So THAT’S what the Milano is…!

Everything about this was hard to draw.

Everything about this was hard to draw.

A few days ago, I posted art entitled “Quick, Guys…to the Milano!” That prompted a longtime reader to ask in the comments section, “What’s the Milano?” The simple answer was that the Milano was the name of Star-Lord’s spaceship in the film, “Guardians of the Galaxy.” If you’re someone who grew up in the late ’80s, Guardians of the Galaxy was excellent. There are so many references from that era littered throughout the movie, simply because the 80’s was the last time Star-Lord was on Earth.

So…the name of the ship. Is that some hard-core Marvel reference buried deep within the Guardians’ comic history? Nope. Not even close.

The Milano is named after Peter Quill’s childhood crush, Alyssa Milano. You know, the child star of “Who’s The Boss” and crush of zillions of boys during the eighties. Director James Gunn confirmed that himself, in a tweet:

“For those of you who asked, yes, Quill’s ship The Milano is named after his awesome childhood crush @Alyssa_Milano. #GuardiansoftheGalaxy”

From @JamesGunn, that’s pretty reliable information, I think. Ms. Milano re-tweeted this herself, so clearly, she was flattered.

It also does beg the question…if you got a hold of a spaceship, what would you name it? I mean…plenty of spacecraft in movies have names like the Enterprise, Challenger, and Yorktown. Very naval sounding. Star Wars tends to have things that are often less naval sounding, like the Millennium Falcon or the Ghost, or even Tantive IV, which sounds more NASA style.

Interestingly, the comics’ iteration of Star-Lord’s ship gave Gunn a huge amount of rein for naming….since the spaceship was named only “Ship” for most of the character’s existence. Ship. Very creative…although I shouldn’t throw stones. After all, Pony is called Pony.

The origins of the old school, non-Milano spaceship were pretty out there. Ship began as a sentient star….pretty abstract as a concept. She watched her planets grow and change, and eventually evolve life. One day, a race of beings arrived and wiped out the inhabitants of her planets, then caused her to explode, wiping out what life remained, and destroying all of the planets in her solar system. Dissipated over a great distance, her essence was gathered by the Master of the Sun and when Peter Quill came seeking aid, he turned the star into a ship, giving her to Peter Quill as Quill became Starlord.

Right? Doesn’t stop there.

In their adventures…Star-Lord was badly injured, and Ship created a human form to operate and save his life. When he revived, she pretended to be a woman who had found him, and named herself Caryth Halyan. Star-Lord and Caryth explored the planet, searching for what the Lorq had been after. She attempted to get romantic with Quill, but found the feelings this generated to intense for her. Possibly, this is the film’s referenced “pelvic sorcery.” They then encountered and saved the life of the Trinity-That-Is-One and its insectoid symbionts, with Star-Lord providing a water source to keep them alive. Then the Lorq attacked anew, slaying Caryth and destroying Ship before he could fight them off.

Complex? Don’t get started…keep going.

Ship, as a being of “primal energy,” was able to reform. Star-Lord guessed that she had been Caryth….and the two continued to have space adventures together, with Ship sometimes operating in her “human” cyborg form. Eventually Ship, and presumably Star-Lord, were caught in the pull of a black hole. Ship narrowly escaped destruction by “slingshotting” around the gravity well, but she crashed on the planet Bovric. There, after being stuck for a long time, she is found by the guy that would be the next Star-Lord, and finally given a real name Aurora.

The original, non-Milano Aurora ship.

The original, non-Milano Aurora ship.

To me, it seemed like this was just as good a Memorial Day post as any. Drawing vehicles is hard, and drawing likenesses is hard. Both could use some practice, and I liked the idea of the Star-lord ship somehow being able to generate a cyborg Ms. Milano. Over the years, through my career, we’ve crossed paths a few times, and she has always been friendly and supportive, so I figure that she’d be just as helpful as the comics’ Aurora cyborg.

The shape of the Milano ship is a CHORE. Although I was considering making use of it as a vehicle again…it was really hard making it work. Unlike the deceptively simple shapes of the Enterprise or the Falcon…there are a huge number of parts that need to be in place…not just simple detail work. It was a useful challenge. Also, working out a posture for the Milano-cyborg that would have the ship providing modesty, as well as her arms, and STILL look like a thing a person might actually do, was hard. The initial appearance, in the 70’s, of the Ship/Caryth cyborg was without clothes, and the legendary Carmine Infantino gave her modesty through flowing, wind blown, Godiva like hair. So…there’s some trivia as well…if you NEEDED hardcore Marvel Trivia today.

Given the way things are…I like the idea that the art generates. The feeling of freedom, of LEAVING, of adventure. My attachment to my car is such that the idea that it might have a mothering personality, or a caring element to it, while taking you away from the bad and toward the good…it’s an idea I like very much.

Next Issue: Project 42.

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