Let’s turn it up to 11 folx because we’re about to board the fastest spaceship in the galaxy and need a little travelin’ music! Are you looking for comics that pair well with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, arriving in theaters on Friday, May 5th, 2023? The Beat has you covered! Check out this list of 11 comics to enjoy while you try to avoid spoilers on the way to the theater.
1. All-New Guardians of the Galaxy (2017)
Written by Gerry Duggan, pencilled and inked by Aaron Kuder, colored by Ive Svorcina, and letters by Cory Petit, All-New Guardians of the Galaxy begins in Citopia, an impenetrable city that isn’t actually all that impenetrable, because by the second page of the series the Guardians use a Galactus ship as a ruse to break through the world’s barrier and get into their vault. Could this be similar to the perfect world the Guardians team lands on in the trailer? We’ll find out on May 5th!
Much like James Gunn‘s movies, this series comes with a soundtrack of some of your favorite oldie jams.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! (2017)
It’s the comic based on the theme park attraction based on the movie adaptation of the comic! It’s a formula that could go horribly awry but doesn’t, thanks to the all-star creative team put together for the occasion. Written by Christopher Hastings, with pencils by Edgar Salazar, inks by Allen Martinez, colors by Andrew Crossley, and letters by Clayton Cowles, this one-shot draws inspiration from the Disney California Adventure’s Mission: BREAKOUT! attraction. The ride features the majority of the cast reprising their roles in footage directed by Gunn during the filming of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and at one point, you could even purchase a DCA-exclusive variant cover in the gift shop through which you exit.
3. Guardians of the Galaxy Infinity Comic — The Jewel of Death (2023)
By writer Christos Gage, artist Gang Hyuk Lim, and letterer Travis Lanham, “The Jewel of Death” is a new Infinity Comic mini-series on Marvel Unlimited that has been released in advance of Vol. 3, and it’s a raucous good time—seriously, I LOLed milk straight outta my nose. The introductory issue not only included a perennial favorite of mine, anatomy and gut science – because yes, Ego the Living Planet does have an intestinal tract – but a cast of characters that fans of the movies will be excited to see.
4. Gamora and Nebula: Sisters in Arms (2021)
Okay, so Mackenzi Lee‘s novel isn’t a comic, but it’s one of my favorite representations of the sisterly relationship between Gamora and Nebula. The YA book explores the history of Thanos’s adopted daughters and what it was like for them to train together growing up. It also features Adam Warlock and killer big bads: capitalism and corruption of religion by greed.
If you want to read a comic starring this badass duo, check out Nebula (2020) by Vita Ayala, Claire Roe, Mike Spicer, and Lanham.
5. Groot (2023)
From writer Dan Abnett, artists Damian Couceiro and Matt Milla, and Lanham, Groot is Marvel’s newest series about the fan-favorite Flora colossi from Planet X, the capital of the branch worlds (although, to me, it’s mostly still just a great book about that time that Patrick Stewart met Patrick Stewart). This series takes readers back to Planet X’s earlier history to learn more about a young Groot and his Flora colossi family and their history with the Kree Empire.
To learn more about Groot’s backstory on Planet X and how he got that feisty personality, check out Groot (2015) by Jeff Loveness, Brian Kesinger, and Jeff Eckelberry.
6. WE3 (2004)
WE3 is a classic and heartbreaking Vertigo title about a trio of domestic animals – a cat, a dog, and a rabbit – who are abducted and become test subjects in a secret military cybernetics program. Written by Grant Morrison, with art by Frank Quitely, colors and digital inks by Jamie Grant, and letters by Todd Klein, the title lies outside the boundaries of the Marvel multiverse. However, Gunn has cited the unforgettable comic as an inspirational text in the past, and it seems hard to deny that the book influenced the backstory of Rocket, which is explored in Vol. 3.
For just one example, take a look at this test footage for Rocket’s cellmate, Tweeted by Gunn earlier this week:
Test footage of Rocket’s childhood friend & cellmate Floor by @framestore, character played by Mikaela Hoover. #GuardiansoftheGalaxyVol3 only in theaters this Friday. #gotgvol3 #floor pic.twitter.com/boqj4l5Rh6
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) May 2, 2023
7. Star-Lord (2016)
In the six-issue run of Star-Lord, written by Chip Zdarsky, with art by Kris Anka, colors by Matthew Wilson, and letters by Petit, Peter Quill is stuck on a dumpy backwater planet where prejudice still runs wild, and there’s nothing to do but watch TV and have a couple of brews. Did you guess the name of the planet? It’s Earth! In the wake of the implosion of both their ship and team, the Guardians are scattered to the winds, and Peter ends up befriending one of the locals and getting a gig as a bartender at the fabled Bar with No Name.
Be sure and follow-up on this all-too brief run with the Star-Lord Annual (2017) #1 by Zdarsky, Djibril Morissette, Matt Lops, and Petit, which provides a nice epilogue for the series.
8. Rocket Raccoon & Groot #8 – 10 (2016)
In this three-issue trilogy of error – subtitled “The Bad Southern Pun Trilogy” – the Guardians’ break-out duo come face to – un, mask with none other than Gwendolyn Poole! Written by Nick Kocher, with art by Michael Walsh, additional inking by Josh Hixson, colors by Michael Garland, letters by Jeff Eckleberry, and a main cover by David Lopez, this run of issues goes where no on-screen adaptation would ever dare. The unbelievable fourth-wall breaking superhero shows up for (of all things) a crossover event. While these issues may technically be tie-ins for Civil War II, you don’t need any additional context from the event to enjoy the mayhem that transpires when these three chaotic neutrals collide.
9. Guardians of the Galaxy (2008)
Marvel Comics revived Star-Lord and his team of cosmic Avengers in 2008 on the heels of the Annihilation: Conquest mini-series. Tasked with the challenge were writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, who worked with artists such as Paul Pelletier, Brad Walker, Victor Olazaba, Nathan Fairbairn, Joe Caramagna, and others to bring the team back to life. The book went on to inspire the framework of Gun’s 2014 film, which was nearly a solo series about Phyla-Vell, the new Quasar, instead.
10. Fantastic Four #67 (1967)
Warlock is the newest addition to the GotG franchise. Well, kind of. Moviegoers got a hint that the character was coming when his gold healing cocoon was teased at the end of Vol. 2. In Adam Warlock’s first full comic book appearance in Fantastic Four #67, written by Stan Lee, with art by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott, and letters by Artie Simek, he is simply known as “Him,” and he’s introduced in a similar fashion (all-be-it in a slightly less flashy cocoon). When Warlock first emerges from the cocoon, He intends to destroy his creators.
11. Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams
The Guardians have had three ships in the Marvel Cinematic Universe over their tenure. First was the Milano, destroyed (then rebuilt, then destroyed again). Next came their ship, the Benatar. And now, they travel aboard the Bowie, introduced in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special on Disney+. So here at Stately Beat Manor, we suggest checking out a graphic novel about the music icon: Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams by Michael Allred, Laura Allred, and Steve Horton.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 arrives in theaters on May 5th, 2023.