Friday, August 1, 2014

Growing Up Nerdy

by Adam Thas and Mike Pomaro
The Nerdy boys tell you everything you need to know before you see Guardians of the Galaxy.

Dear Growing Up Nerdy,

With Guardians of the Galaxy coming out, I’m a bit nervous that I won’t know all of these new characters. What should I do?

-Scarlett in Dover

Fear not, citizen. The mighty Growing Up Nerdy is here to save you! The “space” aspect of the Marvel comic world can be very overwhelming. Those of who you regular readers of this column know that I have quite the hard-on for DC. However, I can give credit where credit is due by admitting that Marvel does a better job with Outer Space.

DC is very disconnected, with a lot of different species and planets and almost no rhyme or reason to what they have. Marvel, on the other hand, seems to have a good grasp on what the “universe” of Marvel looks like. Before I get started on this I want to be clear that it’s nearly impossible to stay completely current with all of this and, more importantly, we all know that movies tell different stories than comics. With that said, you may get something different in the movie than what is presented here.

Additionally, I haven’t seen Guardians of the Galaxy yet and there may be some characters I don’t even have in here or ones that shouldn’t be here. With no further delay I present:

The F This Movie! Guide to All Those Crazy Marvel Characters

The Marvel Unviverse is made of four major empires and some significant alien races:

The Skrulls: Reptilian creatures with big ears, these guys are green shape shifters. They have battled on numerous occasions with the Kree. Currently their homeworld was destroyed by Galactus (the purple guy, not the cloud). Found in multiple Marvel comics, but mostly the Fantastic Four. (Famous Skrulls: Superskrull)

The Badoon: Another reptilian race. The Badoon are sexist. The women and men hated each other so much they decided to live on different planets in the same star system, only seeing each other to mate. The men are extremely aggressive while the women are pacifists. Hey! I know it’s a sterotype, but I didn’t write it.

The Shi’ar: Expanding over many galaxies, the Shi’ar Empire is more of an economic cooperative of many races, with the people of Shi’ar bloodlines having a bit more influence. A Shi’ar native has feathers on their his/her head, hollow bones and is very strong. They lay eggs, as they evolved from birds. With all that said, they look very human and are ruled by a royal family. (Famous Shi’ar: Gladiator and Lilandra)

The Kree: The Kree look just like humans except they are blue and hail from the planet Hala. They worship a being called the Supreme Intelligence and are very proud, nationalistic and warlike. They are slightly stronger than humans and like to genetically engineer badasses. Found in all Marvel comics, but most famously The Avengers. (Famous Kree: Captain Marvel)

The Spartoi: The Spartoi bloodlines can be traced to Shi’ar descent and hail from the planet Spartex. They are a relatively peaceful race that rule over a few hundred worlds and races. (Famous Spartoi: Starlord)

The Nova Corps: Pretty much Marvel’s version of the Green Lantern Corps. They are a group of ordinary individuals selected by the Nova Corps to be galactic policemen/crime-fighters. Led by the individual known as Nova Prime (played in the movie by Glenn Close).

J’son of Spartax: An alien from the planet Spartax and a member of the royal family. He crash lands near a farm on Earth, immediately pulls a Kirk and bones an Earth woman named Meredith. He knocks her up, fixes his ship and leaves. A real stand-up guy.

Meredith Quill: An alien crash-lands in her back yard and she decides to have sex with it. The alien (J’son) and her have a brief romance and ends with J’son leaving her pregnant with a half alien child. She is later killed by a member of the Badoon.

Thanos: The baddest of the bad. Thanos was born on Saturn’s moon Titan and is actually a physical deformity from the rest of his race (Eternals). Growing up a pacifist, Thanos eventually falls in love with the physical embodiment of death (Mistress Death). Constantly trying to please Mistress Death and win her love, Thanos kills his family and eventually gets hold of the Cosmic Cube and Infinity Gauntlet…. Bad stuff happens. (Played by Josh Brolin)

