9 Things Only Marvel Comics Fans Know About Rocket Raccoon

San Diego Comic-Con attendees caught a tantalizing glimpse of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in Hall H, including what appears to be a flashback to Rocket Raccoon’s origin. So far, his beginnings remain a mystery in the MCU but Marvel Comics fans know there is much to be mined from his long and unusual history in the comics.

Rocket Raccoon differs greatly between his original comic book incarnation and the live-action one. His personality and background evolved over time, as did his association with the Guardians of the Galaxy, which only happened relatively recently in the comics. Rocket’s evolution in Marvel Comics likely hints at his MCU future, which could be as tragic as his past.


His First Appearance Wasn’t In Comics (Exactly)

Rocket Raccoon’s history in Marvel Comics goes back to 1976, but his first appearance technically came in a magazine. He appeared in Marvel Preview #7, an anthology magazine much larger in size and scope than traditional comics. He debuts in the backup feature “The Sword in the Star” which has no obvious connection to the Marvel Universe.

Co-created by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen, this Rocket varies greatly from later versions. Initially known as Rocky, he possesses a completely different personality and manner of speech that MCU fans would find very strange.

Guardian of the Keystone Quadrant

Rocket makes his proper Marvel Universe debut in The Incredible Hulk #271 as the Guardian of the Keystone Quadrant. Mantlo brings his creation back for a strange cosmic interaction with the Hulk, who is lost in space. Many details about Rocket emerge here, including the fact he comes from a planet named Halfworld, where people left their pets were genetically altered.

Unexplained experiments changed Rocket dramatically in the MCU, leaving him scarred and suffering from PTSD. The comics initially play it for laughs, with his entire character and ethos more akin to anthropomorphic comic characters that followed, like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

half world

Half world may play a role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 along with many characters that comic book fans met there. Rocket’s first adventure with the Hulk leads him into conflict with numerous anthropomorphic villains, led by Judson Jakes. The MCU likely introduces some in the upcoming movie if it adheres to Rocket’s comic origin.

Jakes leads Inter-Stel Mechanics, a company that seeks something called Gideon’s Bible. This conflict spilled over into later comics that defined Rocket’s origin and role in the larger Marvel Universe. Rocket later returned to Halfword in comics from 2011, where he regained many lost memories of his time there.

The Toy War

Rocket got his own showcase in 1985 with a four-issue mini-series that leaned into the weirdness of Halfworld. The Toy War erupts when Lord Dyvyne kidnaps Lylla Otter, Rocket’s lover and the galaxy’s biggest toy manufacturer, in order to motivate Rocket to go after Jakes. The story involves many new and unusual characters and ends with Rocket leaving Halfworld behind for good.

The series makes heavy use of Wal Rus, Rocket’s friend and colleague, who could appear in flashbacks in the upcoming movie. The same goes for Lylla and other key characters from this imaginative arc once again by Mantlo with art from hellboy creator Mike Mignola.

Blackjack O’Hare

The Guardians of the Galaxy fight many great villains in the movies and they could face off against Blackjack O’Hare in the future. This bounty hunter from the Black Bunny Brigade antagonized Rocket in his early adventures and would make for an outstanding foil in live-action, especially if the MCU indulges in adapting any of Rocket’s comic origin.

Blackjack O’Hare functions as Rocket’s inverse in the comics, a twisted product of the same genetic experiments, and he continues to hound Rocket into the present day in the comics.

He Was Absent From The Comics For Years

Rocket’s popularity in the last decade makes it hard to imagine he was never that popular in the comics, but he went unused for years. Rocket only appeared in ten total comic books in his first thirty years in publication, making sporadic guest appearances here and there until he officially joined the Guardians of the Galaxy in the early 2000s.

His brief 1990s guest appearances included a stint alongside Quasar, among the most powerful cosmic beings in the Marvel Universe, a character who could appear in the upcoming sequel or other MCU cosmic movies.

Meeting She-Hulk

Rocket makes a rare appearance in The Sensational She-Hulk #44-46, among the best She-Hulk comic books ever, while she spends an extended time in space. She finds him in an alien prison after he’s been turned to stone by a petrifying gun. She helps free him and the two fight Skrulls impersonating the alien D’Bari.

With the links to the Skrulls and She-Hulk’s imminent streaming series, Rocket could be an MCU character who appears in the She-Hulk series, though it depends on how expansive the show’s scope gets.

Joining The Guardians Of The Galaxy

Comic book fans know the Guardians of the Galaxy enjoy a history in the Marvel Universe as long and strange as Rocket’s. He officially joins the team in 2007, when the modern incarnation including Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax The Destroyer, and Groot come together during the Annihilation crossover event.

Rocket finally establishes a foothold in the comics with the team and quickly becomes a major player in all things Marvel cosmic, leading to his integral role in the MCU version beginning in 2014.

Secret Wars

Rocket’s ultimate fate in the MCU remains unknown, but with the franchise headed toward Secret Wars, comic book fans know to be wary. Rocket dies along with Groot in 2015’s Secret Wars #1, a victim of the Children of Tomorrow. His death comes as the entire multiverse collapses and Earth-616 and 1610 barrel toward a collision.

He eventually returns along with the entire multiverse at the end of the epic storyline, but with writer-director James Gunn saying that the upcoming movie will be the last time people see the current MCU version of the team, his prospects in live-action feel dim.

NEXT: 10 Best Guardians Of The Galaxy Characters Not In The MCU

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.