By Matthew Jent
If you are a human and alive, you know someone who loved Guardians of the Galaxy this year. Odds are high you have a Guardians fan somewhere on your holiday shopping list, too. Whether they’re long-time comics fans or they’re new to space opera, here’s some gift ideas for cosmic Marvel fans of any level.
Guardians of the Galaxy 3D Blu-Ray + Blu-Ray + Digital copy. The film, just as you saw it in theaters. There’s two discs, but not a lot of bells and whistles — concept art, commentary by director James Gunn, deleted scenes, a blooper reel, and all the other stuff you might look up on YouTube one day but never actually watch on your blu-ray. But still — Chris Pratt!
Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1. A real compact disc of the fake mix tape from the movie Guardians of the Galaxy. All of the songs you might have listened to secretly/ironically before they were featured in the year’s biggest hit movie. If the person you are shopping for can find an operational cd player, they will love this mix. If they live in the actual present, it exists as a digital download.
Guardians of the Galaxy: The Complete Collection, vol. 1 by Abnett, Lanning, & friends, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Avengers by Bendis, McNiven & Pichelli. Oh, hey! Comics! There isn’t really a collection that the movie is based on, but these are the most recognizable to a Guardians fan who knows the team from the movie. The Abnett/Lanning Complete Collection collects issues 1-12 of the 2008 relaunch that introduced the new team to the Marvel Universe, bringing Star-Lord, Rocket Racoon, and Drax to the fold. The Bendis-penned Cosmic Avengers collection was released this summer and collects the Marvel Now! relaunch and also features Iron Man as a member of the team. There’s a relatively large amount of GotG collections out there, but these are two versions that look closest to the team on the movie screen.
Infinity Gauntlet Omnibus. Not a Guardians title, but this is the cosmic Marvel event by which all others are compared. Thanos, infinity gems, Avengers, Drax, Silver Sufer, Jim Starlin, George Perez — this one’s got it all, true believer. The omnibus is the motherlode collection, collecting the complete Infinity Gauntlet 1-6, the prequel series Thanos Quest, a good dozen Silver Surfer tie-in issues, and an assortment of other crossover titles. You can also find more economical collections of the Infinity Gauntlet series itself, as well the not-quite-a-sequel collection, Infinity Gauntlet: The Aftermath.
Funco POP! Groot or Rocket Racoon. Star-Lord and Gamora and Drax are nice and all, but obviously it’s Groot and Rocket that you’d want to put on your desk at work. There’s an obviously preferable dancing Groot bobblehead available for pre-order, but if you need something under the tree for Christmas morning, all you have to do is decide between tree or raccoon.
Lego Milano Spaceship Rescue. The only thing I like more than building Ikea furniture is building Lego spaceships. Maybe I like the sound and feel of plastic pieces snapping together? Maybe I just like to follow directions? Either way, the blue & gold spaceship design is neat, and there are 5 minifigures in the box, including Gamora. You’ll have to look to other sets for your Lego Groot/Rocket fix, but if you gift only one Lego Guardians set this year — this is the one.
A Doctorate in Galactic Guardians.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorrow’s Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy by Jim Valentino, Vol. 1. Your mileage will vary, but these are the Guardians I remember. Tomorrow’s Avengers includes the team’s earliest 1960s & 70s appearances, back when the Badoon had taken over the Earth. Valentino, Vol. 1 collects issues 1-7 of the 1990s series by Jim Valentino, chronicling the team’s search for Captain America’s lost shield. It has a time travel, a lady with fire-hair, and a peek into the Marvel Universe of a thousand years from now. I can’t really separate the contents of these books from the nostalgia-filter I see them through, but the Valentino series was from the last wave of Marvel books before the great migration to Image. Yondu aside, there’s not much to link them to the movie — but if you’re buying for someone who likes cosmic superhero adventure stories, you can’t go wrong.
Star-Lord: Guardian of the Galaxy and Rocket Racoon and Groot: The Complete Collection. The title of the movie is Guardians of the Galaxy, but the characters onscreen are a consortium of 1970s/80s characters created and fleshed out by folks like Steve Englehart, Bill Mantlo, and Jim Starlin. These volumes collect some of the wonderfully weird space adventures that inspired the characters in the movie. Star-Lord is introduced in a Claremont/Byrne adventure from the 1970s, and Rocket Racoon and Groot collects everything from a Jack Kirby Groot story to Bill Mantlo’s 1980s Rocket Racoon mini to some modern era Annihilators titles.
Warlock: The Complete Collection. This is the business. Thanos is Jim Starlin’s most recognizable cosmic creations, but it’s Adam Warlock — created by Lee & Kirby in the pages of the Fantastic Four — who brings out Starlin’s best work. I can’t say it has the Guardians sense of humor, but this complete collection of 1970s Warlock stories has cosmic grandeur, moral complexity, and a real sense of the weird.
And One More Thing…
Know someone who loved that post-credits tag? Take them from the end of reality t’ the middle of nowhere. Happy Holidays!