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COURGA race
(of Reality-691)

Classification: Extradimensional (Reality-691) extratemporal (31st century) extraterrestrial humanoid-canids

Location/Base of Operations: Courg, third planet from the sun in the Bledsoe star system of the Milky Way Galaxy

Known Members: Atur, Atur's brother (name unrevealed, deceased), Atur's father (name unrevealed, deceased), Atur's mate (name unrevealed), Atur's son (name unrevealed, deceased), enraged knife-wielder (name unrevealed), fearful parent (name unrevealed), Dr. Pazz-Ko, Dr. Roh-Ma
Estimated population: (20th century) 20 million;
   (early 31st century) unrevealed;
   (3018 A.D.) much diminished, possibly on the verge of extinction

Affiliations: Guardians of the Galaxy (Vance Astro, Charlie-27, Martinex T'Naga, Nikki Gold, Starhawk/Stakar, Aleta Ogord, Yondu Udonta), Firelord (Pyreus Kril)

Enemies: The Stark (including Taserface), Force (especially Photon)

First Appearance: Marvel Presents#5 (June, 1976);
   (race and homeworld identified) The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe II (Deluxe Edition) #15 (March, 1987)

Powers/Abilities: None known

Limitations: Some Courga have difficulty telling aliens apart because all "furless ones" look alike to them.

Cultural Traits: The Courga are a gentle and peaceful race who are not used to violence and ill-equipped to defend themselves against attackers. However, some Courga are more capable of violence against perceived threats.

   Some (or many or all) Courga may worship a male entity known as "Zan" who may be a deity. "Zan, in all his wisdom" and "Zan help me" are two phrases sometimes used by his followers.

Type: Humanoid-canids
Eyes: Two (red)
Fingers: Two (plus opposable thumb)
Toes: Two
Skin color: Brown
Fur color: Orange (with red eyebrows)
Average height: 7' 2"

Type of government: Tribal (possibly only in the 20th century)

Level of technology: In the early 31st century, some members of the Courga race had technology that was comparable to that of Earth, and either possessed or had access to starships capable of interstellar travel. However, for reasons that have not been revealed, Courg itself was a "low-tech" world where the inhabitants did not have or use any advanced technology.

History:
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe II#15: Alien Races Appendix: Courga entry) - Courg was the third planet from the sun in the Bledsoe star system of the Milky Way galaxy.

(Guardians of the Galaxy I#1 (fb) - BTS) - At some point after the 26th century, an alien whose identity has never been revealed visited Courg and hid a clue at a certain location on the planet. This clue was part of a series that led to the planet where Captain America's shield had been placed for safekeeping. The exact coordinates of the clue on Courg were part of a (different) clue in the Books of Antag.

(Guardians of the Galaxy I#1 (fb) - BTS) - In the early 31st century, Courg was "an out-of-the-way low-tech world."

(Marvel Presents I#5 (fb) - BTS) - Dr. Pazz-Ko and Dr. Roh-Ma were Courga psychologists who were probably born in the late 30th century. At some point they were hired to be the two chief caretakers of a world which had been turned into a mental institution for the most hopelessly neurotic beings from approximately fifty loosely-confederated planets in its sector of the Milky Way Galaxy, a planet that had come to be called, simply, Asylum. Under normal circumstances, visitors were strictly prohibited from contact with the planet's surface and its inhabitants.

(Marvel Presents I#5 (fb) - BTS) <3016 A.D.> - When their scanners detected a disabled starship in orbit around Asylum, Dr. Pazz-Ko and his pilot-associate, Dr. Roh-Ma, took immediate action. They contacted the ship, the Captain America, and spoke with the only person aboard, Martinex, who explained that his four friends had teleported down to the planet because their ship's life-support systems were failing. Martinex also revealed what material was needed to repair the ship, and the caretakers had one of their space-shuttles deliver what he requested.

(Marvel Presents I#5) - Dr. Pazz-Ko and Dr. Roh-Ma manned another of their space-shuttles to retrieve the four visitors. Discovering them grouped together in a rioting mob of thousands, the shuttle flew above the crowd, terrifying the street people. Dr. Pazz-Ko used the shuttle's highly-refined tractor beam to pluck the four from amongst the crowd and hoist them aboard. As Dr. Roh-Ma then took the craft up into orbit, Dr. Pazz-Ko explained to their guests all about Asylum and its patients. As they approached the Captain America, Pazz-Ko stated that they were now delivering the lost crewmen and said "Journey in peace!" as the Guardians were teleported back to their ship (by Martinex?).

(Guardians of the Galaxy I#1 (fb) - BTS) <3017 A.D.> - An alien cyborg warrior known as Taserface arrived on Courg and claimed the planet for his race, the Stark. Taserface set up an automated gun turret to defend his claim against other alien visitors but he otherwise considered the planet to be an "insignificant mud ball" and left, preferring to stay aboard his starship in nearby space. For their part, none of the Courga seemed to be concerned about the fact that a Stark had claimed their world. Presumably this was because they either did not know that Taserface had claimed their planet or they knew of his claim but not that it was a prelude to an invasion by the Stark space fleet that would lead to their race being enslaved and their homeworld being strip-mined for its minerals.

(Guardians of the Galaxy I#1 (fb) - BTS) - The band of alien criminals known as Force arrived on Courg looking for that clue that had been hidden at a specific location. Force found the clue and removed it, but their presence on Courg was detected by Taserface's sensors. The Stark scout transmitted field report 057022 to his superiors about the trouble that Force had caused on the planet, but it is unclear if he and Force even encountered each other.

(Guardians of the Galaxy I#2-3 (fb) - BTS) - During Force's stay on Courg, at least one of the natives was callously murdered by one of the aliens for reasons that have never been revealed. Atur, the litter-brother of the victim, saw "a blue one" (i.e., a Centaurian (Photon)) commit the murder. Atur came to believe that his brother's soul screamed for vengeance and that avenging his brother's death by killing an alien was the only way for him to find salvation for his brother's soul.

