats…and we’ll see how dangerous the Marvel Universe can be.”
On the visual aesthetic of the series, Kuder said, “They’re not the space police…they don’t have their own set design — they have in the past — but the thing that I love about them is the great personalities…none of them have the same point of view, so I wanted to give them each a look that represents who they are for this book…Drax has given up violence [for example] so I give him sort of a monk-ish look.” He added that he gave Rocket Raccoon a look that’s an ode to the original Bill Mantlo/Mike Mignola design, sporting that funky ’80s vest.
D’Lando made note that the Guardians are in a “new status quo” in the wake of Bendis’ run, confirming that each of the Guardians are different from how we last saw them.
“Quill seems like he has his act together the most, which is troubling for the team, ” Duggan teased, “and something terrible has happened to Drax that makes him question a lot of things…Gamora seems like she’s maybe hiding some things, Groot…is the most profoundly messed up thing that we’re doing…you’ll get a hint at what’s to come in the first issue, and we’ll let that simmer for a bit.”
White added, “In the months that follow [the first two issues] we’re going to have guest artists come in and reveal why some of these changes happened.” He noted that issue 3 has Frazer Irving on art duties, while issue 6 has Chris Samnee drawing. Kuder said the rotating artists “challenge me to keep my game up.”
Duggan said, “I don’t want to spoil it too much…I think we have a very large roadmap for a big cosmic adventure that will [be established] very quickly — I guess I’ll talk a little bit about the second arc…we are introducing the Nova Corps. I think we’re going to do that in a very fun way…we’re very quickly going to see [Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning-era] villains pop up in those early issues…you’re going to be introduced to more problems and emergencies than what are gonna be tackled right away.” He noted that there will be war between major factions in the cosmic Marvel Universe.
D’Lando made mention that the creative team is planning stories a year out — to which Duggan replied, teasing “the stones,” referring to “The Infinity Stones,” of course. He said, “There are cosmic entities that know the universe now has not been reconstituted exactly as it once was, and that bothers some people…there are multiple characters searching the cosmos for The Infinity Stones.” He said he doesn’t plan to have Thanos in the series right off the bat — rather, they’ll focus on plenty of other cosmic villains.
Asked whether there are plans to introduce characters from “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” Duggan said, “We have plans to bring in characters…we won’t threaten you with specifics…but the look of the Guardians will be influxed, it will change…whether its multiple people from the Cinematic Universe [or not].”
Addressing the twice-monthly schedule and its advantages, Duggan said it allows him to make use of more stories than he ever could within a typical year of monthly comics. “I get to collaborate with Aaron and other guests artists on some pretty wild ideas.”
Kuder said, “It allows me to see other creators play in the same sandbox…it tends to be a lonely sandbox sometimes…the fact that it’s twice-monthly shipping offers so much in the way of being able to dive into the characters.”
White noted, “Getting so much story out…and being able to work with so many great people…I’m really thankful that we have been able to work on this book so far in advance…so the art can be great and consistent, and we have a plan for it.”
Asked about any planned romantic relationships to look forward to, Duggan said, “I’d like to not delve too much into it…but I’d love to see Drax score.”
On his sci-fi influences designing Guardians’ world, Kuder said, “There’s so much nostalgia…I love to go back to the books that originally inspired me — one of the first books I picked up regularly was ‘The Infinity Gauntlet’…lately I’ve been picking up sci-fi like old Al Williamson, the original ‘Captain Marvel’ run…the weirder, the better, in my opinion. There’s so much crazy stuff in these first few issues [of “All-New Guardians of the Galaxy”]…whenever I can think of it I try and throw in really weird easter eggs. Somehow, I haven’t been caught!”
Duggan said, “I’ve been trying to read more science for awhile…we’ve found a way to let go of what a human would do in outer space.” He added that the book tries to express a worldview of the cosmos that doesn’t necessarily come from a human perspective.
Asked if Kitty Pryde would continue to be a supporting character, Duggan said, “We’re blasting off of earth and we’re going pretty far away…at the moment, no, I don’t [plan on using her]…unless she’s one of Aaron’s aforementioned easter eggs that I don’t know about.”
White noted, “Our Rocket book…is going to touch on the Guardians and how he got involved in the Guardians…it’s an amazing [adventure].”
Touching on the theme of family, Duggan said “We inherited a family…in every sense, the good and bad of that. Family secrets can sometimes threaten or destroy families…and if they survive them, they can become stronger…I do 100% believe, based on the MCU and the characters and the title we inherited…I feel Aaron and I don’t have to justify these characters being a family — they’ve earned it…they’ve been through a lot, they were stuck on Earth…they may want a little bit of elbow room, but they’re not going to get it.”
“For me, the Gamora of it all has been the unexpected find that’s been keeping me running to the computer,” Duggan said, to which Kuder agreed.
Asked if there was a chance of “Star Wars” and “Guardians” crossing over, D’Lando stepped in and joked, “We cannot comment.”