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Abandoned Love: When Did Groot Start Saying, “I Am Groot”?

by  in Comic News Comment

Every installment of Abandoned Love we will be examining comic book stories, plots and ideas that were abandoned by a later writer without explaining that the previous story was retconned away. Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of Abandoned Love. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

The other day, I did an article about when Groot and Rocket Raccoon first became best friends in the comics. A couple of folks also wanted to know when, exactly, Groot started saying just, “I Am Groot.” So here, let’s take a look at when that change took place…

Groot first showed up in 1960’s Tales to Astonish #13, with art by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers and a story by an unknown writer (I bet Larry Leiber)…






Notice how Groot talks like a pretty normal villain in the story?

Over fifteen years later, Len Wein, Chris Claremont, Sal Buscema and Jack Abel brought a DUPLICATE of Groot for the Hulk to fight in Incredible Hulk Annual #5. This was not the original Groot, but the fact that it spoke is a good sign that Groot speaks, too…


Thirty years later, in 2006, Keith Giffen and Derec Donovan had Groot show up among some captured “monsters” who, nevertheless, decide to help out Nick Fury’s “Howling Commandos”…



Note how Groot speaks normally here.

This series is quickly seen to be very important, as Giffen then brought the character over to his Starlord mini-series the following year where Starlord leads a sort of “Suicide Squad” of cosmic characters, including Groot…


Giffen writes Groot as an old school over-the-top villain, sort of like Doctor Doom, only stuck working with these lower life forms…



However, Groot has his own sense of honor, and he sacrifices himself for his teammates…



He returns, having saved himself by just condensing the size of his wood to fit his consciousness…



At the end of the mini-series, Starlod and the surviving members of his team (including a regrown Groot) look to chip in as heroes in Annihilation Conquest. Look on to see when “I Am Groot” began, but how long it took to lock in as just “I Am Groot!”

Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning took over the writing duties for Groot during the Annihilation Conquest mini-series, and they quickly established his unique way of talking, which stands out from how Giffen had him speak in the Starlord mini-eeries…


However, in the pages of their Guardians of the Galaxy series, spinning out of Annihilation Conquest, we see that Groot doesn’t JUST say “I Am Groot”…


Reader Wayne pointed out that in Guardians of the Galaxy #17, Abnett and Lanning give an explanation for why Groot is now only saying “I Am Groot.”


I thought that Groot broke free from that formula later in the series, so I discounted this scene, but looking back at it, I suppose him saying “Groot Am…Ow” in Guardians of the Galaxy #25 doesn’t REALLY count as a break from the formula, so let’s establish this as the cementing of Groot now saying only “I Am Groot.” Thanks, Wayne!

If you folks have a suggestion for a future edition of Abandoned Love, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com!