(Guardians of the Galaxy I#1) - Only days later, a second group of aliens, the adventurers known as the Guardians of the Galaxy, arrived in the Bledsoe system in their starship, the Freedom's Lady, and teleported down from orbit to the planet Courg. Once there, the aliens inadvertently triggered Taserface's hidden gun turret which opened fire on them, but they were able to swiftly destroy it without suffering any injuries. However, this doomsday machine remained functional enough to send a distress signal to Taserface aboard his ship in nearby space, causing him to become irritated that trespassers had violated his claim to Courg for the second time in a matter of days.

   Meanwhile, back on Courg, the Guardians looked for signs of an "invasionary force" that might have left the turret but found nothing so they decided to consult the natives who had been fearfully watching the violence. Seeing that the Courga looked pretty spooked by the visitors, Yondu Udonta attempted to communicate their peaceful intentions to the natives but they reacted badly to him (because he looked like the alien murderer). As one Courga whispered a plea that Yondu not hurt his (or her) pup, a large and muscular male with a knife leaped at the Centaurian, screaming, "MURDERER! I'LL KILL YOU!" Not wishing to harm his seemingly-mad attacker, Yondu defended himself by flipping the attacker who landed very heavily. In response, a by-stander shouted "MONSTER!" and then all of the on-lookers quickly retreated into their homes. These Courga remained out of sight while the Guardians searched unsuccessfully for the clue, ultimately realizing that someone else had found it before them. The Guardians then battled and defeated Taserface, a victory that caused more Stark warriors to teleport down to the battle zone as reinforcements.

(Guardians of the Galaxy I#2) - As the Guardians of the Galaxy began to battle the recently-arrived Stark cyborg warriors, those Courga who were watching felt a growing horror. Realizing that they had no defense against this violence, they retreated to the questionable protection of their huts.

   During the battle, a Stark warrior struck Yondu from behind with a blow so powerful that it sent the Centaurian hurtling 50 feet through the air and through the roof of the home where Atur lived with his mate and pup. Seeing the blue-skinned alien lying unconscious on his floor, Atur realized that this was his opportunity to avenge his brother's death and gain the vengeance for which he believed his brother's soul screamed. To that end, Atur cautiously removed the alien's dagger from its scabbard and prepared to use it to slash the alien's throat.

(Guardians of the Galaxy I#3) - As the battle between the Guardians and the Stark continued outside, Yondu awoke in Atur's hut and found the Courga holding a knife to his throat with trembling hands. Yondu asked if the Courga was going to kill him and Atur replied that yes, he was, because he had to but then said no, he could not, because he was too weak and his brother's soul was lost. Yondu told Atur that it was strength and not weakness to show compassion and, as Atur's mate came to hold him, Yondu reassured Atur that his brother's soul would rise with Atur's strength and know peace from his mercy. Yondu explained that he and his friends meant Atur's people no harm and sought only to protect them from the metal warriors, and then asked why Atur seemed to fear him above the other aliens. When Yondu asked if the Courga had been visited by another who looked like him, Atur replied that he was unsure because "all you furless ones" looked alike to him but that he had seen "a blue one" who was his brother's killer. Yondu then left to rejoin the battle but asked Atur to promise to talk to him when the battle was over.

 

 

(Guardians of the Galaxy I#4) - After the Freedom's Lady was destroyed in orbit by a Stark warship, the Guardians continued to battle the Stark on Courg, but the hostilities didn't end until Firelord arrived and set Taserface on fire. The Guardians then rendered the surviving Stark harmless by removing their armor, and Yondu spent over two hours looking for Atur without success. It was only then that the Guardians left Courg, with Firelord carrying them up to the Stark warship that Starhawk had previously secured for them. The Courga watched them go with mixed feeling, appreciating the good that the Guardians had done but also seeing all around them the destruction that the aliens had caused. The Courga were mostly just relieved to see the aliens leave.

 

 

 

 

(Guardians of the Galaxy I#19 (fb)) - The Lord of Fire (Firelord) remained on Courg until all of the surviving Stark warriors had been teleported away by others of their race who had come to retrieve them, then he left the planet as well. However, neither he nor the Stark did anything about the dead bodies of the Stark who had been killed in battle. For some unrevealed reason, the Courga also left the bodies alone and as they decomposed they released alien diseases that spread throughout the Courga population. The most vulnerable Courga were the pups and the old ones, and they were the first to die. In one day, Atur buried his father in the morning and his son in the afternoon, and by evening he was wondering who would be left alive to bury him.

 

(Guardians of the Galaxy I#19 (fb)) - Soon afterwards, the Stark returned to Courg seeking vengeance for their loss. With nobody there to stop them, the Stark were free to attack the Courga. Stark ground troops used energy blasters and artificial claws while Stark ships in the sky fired energy beams down at both people and buildings. The Courga population was decimated and, by the time the Stark were satisfied and had left, few Courga were left alive on their homeworld.

 

 

 

(Guardians of the Galaxy I#18-19) <3018 A.D.> - While Martinex was traveling from Earth to Main Frame's world aboard the Captain America II, the starship's course passed near Courg so Martinex decided to briefly stop and look in on the Courga to see how they had progressed. After beaming down to the exact place where the Guardians had battled and defeated the Stark, Martinex was surprised to find that the location, which had been thriving and full of life only a year and a half previously, was now deserted, with only graves and unburied bones amidst the ruins of buildings. As Martinex knelt on the ground, wondering what could have happened, Atur leapt at him with a knife while screaming out, "MURDERER! You killed us all!"

