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#ThrowbackThursday – Classic Comic Review

Marvel Preview #4 Part 1

Star-Lord First House: Earth!
Writer: Steve Englehart
Pencils: Steve Gan
Inks: Steve Gan
Cover Artist: Gray Morrow


Already off to a rocky start, the first Classic Comic feature won’t even be a comic book! Instead, it will feature one of Marvel’s magazines: Marvel Preview #4.

This may stand out to you as it is the first story and appearance of the Guardians of the Galaxy leader, Peter Quill, also known as Star-Lord! It also features a smaller story featuring a character named Prince Wayfinder. While he does not really become as big as a name as Star-Lord, he does still have ties to Guardians of the Galaxy. But more on that in the next installment of this feature.

One thing to note is that the black and white Marvel Previews were allowed to get away with was more adult themes and language. Because they were a magazine, the Comic Code of Authority did not impose the restrictions on them like their smaller counterpart. This made for much darker stories, often with a more realistic feel in terms of emotions and reactions.

Star-Lord First House: Earth!

The first story – Quill’s origin – opens up much differently than how recent books and the GotG film suggests. Quill’s father claims to his wife that baby Peter Quill looks nothing like him. Driven by jealousy, he takes baby Peter outside and attempts to kill him with an axe. Before he strikes the killing blow, he has a heart attack and dies in front of the child.

While that’s a shock to most new readers, the remainder of the story continues with its dark theme. In his early teens, Quill’s mother is killed by aliens- also in front of Peter. The police do not believe Quill, and so he vows to get his revenge. And that’s really what the primary motivation of Peter Quill becomes: revenge.

As the story progresses, the reader learns how Quill trains to become an astronaut – trying to find a reason to get into space to seek his revenge.

After losing his chance to become an astronaut at the time of selection, Quill attacks and shoots the man who took his place.

Once he gets up in the stars, he is met with the Master of the Sun who gives him the powers of Star-Lord. Doesn’t make sense? It’s still comic books, people!

With his powers, Quill is able to exact revenge on the aliens that killed his mother. However, he still questions why he feels revenge and anger. He decides to join the Master to continue his journey as Star-Lord and become the hero of space.

While the story was surprisingly excellent, I find the most exciting element to the story is Steve Gan’s work. His panels are fully fleshed out and greatly detailed with his own inks. The inks were very important in Quill’s story as it was a very dark – almost morbid theme. There is no shortage of violence in the story, and even when there is none, the overall tone is darkened by the anti-hero protagonist, Peter Quill.

Englehart’s balance of creating a believable yet broken hero in so many pages was quite the feat. However, the inexplicable appearance from the Master of the Sun almost seemed too far-fetched given the world he had already constructed for the reader.

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