While I’ve written a concise path on where to start with Guardians of the Galaxy comics, the rise of the Guardians as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s best cosmic team begs for a more comprehensive reading order, complete with guides for each core character.
The Guardians of the Galaxy have undergone three clear team iterations throughout Marvel’s history, with the original Guardians lineup bearing no resemblance to the more familiar lineup out of modern Marvel cosmic.
Below you’ll find a complete guide to Guardians of the Galaxy comics from the original lineup through present day. Enjoy the comics!
Guardians of the Galaxy Reading Order
Original Guardians of the Galaxy
For many fans of Guardians of the Galaxy, especially those who have grown to love the Guardians of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you’ll want to start with the modern Marvel Cosmic era beginning below with Annihilation.
If you really want to dive deep into Marvel history, though, and to see where original Guardians like Yondu come from, you can start here with the true origins of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s worth noting that no members of this Guardians crew are a part of the modern Guardians, although the original Guardians do continue to make appearances throughout the Marvel Universe.
Collects: Marvel Super Heroes (1967) 18, Marvel Two-In-One (1974) 4-5, Giant-Size Defenders 5, Defenders (1972) 26-29, Marvel Presents 3-12
Includes the Avengers Korvac Saga, in perhaps the most essential original Guardians reading of the 1900’s.
Collects: Thor Annual #6; Avengers (1963) #167-168, #170-177, and #181; Ms. Marvel (1977) #23; Marvel Team-Up (1972) #86; Marvel Two-In-One #61-63, and #69
1990’s Guardians of the Galaxy by Jim Valentino
Destined to a life of being overlooked, the Guardians returned in the 1990’s under the creative vision of Jim Valentino, for a lengthy run.
Collects: Guardians of the Galaxy (1990) 1-7, Annual 1
Collects: Collecting: Guardians Of The Galaxy (1990) 8-20
Collects: Guardians Of The Galaxy (1990) 21-29, Annual 2
Collects: Guardians Of The Galaxy (1990) 30-39, Annual 3; Material From Marvel Comics Presents 134
Collects: Guardians Of The Galaxy (1990) 40-50, Galactic Guardians 1-4, Guardians Of The Galaxy Annual (1991) 4
Collects: Guardians Of The Galaxy (1990) 51-62, Material From Guardians Of The Galaxy Annual 4
Modern Guardians of the Galaxy – Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning Run
The modern Guardians won’t really begin to form until Annihilation: Conquest, but it’s worth noting that the modern Marvel Cosmic era begins with the Annihilation event, and every arc really flows from there.
This is our first encounter with Peter Quill in the moder Marvel Universe, and while fans strictly here for the Guardians will want to jump to the first Abnett and Lanning collection, I recommend the Marvel Cosmic reading order for anyone looking to dive in deep.
If you want the true modern origins of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, look no further than the Annihilation: Conquest Star-Lord tie-in! Watch Groot’s dialogue evolve in real time!
For my money, the best Guardians of the Galaxy story arc ever told. I think it’s best when integrated in the full Marvel Cosmic picture, but you could conceivably just read these 25 issues and Thanos Imperative and come away fulfilled.
Collects: Guardians of the Galaxy #1 to #12
Collects: Guardians of the Galaxy #13 to #25
If you want to know more about Thanos, I recommend the Comic Book Herald complete Thanos reading order.
Marvel NOW! Guardians of the Galaxy – The Brian Michael Bendis Run
In anticipation of their Marvel Cinematic Universe debut the Guardians of the Galaxy were relaunched as part of Marvel NOW!, this time with 2000’s New Avengers writer Brian Michael Bendis at the helm.
The Bendis run focuses on the Guardians lineup MCU fans will recognize, moving well away from the more varied crew of the Abnett and Lanning days.
If you want to see how all these Guardians issues fit in within the context of the complete Marvel NOW! launch, I recommend Comic Book Herald’s Marvel NOW! reading order.
Guardians of the Galaxy Infinite Comic (2013) #1 to #4
Note that Guardians of the Galaxy issues #8 and #9 are crossovers with Marvel’s 2013 Infinity event. You can find their appropriate timeline placement within Comic Book Herald’s Infinity reading order.
Collects: Guardians of the Galaxy #1 to #10
Issues #11 to #13 of GoTG crossover with Bendis’s work on All-New X-Men, alternating issue by issue for the Trial of Jean Grey. You can find the full reading order in the Marvel NOW! guide.
Collects: Guardians of the Galaxy 11-13, All-New X-Men 22-24
The third volume of Marvel NOW! Guardians of the Galaxy comics starts to make some broader Marvel Universe connections, introducing Marvel NOW! Captain Marvel and Agent Venom. If you’re unfamiliar with either character, this collection will give you brief overviews.
Collects: Captain Marvel (2012) #1, Amazing Spider-Man #654 (B story), Free Comic Book Day 2014 (Guardians Of The Galaxy) 1, Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #14-17
Guardians of the Galaxy Original Sin tie-ins mark the official point when I stopped defending the Bendis run. For the first time in the run, Bendis addresses some of what Abnett and Lanning left behind, and it reads very much like the creative team and editorial never actually read the Abnett and Lanning run.
Nonethless, if you want to place this crossover within the Original Sin timeline (not a huge necessity honestly), you can check out Comic Book Herald’s Original Sin reading order.
Collects: Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #18-23, Annual #1
The original Guardians are back for their own series with Dan Abnett at the helm joined by Gerardo Sandoval!
Collects: Guardians 3000 #1 to #6
Issues #24 and #25 of Guardians of the Galaxy are part of the Black Vortex crossover event with the X-Men. You can find their placement in the timeline with Comic Book Herald’s Black Vortex reading order.
Additionally, note that Guardians Team-Up launches around this time, with tie-ins for the Black Vortex event.
Collects: Guardians of the Galaxy #24 to #27, Guardians Team-Up #1 to #5
Collects: Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Alpha 1, Guardians of the Galaxy 24-25, Legendary Star-Lord 9-11, All-New X-Men 38-39, Guardians Team-Up 2, Nova 28, Cyclops 12, Captain Marvel 14, Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Omega 1
Collects: Guardians Team-Up 6-10, Deadpool Team-Up 883
Collects: Guardians of the Galaxy: Best Story Ever (2015), Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorrow ‘s Avengers 1, Free Comic Book Day (2014) Rocket Raccoon 1, Guardians of the Galaxy : Galaxy ‘s Most Wanted 1; material from Thor (1966) 314, Logan’s Run 6, Marvel Holiday Special 2
During the events of 2015’s Secret Wars, Bendis teamed with artist Mike Deodato for this Guardians of Knowhere crossover. This is an “alternate reality” of sorts that makes the most sense set within the context of Secret Wars as a whole.
For timeline placement, check out Comic Book Herald’s Secret Wars reading order.
All-New All-Different Guardians of the Galaxy… Still by Bendis
If you thought the Guardians roster got weird during Marvel NOW!, just wait for All-New All-Different Marvel.
Collects: Guardians of the Galaxy (2015 – ) #1 to #5
Collects: Guardians of Infinity #1 to #8
Collects: Guardians of the Galaxy (2015 – ) #6 to #10
Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Infinite Comic
As you’d expect, these issues make more sense within the context of Civil War II. You can check out Comic Book Herald’s Civil War II reading order for placement.
Collects: Guardians of the Galaxy (2015 – ) #11 to #14
Collects: Guardians of the Galxy (2015 – ) #15 to #19