    However, Atur's attack was clumsy enough that Martinex was able to easily disarm him and pin him to the ground. Unable to resist, Atur told Martinex to go ahead and kill him because that was all that he deserved. Atur then stated that he should have killed the "blue-demon" when he had had the chance because that would have averted what had happened. When a puzzled Martinex asked what he was talking about, Atur asked if he really did not know what had happened on Courg, and Martinex replied that the last he had heard Firelord had evacuated the Stark. A bitter Atur then told Martinex what had occurred, revealing how the "Lord of Fire" had left the dead Stark bodies behind, how those bodies had released alien diseases that spread throughout the Courga population, how Atur's father and son had died on the same day, and how the Stark had returned and killed most of the Courga who had survived the diseases before leaving. A shocked Martinex muttered that the Stark "weren't supposed to..." but was interrupted by a crying Atur who asked what had he expected and if he had truly believed that a show of force would solve the problem? Atur then stated that Martinex and his friends had been long gone and probably "liberating" some other poor world without ever considering the consequences of the battles they had fought! When Martinex feebly protested that they hadn't known, Atur replied that no, they hadn't cared because they had been so flush in their precious "victory!"

(Guardians of the Galaxy I#20 (fb) - BTS) - Martinex took Atur with him when he left Courg.

(Guardians of the Galaxy I#20) - Now on Main Frame's world, Atur curiously inspected his new surroundings while Martinex and Main Frame discussed how the Guardians had failed Courg by not anticipating what would happen after they left.

 

All of Reality-691 (including the Courga and their homeworld) was destroyed along with the rest of the Sixth Multiverse by the Beyonders

Comments: Dr. Pazz-Ko and Dr. Roh-Ma created by Steve Gerber, Allen Milgrom and Howard Chaykin.
   Courga race created/named by the staff of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Deluxe Edition (led by Head Writer Mark Gruenwald).
   Courgans created by Jim Valentino.

   The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition gives "Courga" as the name of this species and uses both "Courga" and "Courgas" as the plural form of that name. However, no mention is made of what term should be used when referring to a single member of the Courga race. Stories in the first Guardians of the Galaxy series use the term "Courgan" to describe individuals but they also use both "Courga" and "Courgans" to refer to groups. In the absence of an official determination, I decided to use "Courga" for both individuals and groups.
   For anyone who really has to know, in the first four issues of Guardians of the Galaxy series the words "Courgan" and "Courgans" are each used three times while the word "Courga" is only used (as a plural) twice. Hmmm, maybe I chose the wrong word?

   So far, no members of the Courga race have appeared in any story set in the Earth-616 reality (now known as Prime Earth).

   Regarding Dr. Roh-Ma, I've read Marvel Presents#5 dozens of times in the decades I've owned it but, until maybe fifteen minutes before I typed these words, I had never noticed that Roh-Ma actually did appear in that story. If one looks closely at the last panel on page 16, in the shadowed background a chair can be seen with the head of the person seated there showing above the back of the chair. Since the person is facing away from Pazz-Ko and Major Astro as they talk, his face cannot be seen but, if one magnifies the image, the seated figure does appear to have floppy ears (like Pazz-Ko's) that are hanging down either side of his head. Having just done that, I now feel better about accepting the Official Handbook's statement that Roh-Ma was also a Courga. Of course, since the genders of the two doctors were never revealed, either in-story or in the handbooks, one or both of them could have been female.

   Courga have been depicted with smaller ears that are pointed up or out or with larger floppy ears that hang down. Some individuals have been observed with their ears sometimes being up and sometimes hanging down.

   Since Dr. Pazz-Ko worked at a planet-wide mental institution that cared for patients from approximately fifty loosely-confederated planets in its sector of the Milky Way Galaxy, it would be reasonable to assume that Courg was one of those fifty worlds. However, it seems likely that a planet could only be a member of this interstellar confederation if they were able to interact with the other members and that's something that Courg, being a low-tech world, could not do. Of course, Pazz-Ko's presence on Asylum shows that at least some Courga did not live on their homeworld. Maybe those Courga who were living on other planets were allowed to be part of the confederation even if Courg wasn't?

   The tragic fate of the Courga race is undoubtedly the Guardians of the Galaxy's greatest failure. As Atur pointed out, it was unbelievable that they (and Firelord) were somehow unable to anticipate that a show of force on a single planet would not be enough to permanently dissuade a race of ruthless interplanetary conquerors like the Stark. This is especially true for the Guardians since they had spent eight years fighting a war against the similarly-murderous Brotherhood of Badoon. Writer Jim Valentino had Martinex refer to this tragedy as "What (the Guardians) did to Courg" at the beginning of a storyline in which Martinex started to consider what the exact nature of the new, expanded team of Guardians he was proposing was going to be (i.e., a police force, a light army or "just a superheroes club"). This would lead to Martinex's Galactic Guardians who only appeared a few times and never became anything more than just another team of Guardians. Valentino had plans for a story, set 500 years after the 31st century, in which the Guardians had thousands of members divided into smaller sub-groups who were each assigned to patrol their own sectors of the galaxy but he was "relieved of (his) duties on the book" well before he could get to that story.

   Looking back on the Courg storyline now, it seems to me to be a precursor to the "Stamford Incident" involving the New Mutants. In both cases, a team of "super-heroes" intervened in a situation, things went very badly and MANY people were killed as a result. I don't know if there are any real-world laws by which people who allow mass murders to occur can be held criminally responsible for those deaths if their only role was being stupidly incapable of foreseeing consequences that should have been blindingly obvious. If such laws did exist in Reality-691 at that time, then the Guardians and Firelord would be as guilty, in their own way, as the Stark warriors who committed the genocide. As it turns out, the whole point is moot since: A) the Stark never appeared again (except for Overkill who was sent to kill the Guardians) and B) the Courga race has NEVER been even mentioned since GOTG I#20. Out of sight, out of mind, and it's like it never even happened. Still, it would have been interesting to see how an interstellar police force (like the Nova Corps?) would have addressed the culpability of the Guardians and Firelord in this matter.

