Are you ready to meet the "Legendary Star-Lord?" Spinning out of Marvel Comics' ongoing "Guardians of the Galaxy" series, and timed to hit right before the first cinematic outing for the Studios' big-budget space-tacular, writer Sam Humphries is ready to bring Peter Quill's solo adventures to the masses.
"There was something about Star-Lord that I immediately gravitated to," Humphries told us over the phone, in advance of the title's official announcement at this year's C2E2 comic and entertainment convention in Chicago. "Star-Lord was something that I felt I could have a blast with."
Humphries has worked on a few titles for Marvel, but was searching for his next project when Star-Lord was mentioned by Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso.
"Pretty much before the words were out of Axel's mouth, I knew it was gonna be a great time," Humphries continued. "And I knew I was gonna take this on."
Peter Quill was first introduced in 1976 as a regular human kid who finds out his father is the alien king of a world known as Spartax. He travels into space, taking on the identity of Star-Lord — eventually joining up with the Guardians to fight evil and protect the galaxy.
"He's a charming motherf--ker!" Humphries said, laughing. "He's a down-to-Earth individual. Everyone has a friend like Peter Quill. He's cocky, he's arrogant, but he's always got your back."
He's also, as the title implies, legendary. Fans could read that as leaning into the joke from the trailer — Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) tells an alien he's Star-Lord, with the punchline being, "Who?" — and there will be that sense of humor, and adventure. But Humphries thinks the title is more than just a joke undercutting the hero.
"Peter sees himself as a legend because he can fly fast, and shoot fast, and flirt fast," Humphries said, "But what really makes someone a legend are things buried in yourself that you didn't know you had."
While Quill will continue to appear in the Brian Michael Bendis scripted "Guardians of the Galaxy" comic, a massive status quo change at the end of the current arc involving Peter's father will propel the character straight into his own book for the first time.
"The situation with Peter and J'son is about to come to a head in the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' book," Humphries said. "Brian is taking Peter right up to the ledge, with a really interesting and compelling character decision for him. What happens to Peter and his father reverberates in his solo book."
Fathers aside, members of the Guardians will appear in the book, as well as a new supporting cast — including one surprising addition, the X-Men character Kitty Pryde.
In a previous arc of the "Guardians" book, Quill and Pryde ended up meeting, sharing a brief kiss, and promising to stay in touch by using intergalactic phone services, because, you know, comic books. Humphries will be making this very strange, only possible in comics long-distance relationship a big feature of the books.
"You can't get that more long distance than the Earth to the edge of the galaxy," Humphries said, laughing. "They have this two-way holographic phone, and get to know each other across the stars, and see where this leads them. There's this heat on both sides, but we're going to see how their personalities actually mesh."
With all that in the air, you'd be forgiven from thinking there was no room for actual adventure. Not so! Humphries told us the book will be close in tone to a Western or heist book, exploring the, "outer reaches of the universe from a ground-level perspective. It's about con jobs, chasing the gold, and settling old scores."
And while the initial scope of "Legendary Star-Lord" might be small, it's a part of the rapidly widening cosmic side of the Marvel Universe. We previously announced a spin-off "Rocket Raccoon" series, but adding in "Star-Lord," "Guardians of the Galaxy," "Cyclops" and "Captain Marvel," all of which take place in space, you have the beginnings of something bigger.
"There are a lot of exciting characters in space in the Marvel Universe," Humphries said. "And a lot of exciting things we're going to develop into some very big league concerns for everyone in the Marvel Universe — whether you're on Earth, or in space. Those are some things we're starting to build from the very first issue."
Beyond the comics, "Legendary Star-Lord" hits comics stores in July, while "Guardians of the Galaxy" hits theaters on August 1. It's not just fortuitous timing, as the redesign of Star-Lord's costume in the comics brings him in line with his look on screen.
"I don't know anything more than you," Humphries said about any movie tie-in in the books, "But from what I've seen, my depiction of Star-Lord, and the movie Star-Lord come from the same source."
"Legendary Star-Lord," with art by Paco Medina, will hit stores in July. You can find out more at Marvel's "Next Big Thing" panel at C2E2, 4:15 p.m. CT on April 26.