Originally from the planet Maltus, the race that would become the Guardians was one of the first races of intelligent life in the universe. Evolving quickly, they developed a society devoted to knowledge and science, often involving themselves in experiments on other planets. One of the Maltusians, Krona, engaged in a forbidden experiment to witness the creation of the universe. Though his fellows attempted to stop him, the damage had been done and the universe was splintered, causing the creation of the Multiverse, as well as the Antimatter universe Qward. The Maltusians relocated to Oa and dedicated themselves to destroying the evil and rescuing the universe from chaos. To this end, they eventually harnessed the Glow to create the Central Power Battery and ultimately the Green Lantern Corps. Later divisions in the group saw the creation of the Zamarons, the Controllers, and the Mesopotamian Gods and Leprechauns on Earth.
The Guardians of the Universe were created by John Broome and Gil Kane.
Major Story Arcs
In their quest to confront evil and chaos, the Guardians come into conflict with a number of races, including the Reach, the Martians and the Tchkk-Tchkki. They also deal with the entity Parallax, and attempt to remove all the magic from the universe, resulting in the creation of the Starheart. They create the Manhunters, precursors to the Lantern Corps, who ultimately rebel and remain eternal enemies of the Guardians.
Crisis on Infinite Earths
The Guardians are unsure about the best way to handle the Crisis. A small group of Guardians who favour aggressive involvement in combating the Crisis are the impetus for the recruitment of Guy Gardner into the Corps. After the Crisis has ended, the Guardians are troubled by their indecisiveness and divisiveness during the Crisis, and decide to retreat from the universe.
The Guardians leave a sing Guardian, Appa Ali Apsa, behind to take care of Oa. The control of the Corps is handed to the Lanterns themselves, some of whom are tasked with watching over the so-called New Guardians, super-advanced humans who are intended to be the next step in human evolution. The Guardians return to the main universe after Appa Ali Apsa goes mad and traps John Stewart in a nightmarish world of stolen cities. After defeating Apsa, the Guardians announce that they will remain in the main universe and remake the Lantern Corps. The newly-reformed Corps shows itself to be less docile, often questioning and even defying the Guardians' authority on occasion.
Green Lantern Hal Jordan suffers a great personal tragedy that leaves him susceptible to the influence of the Parallax entity, which had been trapped for eons in the Central Power Battery. He travels to Oa where the Guardians release Sinestro, who fails to defeat Jordan. The Guardians give their power and energy to one Guardian, Ganthet, and are subsequently destroyed. Ganthet seeks out Kyle Rayner, who becomes the last Green Lantern. Sometime later, Rayner is able to resurrect the Guardians as children. These child Guardians are raised by Rayner, Ganthet and the Zamorans until Ganthet manages to artificially re-age them. They then set about restoring Oa and the Corps.
Sinestro Corps War
In response to the threat posed by the Sinestro Corps, the Guardians decide to rewrite the Book of Oa, authorizing the Lanterns to use lethal force if it is deemed necessary, as well as introducing nine other new laws. They also remove reference to the Blackest Night prophecy, a change which is protested by Ganthet and Sayd, who are exiled. The Guardians then travel to Earth, where they appoint Sodam Yat as the new Ion. After the war is completed, the Guardians are rejoined by Scar.
The Guardians realize that the War of Light and the Blackest Night are coming, but are prevented from acting and imprisoned by Scar, who has become infected with evil. The Guardians are revealed to have hidden the fact that life actually began on Earth from the rest of the universe in order to protect the Entity. They are released from imprisonment after Nekron is defeated.
The Guardians return to Oa and retreat from many public duties due to their depleted number and their distress at the loss of faith in them that has been experienced by many Lanterns. They are confronted by Salaak, Rayner and Arisia, and after the Lanterns depart the Guardians decide to repeal the new Third Law. Ganthet returns to them briefly to resign as a Guardian of any Corps, which the Guardians express sadness over. They officially make him the Lantern of Sector 0000.
War of the Green Lanterns
The Guardians are attacked by Krona, who has them possessed by six of the emotional entities. They are forced to attack Jordan and Gardner, who are traveling to the Central Battery to attempt to remove Parallax from it. They defeat the Lanterns, but allow them to escape after being distracted by the death of Mogo. They are released from their possession by Jordan. The Guardians discharge Jordan from the Corps due to their fear that they would become like Krona if Jordan were allowed to remain. They allow Sinestro to rejoin the Corps. Following a rebellion among the Corps that results in the creation of the "New Guardians," the Guardians begin creating the "Third Army," intended to replace the Corps.
