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14 Things Only Marvel Comics Fans Know About Rocket Raccoon

ScreenRant logo ScreenRant 12/5/2022 Darby Harn
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San Diego Comic-Con attendees caught an early look at Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which included 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.

Updated November 29, 2022, by Darby Harn:

The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special gives Rocket Raccoon perhaps the best gift ever: Bucky's arm. The Disney+ special mostly focuses on other characters but sets the stage for the upcoming movie by introducing several new story elements. These may connect to Rocket going forward in live-action, and finally delve into his unique comic book past. Comic book fans know Rocket connects to unique concepts like Halfworld and characters like Blackjack O'Hare that potentially give the MCU rich content to explore. Writer and director James Gunn promises the next movie represents an ending for the team in some ways, but hopefully it's not for Rocket.

His First Appearance Wasn't In Comics (Exactly)

Rocket Raccoon's history in Marvel Comics goes back to 1976, but his first introduction 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.

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Co-created by writer Bill Mantlo and artist Keith Giffen (who created Lobo, among DC Comics' best antiheroes), this Rocket varies greatly from later versions. Initially known as Rocky, he possesses a completely different personality and speech that MCU fans would find very strange.

Named After A Beatles Song

Rocket Raccoon got his name from a Beatles song. Mantlo and Giffen named the character after "Rocky Raccoon," a song from The White Album. The White Album arrived in 1968, just a few years before Rocket's debut in comics in 1976.

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This reference gets a nod in Marvel Comics when Spider-Man meets Rocket Raccoon in The Symbiote Spider-Man. Peter asks Rocket if his name comes from the song, but Rocket never heard of it.

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. Core details about Rocket emerge here, including the fact he comes from a planet named Halfworld, where people left their pets that were genetically altered.

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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.

Halfworld

Halfworld may play a role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 along with numerous 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.

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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 Halfworld in comics from 2011, where he regained lost memories from his time there.

The Toy War

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

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The series features 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.

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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 10 total comic books in his first 30 years in publication (per Rolling Stone), making sporadic guest appearances here and there until he officially joined the Guardians of the Galaxy in the early 2000s.

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His brief 1990s guest appearances included a stint alongside Quasar, a powerful cosmic being in the Marvel Universe 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.

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Rocket could factor in She-Hulk's future seasons, though it depends on how expansive the show's scope gets. The two characters certainly cross paths in the movies, if both continue in Phases 5 and 6.

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.

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Annihilus, who stands with the most powerful Fantastic Four villains in comics, invades Earth-616, bringing the team together. 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.

Becoming Peet

Rocket's MCU future potentially gets weird if it follows the comics. He merged along with Groot and Star-Lord into Peet in 2018's Infinity Wars #5. This unexpected amalgamation occurred when Gamora used the Infinity Stones to warp reality, blending numerous characters into one singular entity.

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Peet joined the battle with other fused characters like Iron Hammer, among the most powerful Black Panther variants in the comics, to fight Devondra. This demonic entity had corrupted Soul World, a locale likely to continue to factor in live-action.

Joining The Nova Corps

Rocket may join the Nova Corps in the MCU, as he did in the comics. Rocket joins the interstellar organization along with Groot despite having an extensive criminal record with the police force. He helps the new Nova, Samuel Alexander, learn his powers and be the best Nova he can be.

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The MCU wiped the Nova Corps out in live-action, but with a Nova movie rumored to be in development, it's likely the organization returns. Rocket may help in bringing it back into service.

Faithless

The Faithless storyline begins in Guardians of the Galaxy #7 from 2019 and potentially has a great impact on the MCU. Rocket realizes the genetic engineering process that created him is now reversing, threatening his life, and exposing the painful cybernetic implants that were grafted onto him.

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With the upcoming movie teasing a deeper look into Rocket's origins, it's possible that the MCU mines this storyline. If Rocket's condition reverses in live-action, he may be forced to seek out his creator for help.

The Dark Olympians

The most powerful Olympian gods in Marvel Comics return as the Dark Olympians, threatening the entire universe. Nova asks the Guardians to help fight the villains, who include Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Hermes, Athena, and other deities from the Olympian pantheon. The team declines, but Rocket leads a behind-the-scenes bid to fight the Dark Olympians.

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With Zeus appearing in Thor: Love and Thunder along with Hercules, and vowing revenge against Thor, the prospect that the Olympians fight the Guardians in live-action remains very high.

Rocket Dies In 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, killed by the Children of Tomorrow. His death comes as the entire multiverse collapses and Earth-616 and 1610 barrel toward a collision.

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He eventually returns along with the entire multiverse in 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 TV Sci-Fi Specials Like The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special

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