   While working on this profile there were times when I found myself thinking that the Courga had brought some of the death upon themselves. After all, Atur was aware that dead bodies can release deadly diseases if left to rot and yet the Courga neither buried nor cremated those Stark bodies. Perhaps their fear of how the Stark might have reacted overrode their common sense? However, the fact that Taserface had claimed Courg for the Stark before the Guardians ever arrived on the planet suggests that they were already pretty much doomed by then. Of course, being enslaved by the Stark would have resulted in a far smaller number of deaths (at least in the short term) than being the victims of a genocide did. Plus, it was the fact that the Guardians killed some of the Stark warriors that caused there to be any dead Stark bodies to be left lying around and provoked the Stark into seeking vengeance for those deaths. All in all, I guess the Guardians really were more responsible for what happened to the Courga than the Courga were. This would be an example of the "Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!" trope.
--The Courga didn't help themselves and they blamed everyone else for their problems. Did the Guardians inflame the Stark by defending the Courga from them? Probably. Would a life of slavery have been preferable to them given how they didn't help themselves, blamed everyone for their problems, and wanted others to do everything for them? Probably.
--I guess the argument is that the Guardians should have just let Taserface and the Stark slaughter the Courga and walk away? Good samaritans help people out at a moment in time...but that doesn't make them responsible for taking care of those people for the rest of their lives.
--Snood

Problems with the Official Handbook's profile
   The Official Handbook's quarter-page entry on the Courga race contains several inaccuracies. First, although the skin color of the Courga has always been listed as being brown, their actual skin color looks orange to me. Or maybe the Courga do have brown skin that is entirely hidden beneath their orange fur?

   Second, although The Official Handbook's entry states that the Courga have three fingers, that entry's image depicts a Courga who clearly only has two digits on each of his hands. THIS IS WRONG...but not in the way you might think. At the time when the OHotMUDE was published, the only Courga who had ever been seen was Dr. Pazz-Ko and the only image of his arms showed them ending in hands which seemingly had only two digits each. Presumably these fingers were in opposition to enable better grasping by the Courga but that's not what was depicted in the handbook image. In any event, all other Courga who have ever been seen in other Marvel stories, starting with Guardians of the Galaxy I#1, definitely had three digits on each hand, two fingers plus an opposable thumb.

   Third, the Official Handbook's entry provides conflicting information about Courga technology. Their level of technology is listed as being "Inferior to Earth" but there's also a note which states that "By the 30th Century, the Courga have developed technology comparable to Earth in at least one alternate reality." Although it seems obvious to me that this was meant to indicate that the level of Courga technology IN THE 20TH CENTURY was inferior to that of Earth in the 20th century, some people who read this apparently did not come away with the same understanding. And that leads to this next problem.

Level of technology possessed by the Courga
   The first Courga ever seen, Dr. Pazz-Ko, existed in the GOTG future timeline where he was one of the chief caretakers of the interstellar mental institution planet commonly known as Asylum. While performing his duties, Pazz-Ko exhibited a familiarity with the advanced technology used in that institution. As a result, Reality-691 was meant to be the "at least one alternate reality" where, according to the Official Handbook, the Courga had developed technology that was, in the 30th century, comparable to that of Earth. However, when the Guardians of the Galaxy visited Courg in the year 3017 A.D., the planet was described as a "low-tech world" and a "technologically unsophisticated planet" whose inhabitants did not appear to use any advanced technology at all. Although the most likely real-world reason for this discrepancy is an error on the part of writer Jim Valentino, no in-universe explanation has ever been provided. So, here are two explanations that have occurred to me:

Explanation #1: The GOTG stories are right and the Official Handbook is wrong. As a race, the Courga in the 30th century had NOT developed technology that was comparable to that of Earth. Instead, it was only due to alien interference that Pazz-Ko ever left Courg and thus had the opportunity to become familiar with advanced technology. While this idea is possible, it does rely on the unlikely possibility that unspecified aliens just happened to be monitoring a low-tech planet like Courg and somehow saw something in Pazz-Ko that prompted them to offer him the chance to leave his homeworld.

Explanation #2: Both the Official Handbook and the GOTG stories are right. In this scenario, Courg was once a planet whose inhabitants gradually developed technology that slowly became more and more advanced. However, at some point the goals of the Courga people diverged. While some of the Courga wanted to develop technology that would enable them to leave their planet and voyage among the stars, others wanted to return to a simpler, more natural way of life, one without so much technology. Despite their opposing goals, these two groups co-existed peacefully on Courg until, eventually, the expansionists finally developed space flight technology. Once they could travel to and settle on other planets, the pro-tech expansionists began to do just that, and their numbers on Courg began to decrease. This, in turn, caused there to be fewer families on Courg to generate offspring who would be raised with an understanding of technology. As the number of expansionist families on Courg dwindled, the number of naturalist families were not affected, and their percentage of the population of Courga on Courg steadily increased. At some point, the last of the tech-savvy Courga on Courg either died out or left the planet, and those Courga who remained on their homeworld no longer possessed the technology and scientific knowledge that their ancestors once had. And so, by the early 31st century, Courg was a low-tech world while the Courga who lived on other planets and in space did possess and use advanced technology.

   Personally, this second explanation, speculative though it may be, sounds quite good to me. At the very least, it's definitely a lot more plausible than the first option, which it the only other idea that occurred to me. Plus, if there were large numbers of Courga living on other planets, then the Stark attack that killed almost all of the Courga on Courg would not have made the race itself almost extinct.
--Always my preference (and the long-standing precedent from Marvel) to make both versions work than to try to make one right and one wrong.
--Snood

   The Courga are one of the five alien races listed in the Alien Races Appendix to the second volume of the OHotMU who were first seen in stories set in the alternate 31st century future of the Guardians of the Galaxy. The other four races are (in order of appearance):
1. The Centaurians from Centauri-IV (Marvel Super-Heroes II#18);
2. The Entemen (Marvel Presents#5);
3. The Achernonians (Thor Annual I#6);
4. The Procyonites (Thor Annual I#6)
   Of these five alien races, the Centaurians were the only ones with a member (Yondu Udonta) who appeared in multiple issues. They were also the only race whose name and homeworld name were not invented by the Official Handbook staff. Considering how minor the characters of Dr. Pazz-Ko, Mr. Slech, Brahl and Tork were, their races hardly seem to be significant enough to deserve having entries written about them. In fact, it seems likely that their races and the data about them were "made up" just so that there would be enough races to fill the 128 quarter-pages that had been set aside for them in OHotMU II#15. If that was what happened, then it seems unlikely that much thought was given to developing the backstories of these races.