Rise of the Third Army
Believing the Green Lantern Corps is ultimately a failure, due to the members emotions becoming an unpredictable all the Guardians believe it is time to replace the Corps, except for Ganthet, who is later indoctrinated by his brethren. Before the begin of their plan, The Guardians use Black Hand to seemingly kill both Sinestro and Hal Jordan (who had been using a duplicate of Sinestro's ring), an act which would lead to Simon Baz receiving Sinestro's ring. The Guardians then use the power of The First Lantern Volthoom, a time traveler who was the first to weild the power of the emotional specturm, only to be driven mad, to create the The Third Army, an army of mindless creatures who take over and transform their victims to multiply their numbers. All of the various Corps learn of the Guardians plan and begin to combat the Third Army, and though the Third Army would be defeated, Volthoom, the First Lantern would become free, and seek revenge on the universe.
Wrath of the First Lantern
With Volthoom free, he begins wreaking havoc on all the Corps. and their members, attempting to use their emotional spectrum energy to alter reality. Meanwhile, Simon Baz comes in contact with the Black Hand who transports him to the same dead zone Sinestro and Hal are trapped in. Sinestro manipulates Baz to help bring him back to life, while Hal is stuck in the dead zone, but as soon as Sinestro comes back to the realm of the living, the First Lantern destroys Korugar, and within the remnants, Sinestro finds his Sinestro Corps power battery. While the Corps wage war on the First Lantern, Hal makes a risky decision to use Black Hand's ring to return to the realm of the living, by taking his own life so the Black Ring would accept him. Hal, as a Black Lantern returns to fight Volthoom, using the Black Lantern Corps to fight the mad lantern, but it's not enough. Sinestro then offers himself up as a a host to Parallax to fight Volthoom, but the First Lantern is still too strong. Volthoom finally falls when Hal summons Nekron to kill the weakened lantern. With Volthoom defeated, Sinestro seaks his revenge on the Guardians, slaughtering every single one, leaving one for Atrocitus to kill himself. Though the Green Lantern Corps believes the Guardians to be dead, secretly, Sinestro spared the life of Ganthet, reuniting him with his love, Sayd.
Justice League of America: The Nail
The Guardians recall the Corps, less Hal Jordan, to intervene when the war between Apokolips and New Genesis escalates.
Superman & Batman: Generations
Alan Scott's ring is revealed to have actually been a Green Lantern ring. The weaknesses in the rings are explained as being in the mind of the bearer; the Guardians instilled the weakness to yellow by telling members of the Corps that it was a weakness.
The Guardians send Abin Sur to Earth to locate the Entity. He becomes involved in the Atlantis/Amazon War instead, which causes the Guardians to grow impatient. They discharge him from the Corps.
The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure
The Guardians appear in the Green Lantern guest star episode "Evil is as Evil Does". They are voiced by Paul Frees.
The Guardians make their first appearance in the DCAU in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "In Brightest Day..." Members are voiced by Pat Musick and Peter Mark Richman. They next appear in the two-part Justice League episodes "In Blackest Night". They are voiced by René Auberjonois. They appear in the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Return". They are voiced by Clancy Brown.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
The Guardians make a brief non-speaking appearance in the episode "The Eyes of Despero!" where they are seen residing in Hal Jordan's ring during the fight with Despero. They later feature in the episode "Revenge of the Reach!" in which they are voiced by JK Simmons and Armin Shimerman.
Green Lantern: The Animated Series
The Guardians appear in a number of episodes. They are represented by Ganthet, Sayd and Appa Ali Apsa. They are voiced by Ian Abercrombie, Susan Blakeslee and Brian George, respectively.
Justice League: The New Frontier
The Guardians make a brief appearance helping Hal Jordan. They are voiced by Robin Atkins Downes.
Green Lantern: First Flight
The Guardians appear, with significant changes from their comic book counterparts, notably their capacity for emotion and the extent of their power. Named members are Ganthet, Appa Ali Apsa and Ranakar. They are voiced by Larry Drake, William Schallert and Malachi Throne, respectively
The Guardians make their first live-action appearance. They are voiced by Warren Burton and Salome Jens.
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights
The Guardians make an appearance; named Guardians are Ganthet, Appa Ali Apsa and Ranakar. They are voiced by Michael Jackson, Tony Amendola and Steven Blum, respectively.
Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe
The Guardians appear on Oa and warn Hal Jordan that the universes are merging. Ganthet and two other Guardians appear. They are voiced by Michael McConnohie, Christopher Corey Smith and Joe J Thomas.