Ronan the Accuser: This guy is an absolute badass and one of my favorite characters in the Marvel universe. Ronan is a member of the Kree Empire and pretty much a military leader/governor -- the third most powerful being in the Kree Empire. You do not fuck with Ronan the Accuser. (Played by Lee Pace)
Starlord (Peter Quill): Peter Quill is the son of both J’son and Meredith and unknown to him, a decendent of the Spartax royal family, leader of the Spartoi. He encounters an alien/entity known as the Master of the Sun and is given a ship called “Ship”. Starlord becomes the leader of the group known as The Guardians of the Galaxy. (Played by Chris Pratt)
Gamora: Known as the “The Deadliest Women in the Galaxy” Gamora is the last member of her race called the Zen Whoberi. She has super strength and a healing factor. She was found as an orphan after her people were killed by the Badoon (or the Magus depending how old you are) by Thanos and raised to be an assassin. (Played by Zoe Saldana)
Drax the Destroyer: His original name was Arthur, a human whoes wife was killed by Thanos. A being know as Kronos took Arthur’s mind and placed it in a very powerful body with the sole purpose of killing Thanos, renaming him Drax. Drax originally had force blasts from his hands and flight, but newer versions do not have this. (Played by Dave Batista)
Rocket Raccoon: Okay, I’m not kidding about this. Rocket was originally a normal raccoon from the planet Halfworld. The planet Halfworld is a home for the mentally ill. No one from this planet wanted to take care of the inmates, so they genetically manipulated animals to walk upright and have human intelligence. Rocket cruised the universe with his friend Wal Russ (you guessed it, a walrus) in his ship the “Rack 'n Ruin” until he met up with Star-Lord on a mission to defend the Kree. Super smart, expert marksman. (Played by Bradley Cooper)
Groot: Groot is a giant tree person from the Planet X whose language is impossible to understand. Groot did not get along with the other tree people of Planet X and was exiled. He got in some trouble with the Kree but met up with Starlord and Rocket Raccoon (his best friend) and earned his freedom. He now fights with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Not bad for a guy who’s original origin was being capturing humans to be experiment on until he was defeated by termites (yep, still not kidding) (Played by Vin Diesel)
Nebula: Okay, she’s not as bad as Thanos, but she’s still pretty bad. Essentially a blue skinned pirate (probably of Kree decent), she takes control of one of Thanos’s old ships known as the Sanctuary II. She then terrorizes the galaxy in the ship claiming to be Thanos’s granddaughter. (Played by Karen Gillian)
The Collector: The collector was an immortal being around since the beginning of the universe. His family eventually decides they no longer want to be immortal and die. The Collector then spends his days collecting rare objects from around the universe, including infinity gems. Think Stan Lee was around a lot of comic dorks when he created this guy? (Played by Benicio Del Toro)
Yondu: Technically, Yondu is from the year 3000. Yondu is from the planet Centauri IV, the first planet outside our solar system to be colonized by humans. He eventually goes back in time and is part of the Guardians of the Galaxy. He has a mythical “sixth sense” and has a hard time speaking English. (Played by Michael Rooker).

Infinity Gems: These gems are the physical embodiment of the universe. They are Time, Space, Reality, Mind, Power, Soul. When someone controls all of the gems, they essentially become god and can do whatever he or she pleases.

I’m really curious to see how the writers dealt with all of the different characters in Guardians of the Galaxy. I know after you see the movie, some of you might want to read some of the Guardians of the Galaxy comics. The older ones are hard to come by, even in reprints. I would suggest the re-release of the book by Brian Michael Bendis and Steve McNiven.

Mike: Since I have absolutely nothing to add of any significance to the Guardians of the Galaxy discussion like my partner Adam has done, I’m instead going to draw inspiration from our fearless leader Patrick, who recently declared on a podcast that he’d love to have crazy alien sex with Gamora of the Guardians of the Galaxy, played by the sexy Zoe Saldana. So without further delay, and because no one asked for it, here are my Top Three sci-fi women that I’d like to spend the weekend aboard a Starship with.
1) Princess Leia (Star Wars): I know, I know. Of course Princess Leia. But of course Princess Leia. Like so many nerds out there, Princess Leia was my first crush (to be fair, G.I. Joe’s Scarlett was early on as well). The only question would be: which version of Leia should I choose? I know the obvious answer is “Slave Leia” from Return of the Jedi, but Leia on Bespin would probably be my choice. She truly does belong among the clouds, Lando.
2) Kelinda (Star Trek: The Original Series): As I’ve mentioned numerous times in the column recently, I am currently in the throes of a Star Trek love affair, having watched almost all of the Original Series over the last month or so. Every other episode is graced by a beautiful woman that Kirk will inevitably have sex with, claiming the lives of his crew were at stake if he didn’t. So while I could make this list four pages long of nothing but Star Trek alien women, I’m going to narrow it down to Kelinda, played by Barbara Bouchet in the episode "By Any Other Name." Why did I chose her, you ask? 1) She’s beautiful. 2) Google scenes from her 1972 movie Amuck (I’m looking at you, Doug). You’ll thank me later.
3) Gamora (Guardians of the Galaxy): I would totally have sex with Gamora. Patrick would find out and say, “Dude, I can’t believe you did that to me?” And I’d go, “Last time I checked, you were married, dude.” And he’d say, “Um, so are you, shithead.” And I’d stammer, “But…but…” And disguising his voice Patrick would say, “But you’re part of the team, right?” And I’d respond, “Did you just quote The Sandlot?” And Patrick would exclaim, “I totes did!” And I would say, “I thought you didn’t like that movie.” To which Patrick would reply, “Well, I didn’t, but I have to admit that over time its charm has really rubbed off on me.” And then I’d say, “Wow, that’s great and really open-minded of you.” And Patrick would respond, proudly, “It is”. I’d ask, “Have you also come around on The Goonies?” To which Patrick would say flatly, “No.”