    I'm not sure that the year and a half between publication dates matches the actual time passed in the story (Comic writers like to do that), but it's not Earth-616's modern era.
--Snood

    Earth-691 was destroyed by the Beyonders, but was very likely restored by Franklin Richards.
--Snood

    I would think, given the time of the publication, that the name of their star system might have been an homage to Tempestt Bledsoe (the youngest of the original cast on the Cosby Show). It seems a bit too early temporarly for football player Drew Bledsoe...or maybe it's some other Bledsoe I never heard of...
--Snood

Profile by Donald Campbell.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Courga race has no known connections to


Atur

   An adult male Courga who was living on the planet Courg in the early 31st century. Prior to the year 3017 A.D., Atur was a gentle family man who had a mate and a son, and other family members including his litter-brother and their father, all of whom seem to have lived in the same village.

   In 3017 A.D., Atur's happy life swiftly fell apart due to a series of alien visitations. The first alien to visit was a Stark cyborg scout who claimed the planet for his race. Although the Stark's arrival would eventually have dire consequences for the Courga race, initially none of them seemed concerned, presumably because they were unaware of the fact that the claim was a prelude to a Stark invasion. Atur was probably as blissfully ignorant as the rest of his race.

   Sometime later, a second alien visitation resulted in a more immediate tragedy for Atur and his family. The team of seven alien criminals known as Force arrived in Atur's village seeking a hidden clue that would lead them to a legendary invincible shield. These aliens successfully found and removed the clue but then, under circumstances that have never been revealed, they had an encounter with Atur's litter-brother that ended in violence. As Atur watched, one of the aliens (presumably Photon) callously murdered Atur's brother. The aliens then left the planet.

   Traumatized by the murder he had witnessed, Atur came to believe that his brother's soul was screaming for vengeance so he swore to avenge his death. Presumably in accordance with Courga spiritual beliefs, Atur knew that the only way that he could find salvation for his brother's soul and prevent its loss was for him to gain that vengeance by killing an alien.

   "Mere days" later, another group of aliens, the Guardians of the Galaxy, arrived in the village, also searching for that hidden clue. Atur and his family apparently remained within the safety of their hut while the Guardians dealt with an automated gun turret that had been set up earlier by the Stark scout, searched unsuccessfully for the now-removed hidden clue, defeated the Stark scout and were confronted and attacked by over twenty other Stark warriors who had arrived to rescue their fallen comrade.

   During the ensuing battle, the Centaurian Guardian Yondu was struck by a Stark warrior and sent hurtling 50 feet through the air and through the roof of Atur's home. Seeing the blue-skinned alien lying unconscious on his floor, Atur thought that Zan, in all his wisdom, had given him the opportunity to avenge his brother's death. Ignoring the protestations of his mate as she held their son, Atur carefully approached the fallen alien, cautiously removed Yondu's dagger from its scabbard and prepared to use it to slash Yondu's throat. However, as Atur held the knife at Yondu's throat, believing that the right thing to do was to kill the alien so that he could find salvation for his brother's soul, Atur could not stop himself from shaking and weeping for all their souls.

   As Atur remained kneeling beside his intended victim with the knife held in his trembling hand, Yondu regained consciousness and asked if Atur was going to kill him. Atur replied, "Yes! I must!" but his voice faltered and he said, "no...I...cannot." Atur then accused himself of being "too weak" and stated that his brother's soul was lost. However, Yondu disagreed and told Atur that it was not weakness to show compassion, it was strength. As Atur's mate came to hold him, Yondu reassured the Courga that his brother's soul would rise with Atur's strength and know peace from his mercy. Yondu explained that he and his friends meant Atur's people no harm and sought only to protect them from the metal warriors. As he prepared to rejoin his fellows, Yondu stated that he must know why Atur's people seemed to fear him more than the other aliens and asked if Atur had seen another alien visitor who looked like him. Atur replied that he was unsure because "all you furless ones" looked alike to him but that he had seen "a blue one" who was his brother's killer. Before leaving the hut, Yondu asked Atur to promise to talk to him when the battle was over. Atur apparently made that promise but then didn't keep it and Yondu, after Firelord had arrived and brought the conflict to an end, was unable to find Atur despite searching for over two hours.

   With the Stark warriors all either killed or defeated, the Guardians left to continue their quest for the shield. Firelord remained on Courg until other Stark had arrived, teleported away all of the living Stark and left, and then Firelord departed as well. However, neither he nor the Stark did anything about the bodies of the Stark warriors who had died on Courg. For some reason, the Courga neither buried nor burned the dead Stark and, as those corpses decayed, they began to release alien diseases into the environment. The Courga had no natural defenses against these alien diseases and lethal sicknesses spread quickly through their population, with the most vulnerable, the young and the old, being the first to die. Atur's family was severely affected by this plague. In the space of one day, Atur buried his father in the morning and buried his son in the afternoon and by that evening Atur was wondering if anyone would be left alive to bury him.

   As bad as things were on Courg already, they soon became even worse when the vengeful Stark returned and began to slaughter those Courga who had survived the plague. By the time the Stark were satisfied and left Courg, there were few Courga left alive on their homeworld. Atur was one of those few survivors.

