Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Zoom Patrol!

The Guardians of the Galaxy are getting a lot of attention these days, what with a projected movie in the works. Of course it's a whole other team, not the team with Major Astro, Charlie-27, Martinex, and Yondu above created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan for that long ago issue of Marvel Super-Heroes #18. This 1968 story was mostly reprinted in Astonishing Tales #29 in 1975.

Arnold Drake, the creator and longtime writer of The Doom Patrol for DC Comics had been shown the door at the prestigious publishing house after years of faithful and reliable service because he dared join some of his colleagues to press their bosses for some health insurance.

Fortunately Marvel was around to give him work, and he produced some dandy scripts. But as far as I can remember, Guardians of the Galaxy was the only comic book he created alongside Colan, another former DC talent who had to use the alias of "Adam Austin" when he first started producing art for Marvel. Ironically this story was inked by "Mickey Demeo", the alias of Mike Esposito, another DC talent working on the side in secret for Marvel at the time.

Here Steve Rude re-imagines the classic image of the Guardians, adding a lot of hectic action to the straightforward scene concocted by Gene Colan of the Guardians ambling toward to the reader.

And here's a much later cover by Jim Valentino and Yong Montano featuring an homage to Gene Colan's classic image, with a looming Starhawk added for good measure.

When the Guardians finally made a second appearance many years after their debut, a lot was changed, but I've always preferred this original classic space opera look they sported in their first outing.

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  1. I now prefer the original Drake/Colan team to the revamped version of the mid-70s ( were they Cockrum designs?)

    Vance Astro's rather manic persona is not dissimilar to the DP's Robotman and his foil wrappings recall Negative Man.

  2. I see that.

    I always thought they missed out too with the weirdness of the team. Charlie-27 is drawn as just another big bruiser after the debut story, when his mass is really much more peculiar.

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