Against all odds, the Guardians of the Galaxy have swept the world as one of the most popular superhero teams, on par with the Justice League and the Avengers. They rose up from obscurity in a dark horse sort of way. You may not know this, but Guardians of the Galaxy debuted as a comic book team in 1969. The group has featured in various books and their solo series have gone in and out of print on numerous occasions, and they’ve had more roster changes than a minor league baseball team.
Prior to their introduction in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Guardians of the Galaxy had been around for decades and went through various dark times. Both the original team, led by individuals like Yondu and Starhawk, and the modern ragtag group, with megastars Groot, Star-Lord, and Rocket Raccoon, share extraordinarily tragic backstories. While the MCU's Guardians of the Galaxy are certainly no strangers to heartbreak, Disney and Marvel wisely chose to keep the very worst of the Guardians’ comic book canon from the big screen.
Comic Book Rocket Raccoon Was Created To Keep Psychiatric Patients Company
Rocket Raccoon’s personal history is tragic no matter which version you're discussing. In the movies, Rocket hints at a miserable past filled with cruel experimentation. In the comics, things are a little bit stranger. Rocket is also engineered by twisted scientists in the pages of Marvel Comics, but he’s created for a very specific purpose.
Rocket and a bunch of other anthropomorphic animal friends are built to keep patients company on a psychiatric facility that takes up an entire planet. When Rocket finds out his purpose in life, he escapes and begins his career as a space scoundrel. It’s easy to see why the MCU decided to skip ahead on this story.
Drax’s Daughter Is Less Innocent And More Femme Fatale In The Comics
Some of the saddest moments in both the Guardians of the Galaxy films and comics are those in which Drax reminisces about his slain daughter, Kamaria, who was murdered by Thanos. In the comic books, Drax was a human before he became the Destroyer. He lost a daughter to the vicious Titan, or so he thought. In actuality, Drax's daughter in the comics, Heather Douglas, is found and raised by Mentor, Thanos's father. Drax does not know this, and turns into a super-powered monster in order to seek his revenge.
Heather grows up to become Moondragon, an occasional Avenger known for being one of the first openly bisexual characters in Marvel Comics, and for wearing a costume that was outrageously revealing. Moondragon breaks bad on numerous occasions, and so she's quite dissimilar to Drax's innocent memories of Kamaria in the movies.
Star-Lord’s Comic Book Father Is Even Worse Than Ego
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Star-Lord’s father is revealed as Ego the Living Planet, charmingly portrayed by Kurt Russell. Ego turns out to be a total jerk and one of the most loathsome villains to ever appear in the MCU. In the comics, Star-Lord’s father is not Ego. Believe it or not, his father is actually a much worse person.
Peter Quill’s comic dad is J’Son, the king of the planet Spartax. Like Ego, J’son also impregnated, abandoned, and later murdered Peter’s mother, but then went on to become the dictator of an entire planet. J’Son is a corrupt and wicked leader who regularly betrays his cosmic allies and refers to human beings as “backwater apes.”
Groot Used To Be A Major Jerk
The Guardians of the Galaxy may be a family, but they’re not a particularly nice family. All of the team’s members are kind of jerks, with the exception of Groot, the MCU’s most adorable character. Groot is pretty chill in the comic books, as well, but it wasn’t always that way. Originally, Groot could speak and he used his voice to declare himself as the “Monarch of Planet X.”
Groot made his debut in Tales to Astonish #13 in 1960, making him one of Marvel’s oldest characters, and he carried dreams of space conquest when he first joined the Guardians. Groot’s personality was similar to Doctor Doom’s, but over time, he lost the ability to say anything other than “I am Groot.” Thus, he eventually lost the attitude, too.