   Atur managed to survive on his devastated homeworld for over a year. During that time, Atur remained in the vicinity of the ruins of his home village (or he left and later returned) but, believing the situation to be hopeless, he did not rebuild the deserted village. Atur either made no attempt to bury the dead bodies of the Courga killed by the Stark attack or he started to bury them but gave up before completing the task.

   Eventually, a year and a half after the Guardians had left the planet, the Pluvian Guardian Martinex decided to stop by Courg and see how things had progressed since the Guardians had saved the Courga from the Stark. After teleporting down to the spot where they had battled the Stark, Martinex was surprised to find the once-thriving village to be deserted and in ruins, with unburied bones lying amidst multiple graves. As Martinex knelt to examine a grave, Atur spotted him and leapt at him with a knife while screaming out, "MURDERER! You killed us all!" However, Atur's attack was clumsy enough that Martinex was able to easily disarm him and pin him to the ground. Unable to resist, Atur told Martinex to go ahead and kill him because that was all that he deserved. Atur then stated that he should have killed the "blue-demon" when he had had the chance because that would have averted what had happened.

    When a puzzled Martinex asked what he was talking about, Atur asked if he really did not know what had happened on Courg, and Martinex replied that the last he had heard Firelord had evacuated the Stark. A bitter Atur then told Martinex what had occurred, revealing how the "Lord of Fire" had left the dead Stark bodies behind, how those bodies had released alien diseases that spread throughout the Courga population, how Atur's father and son had died on the same day, and how the Stark had returned and killed most of the Courga who had survived the diseases before leaving. A shocked Martinex muttered that the Stark "weren't supposed to..." but was interrupted by a crying Atur who asked what had he expected and if he had truly believed that a show of force would solve the problem? Atur then stated that Martinex and his friends had been long gone and probably "liberating" some other poor world without ever considering the consequences of the battles they had fought! When Martinex feebly protested that they hadn't known, Atur replied that no, they hadn't cared because they had been so flush in their precious "victory!"

   Martinex took Atur with him when he left Courg to continue his journey to Main Frame's world. Once there, Atur curiously inspected his new surroundings while Martinex and Main Frame discussed how the Guardians had failed Courg by not anticipating what would happen after they left.

 

--Guardians of the Galaxy I#2 (2-3, 19 (fb), 18-20


Atur's brother

   A male Courga who was alive on the planet Courg in the early 31st century. He was a (or the) litter-brother to another male Courga, Atur, and apparently lived in the same village. His name has not been revealed.

   Little has been revealed about this Courga's life except for the fact that he was callously murdered in 3017 A.D. by a member of the team of alien criminals known as Force during their visit to Courg. No reason for his murder has ever been revealed.

   Atur, who witnessed his brother's murder, later told Yondu Udonta of the Guardians of the Galaxy that "a blue one" like Yondu was the killer, seemingly identifying the Centaurian named Photon as the guilty party.

   Initially, Atur planned to avenge his brother's death by killing an alien so that his brother's soul could find salvation. However, when he had the opportunity to kill a helpless Yondu, Atur was ultimately unable to go through with it. Yondu then assured Atur that his brother's soul would rise with Atur's strength and know peace from his mercy.

--Mentioned (but not shown) in Guardians of the Galaxy I#2-3


Atur's father

   An aged male Courga who was the father of Atur and his brother (and perhaps other children) and one of the grandfathers of Atur's son. He seems to have lived in the same village as his sons. His name has not been revealed.

   In 3017 A.D., after the Stark warriors who had survived their battle with the Guardians of the Galaxy had been evacuated from Courg, the dead Stark bodies left behind began to decompose and release alien diseases that spread throughout the Courga population. The pups and the old ones were most the vulnerable to these diseases and were the first to die. On one day, Atur's father died and was buried in the morning by his son, and Atur's son died and was buried that same afternoon.

--Mentioned (but not shown) in Guardians of the Galaxy I#19 (fb)


Atur's mate

   An adult female Courga who was alive on the planet Courg in the early 31st century. Her name has not been revealed but she was the mate of a male named Atur and the mother of their son. All three lived together in the same round stucco hut in the same village as Atur's brother and father.

   In 3017 A.D., after Atur's litter-brother had been killed by an alien visitor, Atur's mate presumably attempted to console and comfort him. However, she was unable to alleviate her mate's desire for revenge.

   "Mere days" later, when a second group of alien visitors, the Guardians of the Galaxy, had arrived in the village and become involved in a violent battle with some Stark cyborg warriors, Atur and his family remained in their dome-shaped hut. Whether they had heard of the new aliens and were avoiding them or were simply in seclusion as they mourned has not been revealed. However, the family became involved when the Centaurian Guardian Yondu Udonta came crashing through their roof and fell on their floor, more dead than alive. Although Atur saw the unconscious alien as an opportunity for vengeance that Zan had given to him, Atur's mate did not agree and, while holding and comforting their upset son, she protested as Atur approached the alien and took its own knife to use.

    Later, after their son was out of the immediate area, the female remained in the room watching as Atur struggled with the idea of actually killing the alien. When Yondu awoke and asked if Atur was going to kill him, Atur initially said that he was but then admitted that he could not, accused himself of being "too weak" and stated that his brother's soul was lost. As the weeping Atur dropped the knife and buried his face in his hands, Atur's mate exclaimed "Oh, Atur!" as she ran to comfort him even as Yondu reassured Atur that it was not weakness to show compassion, it was strength, and that his brother's soul would rise with Atur's strength and know peace from his mercy. Atur and his mate remained side-by-side, holding each other, as the alien explained that he and his friends meant the Courga no harm and only sought to protect them from the metal warriors. Atur's mate remained silent when the alien questioned Atur as to why he seemed to be feared more than the other aliens and Atur revealed that his brother's killer had been "a blue one" like their uninvited guest.

