Peter Quill, AKA the devil-may-care intergalactic hero known as Star-Lord (who?) has participated in saving the universe from numerous cosmic conflagrations. He helped found the modern day incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and currently serves as president of his father's people, the Spartax. And while readers have followed many of those exploits over the years, in the November launching "Star-Lord," writer Sam Humphries and artist Javier Garron turn back the clock for an arc titled "Star-Lord: Year One," showing the first steps teenage Peter Quill took on the journey that transformed him into the cosmic hero.
CBR News spoke with Humphries about his fascination with Quill's early days, the characters Peter will meet in his attempt to reach outer space and find his place in it, and the joy of reuniting with his "Black Vortex" collaborator, Garron.
CBR News: Peter Quill is currently the ruler of Spartax, but for your new "Star-Lord" series, you're turing back the clock with a "Year One"-style story that takes readers back to the days before the titular character's name was legendary. What inspired this direction?
Sam Humphries: This is a story I wanted to do since I first took over "Star-Lord." This story was in my head before "Secret Wars," before "Black Vortex," and before "Legendary Star-Lord." Now that he is king of the Spartax over in "Guardians," it seemed the right time to circle back and take a look at Peter's first year in space.
Not only is this a story of Peter trying to get to space and find his place in it, it's also a story of Peter trying to live up to his potential and trying not to be such a jackass all the time. He's trying to learn to be cool. I've been calling it "Almost Famous" in space.
Both you and Brian Bendis apparently share a fascination with Star-Lord's origin. In one of my very first chats with him about "Guardians of the Galaxy," he talked about how intriguing Peter Quill's origin was and how much more could be done with it.
Yeah, the "Guardians of the Galaxy" #0.1 issue he did with Steve McNiven was almost an issue-long origin of Peter Quill. It featured Prince J'Son, Peter's mom Meredith, and young Peter. I think it's one of the best single issues that Marvel has published in a long time, and I really wanted to do a story that would bridge the gap from that issue to the Keith Giffen and Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning stories with Star-Lord.
The "Star-Lord: Year One" arc fits in perfectly with the 0.1 issue. It flows right out of it and leaves a lot of possibilities for other stories in between these two books.
Set the stage for us: approximately how old is Peter Quill when we first meet up with him in "Star-Lord" #1?
Peter is 18 years old in "Star-Lord: Year One." He's a guy who had his first experience with aliens when he was 10 years old. During that experience, those aliens killed his mom -- and he killed a handful of aliens, himself. That leaves a mark on somebody. Since then, he's had not only a chip on his shoulder, but a dream to get to space. He's the kind of character at this stage in his life that can't help but satisfy himself every step of the way.
He's involved in a space program on Earth that is the first human attempt at colonizing another planet. He's not a pilot or astronaut, though. He's actually a low-level mechanic and janitor. This is a story about Peter going from there, all the way out into the outer reaches of space.
Is this a book that's mainly about Star-Lord's history? Or might we see his perspective on some of the major galactic events of the Marvel Universe like the Kree-Skrull War, the Dark Phoenix, or the rise of Thanos?
This is mostly about Peter's history. We don't really go into "Forest Gump" territory as much as we may be tempted to. As with all my other Marvel work, I couldn't resist hiding a couple Easter eggs, but this is a story that's really going to be able to stand alone. You'll be able to read "Star-Lord: Year One," and then jump into any Star-Lord adventure you want. This is where the legend begins.
Once Peter reaches outer space, one of the characters he'll meet is named Yondu. Fans of the original Guardians of the Galaxy and "Guardians 3000" know Yondu as a character that hails from the far future, but the film presented a more roguish Yondu from the present day. What can you tell us about the Yondu we'll meet in "Star-Lord?"
This is a Yondu that is the great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather of the Yondu in the original Guardians of the Galaxy and "Guardians 3000." He's a Yondu, though, that does have much in common with the Michael Rooker Yondu from the "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie.â€¨When Peter reaches space, he runs into a band of space pirates, and Yondu is their leader. He's a very important character in the entire story.
Who else will Peter encounter in "Star-Lord?"
Peter is a character who is at odds with himself in this story. He's still growing up. He's a character who endured a massive tragedy when he was a child and hasn't lived in the most stable way since, so he's a character who can be his own worst enemy. That said, in this story, we're going to see a lot of good old-fashioned space pirates, swashbuckling, treasure hunting and all that good stuff.
So this is a series that's heavy on the space opera, but also involves dealing with your personal demons?
This is definitely a space adventure. We take Peter to a lot of different corners of the galaxy. He will see many amazing, crazy aliens -- and occasionally shoot them. [Laughs]
Helping you chronicle Star-Lord's early adventures is an artist you worked with on the "Black Vortex: Omega" one-shot, Javier Garron. What's it like reuniting with Javier for this series?
I could not have been more psyched to get Javier on this book. He and I worked together on just a few pages at the end of "Black Vortex," and boy, let me tell you, "Black Vortex" had a lot of heavy hitters on art. We had Ed McGuinness, Valerio Schitti, Andrea Sorrentino, Paco Medina, Mike Mayhew and a few others I know I'm missing and I apologize.
Then, at the end, we brought in Javier to help us finish up the "Omega" issue, and boy, did he step right up to all those heavy hitters and deliver! He delivered some of the most crucial pages in the entire story. Pages that brought together the entire tale and wrapped it all up. He had an immense task in front of him, and he knocked it out of the park. I'm very, very excited to have him as the regular artist on "Star-Lord:Year One."
He draws amazing, expressive characters, which is great when your main character is an 18-year-old. He also knows his sci-fi so well, it's crazy. I initially felt bad because in the first couple issues, I gave him, like, five spaceships to design. It was like, "Aww, poor Javier." He came back, though, with, like, ten amazing designs. Then I was all, "Okay, I don't feel bad anymore."
In a lot of ways, this is a book that he was born to do. He's so into it and so into the story. It's been great working with him, talking with him, and discussing our mutual fandom for "Ru Paul's Drag Race."
"Star-Lord" is scheduled for release November 18 from Marvel Comics.