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Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy is headed to the big screen

You know Wolverine, right? And you’re likely familiar with Thor, Iron Man and Captain America too, huh? Honestly, we’d be shocked if any of you reading this were unaware of Spider-Man. But how well do you know the lesser players in Marvel Comics canon? Star-Lord? Mantis? Drax The Destroyer? Do any of those ring a bell?

If not, you’d better start scouring the longboxes for back issues, as it seems the Guardians Of The Galaxy are the next funnybook property to be headed to theaters courtesy Marvel Studios’ ongoing efforts to create films based on the firm’s massive vault of comic book storylines. JoBlo reports:

In 2014 we will be getting another superhero team movie, albeit one with lesser known heroes. The Guardians comic originally appeared in 1969 and tied in directly with both Thor and The Avengers. The upcoming film will deal with the rebooted 2008 version of The Guardians whose members are Bug, Cosmo, Drax the Destroyer, Groot, Rocket Raccoon, Star-Lord, Jack Flag, Moondragon, Gamora, Mantis, and Major Victory.

Unfamiliar with the supergroup? No worries, that’s what we’re here for. Imagine the Guardians Of The Galaxy as something akin to The Avengers — we’re assuming that by now you’re all familiar with The Avengers, either in its original comic book iteration or the recent, mega-successful Hollywood version — with a few key differences. Whereas The Avengers protect Earth, The Guardians Of The Galaxy guard the, uh, well … galaxy. Their foes are often supremely weird aliens and extradimensional beings beyond the ken of mortal man (or, failing that, whole armies of either). Like The Avengers (and almost every other super team in existence) however, the group’s members are all wildly unique, and on paper it makes little sense for them to join forces. In practice however, by creating a team of wholly different people with very disparate abilities, the Guardians are able to combat foes that would utterly destroy any one of them individually.

The most important difference between The Avengers and The Guardians Of The Galaxy however, comes from each group’s social dynamic. The Avengers, while harboring certain philosophical differences, are all BFFs at the end of the day. The Guardians Of The Galaxy however are, with a few exceptions, a group of characters who are only allied with one another because if they don’t team up, it will likely spell doom for all of reality. Thus, interactions within the group are often defined by thick layers of sarcasm and unspoken threats of violence. Particularly when Rocket Raccoon — a heavily-armed, militant, anthropomorphic rodent who you may recall from his still unexpectedly hilarious appearance in Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 — is addressing anyone other than his pal Groot. Though abrasive and unsubtle about his desire to shoot up everything that gets in his way, Rocket is a big pussycat when it comes to the group’s resident walking giant tree.

Of special note in JoBlo’s claim is word that the upcoming Guardians Of The Galaxy movie would be based on the group’s exploits from 2008. That was the point at which the group was given its own self-titled comic book series, created by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. Though that period was one of great upheaval in the Marvel Universe — this was only a few months after Spider-Man’s marriage was nullified by Marvel’s Satan analogue, and 2008 also saw two massive company-wide crossover events: Secret Invasion and Dark Reign — the Guardians Of The Galaxy series won huge acclaim from readers and critics alike, and remains one of the best books to read if your taste in comics needs a bit more intergalactic flavor.

While writing that last sentence, we got to thinking about what Marvel’s strategy here might be. Obviously the company thinks that a Guardians Of The Galaxy flick could be lucrative, but knowing the firm’s desire to create a massive, interconnected film universe based on its 60-plus years of comic book history, one wonders if Marvel might be working on a Guardians Of The Galaxy film to help introduce viewers to the cosmic side of Marvel canon. With Thanos making a cameo appearance at the end of The Avengers, it seems quite likely that the company wants to expand into more esoteric aspects of its intellectual properties, and much as the Abnett/Lanning book served as a phenomenal introduction to cosmic characters for comic book fans back in 2008, a Guardians Of The Galaxy film, if done correctly, could do the same for fans of Marvel’s cinematic efforts.

Now let’s all keep our fingers crossed that Marvel figures out some way to do this thing without earmarking a billion dollars for the film’s CGI budget. The more we think about it, the more we desperately want to see a muppet Groot.

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