   What happened to Atur's mate after Yondu left their hut to rejoin the battle against the Stark has not been revealed. She and Atur seem to have chosen to avoid speaking with Yondu again and made sure that he couldn't find them after the Stark had been defeated. A year and a half later, when Atur spoke with Martinex, he did not mention his mate at all, and it seems highly likely that she was a victim of either the alien plague that wiped out much of the Courga population (including her son and Atur's father) or of the Stark genocide that killed all but a few of the survivors. However, Atur's memory-flashback of one of the two burials he performed depicted two figures standing in the background and holding hands as Atur knelt beside a new grave. One of those figures was shorter and wearing a dress while the other was a head taller and wearing pants but neither were identified. Since the only full body image of Atur's mate showed her wearing a dress, she could be the shorter figure standing beside a taller relative. Alternatively, Atur's mate could be the taller figure in pants and the shorter dress-wearing figure could be a younger female relative, possibly even a daughter she had had with Atur who had not been mentioned earlier.

   The fate of Atur's mate remains a mystery (to everyone but Jim Valentino).

--Guardians of the Galaxy I#2-3, 19 (fb)


Atur's son

   A male Courga child (pup) who was born in the early 31st century on the planet Courg. His name has not been revealed but he was the son of Atur and Atur's mate.

   In 3017 A.D., during a battle between two groups of aliens, the pup was in his family's hut with his parents when one of the aliens came hurtling through the roof and fell unconscious on the floor. Upset by this, the pup was comforted by his mother as his father, Atur, approached the fallen alien. However, the pup was not seen to be in the hut by the time the alien had awoken so he had probably moved to another room or even left the hut entirely in order to get farther away from the alien.

   Later, after the Stark warriors who had survived their battle with the Guardians of the Galaxy had been evacuated from Courg, the dead Stark bodies left behind began to decompose and release alien diseases that spread throughout the Courga population. The pups and the old ones were the most vulnerable to these diseases and were the first to die. On one particular day, Atur's father, the pup's grandfather, died and was buried by Atur in the morning, and then the pup died and was buried by Atur that same afternoon.

--Guardians of the Galaxy I#2, GOTG I#19 (fb)

 


Courg

   The homeworld of the Courga race is the third planet out from the star in the Bledsoe star system. Although the Terran designation for the star has not been revealed, it is known that the star lies on or near the line between Earth and Main Frame's world which lies beyond the Pleiades.

   Although very little has been revealed about the planet, some basic facts can be deduced though observation. Specifically, the fact that Major Vance Astro, a human, was able survive and move around on Courg indicates that the planet's environment was similar to that of Earth. Its atmosphere must have been breathable and capable of supporting Earth-life, its ambient temperature must have not been too hot or too cold for humans, and its gravity must have not been strong enough to adversely affect someone used to Earth's gravity.

   Courg had at least nine spherical moons orbiting it as well as a number of non-spherical moons that were probably captured asteroids. There were a number of stars which appeared to be quite bright, at least to an observer in orbit, indicating that they were fairly close to the Bledsoe system. There were two comets (one yellow and one pink) streaking across space with their tails streaming behind them, an odd trail of what looked like pink energy that was close enough to Courg to obscure part of the tail of the yellow comet, a large cloud of gas and dust (a nebula?) with several stars visible through it, and a long drawn-out trail of gas/dust that seemed to be close enough to block the view of the pink comet tail. There was also what looked like a whirlpool that was probably meant to be wormhole. Clearly, the volume of space surrounding Courg was very crowded, far more so than Earth's local space.

   During their two brief visits to the planet, the Guardians of the Galaxy stayed in the same small area that was close to the coordinates that they had found in their Book of Antag. As a result, the vast majority of Courg's surface has never been depicted on-panel. From space, the landmasses appear to be orange or sometimes brown and the oceans seem to be pale green (instead of blue) but no definite map of the planet's continents has ever been provided so no consistency of shape has been observed.

 

Note: There are only a few images of the planet Courg and most of them just show its greenish atmosphere with very little of the planet's surface visible. The image in the upper left of this subprofile, cropped as it is, shows more of the planet's continents than any of the others and is the only one to show a northern polar ice cap.

   The image in the upper right of this subprofile is a two-page spread from GOTG I#3 that shows part of Courg and some of the multiple objects that are close to it in space. A similar two-page spread from GOTG I#4 also shows that there are multiple objects in space close to Courg but none of them seem to be the same as the objects from issue #3. The fact that most of the spherical objects are far larger than the dots that Mars or Venus would look like if seen from Earth orbit indicates that these objects must be moons that are much closer than any planet could be and also much closer than the Moon is to Earth. I'm not actually sure if it's possible for moons to orbit so closely without being torn apart by Courg's gravitational pull.

--Guardians of the Galaxy I#1-4, 19 (fb), 18-19


enraged knife-wielder

   An unusually large and muscular adult male Courga who was alive on the planet Courg in the early 31st century. His name has not been revealed but he apparently lived in the same village as Atur and his brother.

   In 3017 A.D., a band of alien criminals known as Force visited Courg. During their visit, for reasons that have not been revealed, an alien with blue skin callously murdered the Courga who was the litter-brother of Atur before leaving the planet. Mere days later, another group of aliens arrived and soon found themselves battling an automated weapon that yet another alien had previously left there. Once the device had been destroyed, these new aliens sought to talk to the natives who had gathered to watch them nervously. When a blue-skinned alien tried to speak with the crowd, the similarity of his appearance to that earlier murderous alien made the Courga even more nervous and provoked this large male into action and he leaped out of the crowd at the blue-skinned alien while wielding a knife and screaming "Murderer! I'll kill you!" However, the alien (Yondu) chose to defend himself without harming what he assumed was an apparently mad attacker, so he rolled with the male's own momentum and flipped him. The large Courga landed heavily on his back and apparently lost consciousness. A by-stander called Yondu a monster for his actions and then the gathered crowd quickly dispersed, with two other Courga carrying the large and unconscious male away and into a hut.

