Sunday, April 3, 2011

Making a Splash: Al Milgrom's Guardians of the Galaxy

Greetings, Groove-ophiles! Y'know, when most folks think of Al Milgrom, they think of him as an inker or editor. If you were a fan in the Groovy Age, you know about his penciling prowess, most famously on Marvel's Captain Marvel and DC's Firestorm. For Ol' Groove's money, though, Al's best work was on Guardians of the Galaxy in Marvel Presents issues 3-12 (November 1975-May 1977). The Amiable One had to have been inspired to the max working with the original Mad Genius Gerber on the first seven issues (minus a part filler/part reprint in ish 8), and that inspiration carried right on through the last few Roger Stern-penned stories. It didn't hurt that Al's powerhouse pencils were inked by guys like Pablo Marcos, Howard Chaykin, Terry Austin, and Bob Wiacek, either, baby! Feast your focal fissures on these first-rate folios!


  1. Agreed on all counts.

    When this series was published, I had a classmate with whom I shared an interest in serious SF but who totally disdained comic books as subliterate trash and would never look at them. When I brought in Marvel Presents #12, he looked at the cover (a less than ideal one, depicting Nikki strapped to a table and menaced by a robot surgeon) and said "Do you realize that's the most outdated, cliched, stereotypical image of pulp science fiction possible? SF has moved past all that." I replied, "That's just the cover. This is what it looks like inside," and I flipped the comic open to the last image you present above, with the double page spread of Drydock. My classmate looked at it and slowly answered, "Oh…that's…actually not so bad."

    I described the premise of the issue to him, and he admitted it didn't sound entirely awful. Then I started describing Starhawk and Aleta and the Topographic Man, and he liked what he was hearing. For the first time, a literary snob found his interest was piqued by a comic book…and it was because of an Al Milgrom splash. If it hadn't been the last issue, I think I could have made a fan of him.

  2. I picked these up avidly from the newstands and Al's art blew me away! Along with his art on Captain Marvel at the time, it made these two cosmic titles my fave!

  3. lovely, not a stinker among them.

  4. I was a massive fan of his grossly under rated run on Peter Parker, Spectacular Spiderman, which I rate as some of his very best work.

  5. Are these issues available in collected form?

  6. Skip the collected format - if one even exists - and spend the few measly bucks it would take to acquire the original set.

    I bought these books back in the 70's (along with Al's Captain Marvel run) and really enjoyed them. I picked up a mint run of this series just a few years back for next to nothing and can't praise them highly enough.



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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

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