  1. Regarding the lovely Barbara Bouchet: William Ware Theiss strikes again! Trekkies will already know this, but he was a costume designer for both the original series and Next Gen. He formulated the "Theiss Titillation Principle," which postulates that the sexiness of a costume is directly related to how "accident prone" it appears to be. Meaning myself and probably a lot of other teenaged boys watched Trek hoping for a wardrobe malfunction. Theiss's masterpiece is probably the gown worn by Leslie Parrish in "Who Mourns for Adonis?" It seems to stay on thanks mostly to magic.

    1. I still have so much to learn, Steve. TEACH ME.

    2. If you're looking for a little more Trek knowledge, a name every Trekkie should know is Wah Chang. He's a Chinese-American designer who worked on the original series. We have Mr. Chang to thank for the following iconic designs:

      The original tricorder
      The original communicator
      The Romulan Bird-of-Prey
      The Gorn seen in "Arena"
      The Salt Vampire seen in "The Man Trap"
      Spock's harp
      And, of course, tribbles!

      Chang never got the recognition he should have at the time because he did not belong to the union for special-effects specialists (I've heard the union refused to let him in, because he was clearly better at his job than most of their members). In fact, Star Trek could not use the Bird of Prey model for "The Enterprise Incident" because the union threatened to sue over Chang's participation. Desilu gave the model back to Chang, who in disgust took it into his backyard and smashed it to pieces.

    3. One last thought - I'd like to think that when Paramount redid the effects for the HD version of "The Enterprise Incident," they made one of the Romulan ships an original Bird of Prey as a tribute to Chang.

    4. Steve,
      That's an interesting story about about Wah Chang. As a Trek fan I am ashamed I did not know that.
      I did always wonder why the Romulans were using Klingon ships in "The Enterprise Incident". I believe the Star Trek retcon was that the Klingons gave the Romulans ships to use against the Federation. A sort of Klingon/Romulan lend-lease act. Well that was at least what I remember from the Star Fleet Battles board game.
      Now I know the real reason why.

  2. RE: "Top Three sci-fi women that I’d like to spend the weekend aboard a Starship with."

    Does Mathilda May count from "Lifeforce"? That might be my number one and I would still do it knowing she would kill me. Caroline Munro from "Starcrash" is definitely a contender.

  3. Thanks for the primer on Guardians of the Galaxy! I was talking with the office comic book geek about it yesterday and he started going into some of the backgrounds and I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa - shut up. I'll talk to some nerds I actually like about this (in case he somehow stumbles on this site, I'm just fooling around man, you're alright).

    I'm feeling pretty confident that I'm going to like the movie, the only thing that makes me hesitate is that they're just so damn good at making trailers these days and I hope it's not another case of the trailer being better than the movie (looking at you Man of Steel). Plus Adam Riske tweeted that it was only "fine" but I'm not sure I can trust that theatre-burnout's judgment lately. I guess the true test will be whether it's good enough to make me run out and buy that book you mentioned...

    And I'm totally with you on TESB Leia, Mike - definitely my fave as well.

    1. We are really lucky to have had 3 really great "Sci-fi" movies this year that have set the bar really high. Is guardians as good as Snowpiercer or Dawn of the Planet of the Apes? No. However I did have more FUN watching this movie than those. The movie is a blast, I really liked it and want to see it again.

    2. Was just thinking about how I've liked this year's sci-fi. Add Jodorowsky's Dune and Under the Skin to the list.

  4. Haven't seen the movie, but as I understand it, some other studio has the rights to the Badoon, and the movie has the Sakaaran (who in the comics were introduced in Planet Hulk) in the role the Badoon would have otherwise filled.

    1. I can't speak to the Rights of the Badoon but they are not in the movie. They change a lot from the comic book.

  5. Saw Guardians of the Galaxy Thursday night. The movie does have some exposition, obviously, but it just lets a lot of the weirdness be. Not necessarily expecting you to understand it, but expecting you to go along with it. Very Star Warsy in that sense.

  6. I'd like to get it on with Uhura. I don't need her to be green to be accepted as my lover. #Tolerance

    1. Gamora,Uhura, Neytiri: The Saldana Trifecta

  7. Thanks for this! It's a great primer for the property and gives certain things a bit more context. I saw GotG today. Man is it fun. I don't know if I was as COMPLETELY blown away by its greatness as I thought I was going to be, but there's LOTS to like in the movie. The main heroes are all wonderfully realized, and the movie is incredibly entertaining and funny. Anyone who is on the fence about it should definitely check it out.

    1. And surprisingly to me, I think Drax was my favorite. Some of his lines, especially, made me laugh, and he was a cool character.