Friday, July 21, 2017

Making a Splash: Star-Lord

Man, does Ol' Groove ever love Star-Lord--but I'm sure I'm not the only one! Created by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan for Marvel Comics way back in 1975, Peter Jason Quill's alter ego remained a cult favorite during the Groovy Age, went through a lot of changes over the past decade-plus, and has become a movie star via the excellent Guardians of the Galaxy movies (though he's a very different Star-Lord in those). Star-Lord was originally going to headline his own b&w sci-fi mag, but those plans fell through, so his debut was in Marvel's b&w try-out mag, Marvel Preview #4 (October 1975). He disappeared until July 1977 when he re-surfaced in MP #11 under the care of the new creative team of Chris Claremont, John Byrne, and Terry Austin (who would soon go on to make history with some mag with an "X" in the title...). In May 1978, Claremont teamed with a new artistic team: Carmine Infantino and Bob Wiacek to produce a more hard-sci-fi styled Star-Lord for MP #14, then that same team got it all together one more time in MP #15 (July 1978). In March 1979, Star-Lord finally appeared in full-color, under the creative team of Doug Moench, Gene Colan, and Tom Palmer in Marvel Super-Special #10 (March 1979). A couple months later, it was back to black and white for MP #18 where Moench was still writing, but for that ish, he was teamed with a new guy who would soon become a legend: Bill Sienkiewicz (with stunning inks by Bob McLeod). Not long after that, Star-Lord made his standard color comics debut in Marvel Spotlight Volume 2, in issues 6-7 (February-April 1980), once more with Moench at the typewriter who was joined by Charlton mainstay Tom Sutton on the art. That same team produced a third Star-Lord fable, but that one didn't see print until the final issue of Marvel Premiere (May 1981). Whew! That's a lot to read in order to get to these sensational splashes, huh? Weeelll--it's worth it! Blast off!


  1. I've dug all these since they came out. Amazing that a great and somehow singular body of work could be produced, not only without a regular creative team, but not even a mag of his own! But they're also a reminder of what I don't like about the film version of the character- they turned a complex, sullen, contradictory person who struggled with the use of violence to resolve conflict into a jokey, trigger-happy, 3rd rate Han Solo who is basically a variation of every character Pratt has ever played.

  2. Oh, and the films also leave out all the cool mythology, weapons, and powers that make him Star-Lord in the 1st place. End of rant!

  3. Greatness never diminishes over time. Marvel Preview # 11, which was the beginning of the iconic Byrne/Austin team, still astonishes to this day with its black and white finely detailed artwork. The gentlemen put so much effort into that mag and it shows on every beautifully rendered page. How pleasantly surprised I was when shortly thereafter the same team took over the X-Men, combined with Chris Claremont, who was really starting to flower as the X-Men scribe.

  4. I lucked out and purchased Marvel Preview 11 on a whim. I was blown away. I rank it up there with one of the greatest single issues in the history of comics. Claremont, Byrne & Austin just nailed it. Great story, Great art - all you can ask for. I enjoy the current Starlord, Peter Quill. But he is not the same character. They share the same name(s), but are very different. C'est la vie.

    1. I second your view of it being one of the greatest single issues of all time. I always get a little emotional at the poignant ending.

  5. Cheers Groove - this makes for a nice little window into Marvel's attempts at finding a new audience through the second half of the 70s, before the direct market opened things up. Nice one.

    It seemed like Claremont, or maybe it was Byrne, realized early on that the Star-Lord character didn't quite work - introducing a pair of more sympathetic main characters made Marvel Preview 11 by far the most inviting read of the whole run.




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