 

   Nothing has been revealed about the fate of this male Courga. Assuming that he survived the alien diseases released by the rotting Stark corpses, the fact that he attacked Yondu with a knife suggests that he would have reacted violently to the Stark warriors when they returned to Courg. If so, then using a knife against murderous cyborg warriors armed with energy weapons would almost certainly have been a fatal mistake.

 

--Guardians of the Galaxy I#1

 


fearful parent and pup

   An adult male Courga who was living on Courg in the early 31st century and had a pup of his own. His name and his pup's name have not been revealed.

   In 3017 A.D., the village where this Courga lived had been visited by a group of aliens who had killed a Courga before leaving. Only days later, another group of aliens arrived and fought a violent battle with a deadly weapon that had been left behind by a Stark scout. This Courga and his pup were amongst the crowd who had gathered to watch the aliens. Already fearful because of the murder committed by the earlier group, the natives became even more nervous when one of the new aliens who they had just observed fighting fiercely approached them. As this blue-skinned alien came closer, claiming to be a friend who came in peace, the pup began to cry and his parent whispered a plea that he not hurt his pup! Seconds later, a large male who had been standing close to them leaped out of the crowd to attack the alien with a knife.

   When the male knife-wielder male was swiftly defeated, the crowd (including the parent and his pup) quickly dispersed and retreated to their huts.

   Whether or not this Courga or his pup survived the subsequent alien plague or the Stark genocide has not been revealed.

--Guardians of the Galaxy I#1


Drs. Pazz-Ko and Roh-Ma

   Courga psychologists who were alive and practicing medicine in the early 31st century, suggesting that they were born in the late 30th century. At some point Pazz-Ko and Roh-Ma had been hired to be the two chief caretakers of a world which was commonly called Asylum because it served as a mental institution for the most hopelessly neurotic beings in its sector of the Milky Way Galaxy.

   In 3016 A.D., when Asylum's scanners detected a disabled starship in orbit, Dr. Pazz-Ko and Dr. Roh-Ma acted immediately. They contacted the Captain America and learned from Martinex what material was needed to repair the ship and that he had been forced to teleport his four crewmates down to the planet's surface. Pazz-Ko and Roh-Ma promptly began to use one of their space-shuttles to search for the four missing Guardians and, once they had found them, Dr. Pazz-Ko used the shuttle's tractor beam to pluck the four from amongst a crowd and hoist them aboard. While transporting the Guardians up into orbit, Dr. Pazz-Ko explained to their guests all about Asylum and its patients. As they approached the Captain America, Pazz-Ko stated that they were now delivering the foursome back to their ship. Pazz-Ko's last words to them as they left were "Journey in peace!"

Note: Dr. Pazz-Ko was not revealed to be a member of the Courga race until a quarter-page profile on that race was created for the Alien Races Appendix that was published in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe II#15. It was that same entry that first revealed that his pilot-associate and fellow Chief Caretaker of Asylum, Dr. Roh-Ma, was also a Courga. The only image of Roh-Ma is the one to the right which shows him from the back, sitting in a chair facing a viewscreen while he pilots the shuttle.

   Drs. Pazz-Ko and Roh-Ma already have another shared subprofile that is part of the profile on Asylum but it's a small one that only had Pazz-Ko's head shot for its image so I've given them an expanded subprofile here, with one image for each of them, just to keep all of the named members of the Courga race together.

   For some reason, I've always assumed that Dr. Pazz-Ko was named after Martin Pasko who had been a regular contributor to comic book letter columns in the years before the story was published. I've also assumed that the unseen Dr. Roh-Ma was similarly named after someone else but I have no idea who that could be.

--Marvel Presents#5


images: (without ads)
The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe II#15, page 38, panel 4 (main image)
Marvel Presents#5, page 16, panel 6 (Dr. Pazz-Ko - full body shot)
Guardians of the Galaxy I#1, page 6, panel 2 (fearful crowd)
Guardians of the Galaxy I#4, page 19, panel 2 (watching the Guardians leave)
Guardians of the Galaxy I#19, page 10, panel 2 (Atur at a gravesite)
      page 10, panel 3 (Stark wiping out the Courga)
Guardians of the Galaxy I#18, page 10, panel 3 (Martinex in the ruins of Courg)
Guardians of the Galaxy I#20, page 17, panel 1 (Atur on Main Frame's world)
Guardians of the Galaxy I#2, page 19, panel 5 (Atur ready to kill Yondu)
Guardians of the Galaxy I#18, page 11, panel 1 (Atur attacking Martinex)
Guardians of the Galaxy I#19, page 10, panel 4 (Atur accusing Martinex)
Guardians of the Galaxy I#3, page 8, panel 2 (Atur's mate)
      page 8, panel 4 (Atur and his mate)
Guardians of the Galaxy I#2, page 8, panel 2 (Atur's son hiding behind his mother)
Guardians of the Galaxy I#19, page 10, panel 1 (Atur holding his son's dead body)
      page 9, panel 1 (the planet Courg)
Guardians of the Galaxy I#3, pages 18+19 (space around Courg)
Guardians of the Galaxy I#1, page 6, panel 4 (large male with a knife)
      page 6, panel 6 (large male flat on his back)
      page 6, panel 3 (fearful parent with pup)
Marvel Presents#5, page 17, panel 1 (Dr. Pazz-Ko - head-shot)
      page 16, panel 6 (Dr. Roh-Ma)


Appearances:
Marvel Presents#5 (June, 1976) - Steve Gerber (writer), A. Milgrom & H. Chaykin (artists), M. Wolfman (editor)
The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe II#15 (March, 1987) - Kyle Baker (Appendix: Alien Races artist)
Guardians of the Galaxy I#1-4 (June - September, 1990) - Jim Valentino (writer/artist), Steve Montano (inker), Craig Anderson (editor)
Guardians of the Galaxy I#18-20 (November, 1991 - January, 1992) - Jim Valentino (writer/artist), Steve Montano (inker), Craig Anderson (editor)


First Posted: 02/17/2020
Last updated: 02/17/2020

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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