Marvel Studios has released the first one-sheet poster for Guardians of the Galaxy, invoking imagery of the pulp sci-fi era with a shot of the titular heroes set against a painted otherworldly vista. The accompanying tagline speaks to the film's tone, which the poster and trailer both indicate walks the line between pure adventure and absurd comedy, while the rest of the text tells the observer, "Hey, we know you've no f***ing idea who these characters are, but we made these other movies you like so just trust us."

It's possible I care more about film posters, graphic design and illustration than most people who'd walk past this image in a local cineplex, but I really do believe in the power of a great piece of advertising. Throughout film history, the poster has been -- or has meant to be -- a graphic summation of its film's emotional experience. It's what you hang on your wall to relive the story when you don't have time to watch it, to remind you of what of the story you've made a part of yourself or reflects your own life, and of course to beautify your home or office. It's why an outfit like Mondo, which works with some of the best illustrators and designers to create gorgeous limited edition film posters, has resonated so strongly with the film and pop art scenes. Film posters are the movie version of comic book covers. These images matter -- or at least, they can matter.

As someone who thinks a lot about that stuff, I'm taken aback by how the Guardians poster defies you to dislike the film, and how succinctly the image embodies the filmmakers' stated desire to offer a "fresh diversion" from the typical superhero movie. The poster achieves that so well that it it forces one to recognize that Marvel's previous promotional images left much to be desired. The studio is plainly proficient at creating extremely popular and entertaining films based on Marvel comics, but its design efforts have been characterized by garish 3D animation, floating heads, floating bodies, bizarre perspectives, copious amounts of falling debris, and other overtly Photoshopped and decidedly humorless elements unbefitting a company with such a storied history in the graphic arts.

Let's hope the actual film is as fun as this image, and that its success will empower Marvel to take bigger creative risks.


Rocket Raccoon Co-Creator Bill Mantlo


If you enjoy the Guardians of the Galaxy comic books and plan to see the movie, consider making a donation to the continued healthcare costs of disabled Rocket Raccoon co-creator Bill Mantlo, who does not have an ownership stake in his Marvel Comics work. You can read more about Mr. Mantlo's life and plight in this in-depth article by Bill Coffin.

Mantlo is just one of numerous veteran comic book creators in need. You can learn more about artists like him and their lives at The Hero Initiative, the comic book industry's non-profit organization that offers aid to the men and women who created the industry and work which now fuels Hollywood's biggest success.

More From ComicsAlliance