With the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the titular team of cosmic protectors have reached a whole new stratosphere of popularity. Now, as much as fans love the whole team of ex-cons and anti-heroes, the dynamic duo of Rocket Raccoon and Groot is by far the biggest draw for audiences of all ages. The first film took inspiration for the hybrid raccoon and humanoid tree’s friendship from the Annihilation: Conquest Star-Lord miniseries and the Guardians series that followed. However, both have their own weird and wild origin stories.
We’ve decided to collect 15 of the most interesting yet little-known facts about our favorite Guardian of the Galaxy. Sure, it’s common knowledge that he likes to shoot large firearms and is pretty nifty with tech, but did you know he has a thing for otter girls? Or that he has a female clone? Or that he used to smoke a pipe? Behold the weird and wonderful world of Rocket Raccoon!
15 HE SLEEPS AROUND (A LOT!)
The first arc of Skottie Young’s 2014 Rocket Raccoon series concerned Rocky being stalked by a squad of his ex-girlfriends that were out for revenge. This female force was led by General Amalaya and their ranks included more than two dozen women from as many different species. One of his exes even seemed to be a female version of the World Devourer, Galactus! General Amalaya had once been Princess Amalaya but was disowned by her father when Rocket borrowed two million giffs (apparently a small fortune) and took off.
The operation was organized, well-funded and the ladies even gave themselves the title the Ex-Terminators. Rocket is in the middle of a pitched battle with Black Jack O'Hare, when the Ex-Terminators finally corner him. He manages to withstand the ladies impressive onslaught… but just barely.
14 THE HULK CONNECTION
The Incredible Hulk #271 (1982) was the 20th Anniversary issue of the title. For the occasion writer Bill Mantlo introduced the modern version of Rocket Raccoon that we all know and love. In the issue, Hulk ends up on a planet called Halfworld, where he meets Rocket and his cohorts.
The planet was given its name due to half the world being a industrial wasteland stripped bare by automatons, while the other half is a paradise where a population of mentally disturbed humanoids are taken care of by hybrid animals. While Rocket is the only hybrid raccoon from his planet, many types of other animals were also forcibly evolved. A number of these hybrids have their own entries in this list but some of the more obscure inhabitants of Halfworld include a hybrid skunk named Stinker and a variety of cybernetically enhanced hybrid bats called Drakillars.
13 HIS ARCHENEMY IS A MURDER BUNNY
You could not find a more ruthless mercenary in the Keystone Quadrant than Black Jack O’Hare. This hybrid rabbit leads the Black Bunny Brigade, who work for the highest bidder. Their services have regularly been employed by the likes of Judson Jakes, a hybrid mole who is the head of Inter-Stel Mechanics, and the hybrid lizard despot, Lord Dyvyne.
O’Hare at one point also assembled a gang which he dubbed Black Jack O’Hare an’ His Awful Eight. This crew of hybrid animal bounty hunters counted an ape, cat, snake, warthog, wolf, horned toad, alligator and monkey among their ranks. The dark bunny's most recent appearance saw him try to kill Rocket for ruining his reputation. However, in his defense, O’Hare has done the right thing and even aided Rocket and his friends on occasion.
12 HE'S AN OTTER LOVER
It seems Rocket was a one-woman raccoon at one point and Lylla was the lucky girl. She is a hybrid otter introduced in the same issue of The Incredible Hulk as Rocket. In that story, he risks his life to save her when she is captured by the Black Bunny Brigade. She was such a key member of his team that he trusted her to be left in charge of their HQ, The Cuckoo's Nest. She even named his ship the Rakk ’N’ Ruin.
Fun fact: Lylla appears to already be a part of the MCU, as she was an easter egg in first Guardians of the Galaxy film. When Rocket is being booked by the Nova Corp, the data that appears on the left side of the screen states that his known associates are Groot and Lylla.
11 HE WAS ONCE TURNED TO STONE
When She-Hulk went to rescue her friends from a planet in the Coal Sack Nebula in The Sensational She-Hulk #44 (1992), she found Rocket Raccoon there too. Vigilante/adventurer Buford Hollis, aka Razorback, and his girlfriend Taryn O’Connell had been exploring deep space under contract from NASA, when they decided to respond to a subspace signal coming from the Dandesh system.
The fourth world of this system was inhabited by the survivors of the D’Bari race and they were attempting to neutralize Rocket when the couple touched down. Their arrival distracted Rocket momentarily and the D’Bari managed to shoot him with a petrifying ray that turned him to stone. Razorback was given the same treatment shortly after. Both were de-petrified by a second blast of the energy that had frozen them in place.
10 HIS MENTOR IS AN ALIEN THIEF
This character was introduced just last year in Rocket Raccoon and Groot #7, which was written by Nick Kocher and drawn by Michael Walsh. It is never out-and-out stated, but it is inferred that Frankie met Rocket on Halfworld. When Rocket flashes back to meeting Fat Hands, everybody’s favorite "trash panda" appears to be just a young, hungry orphan. Frankie mentions that “some folks here look like animals but they’re smart and can talk…”
When Rocket slyly steals his sandwich, Frankie see potential in the youngster and takes him under his wing. He teaches him the way of the grift and Rocket becomes a master thief and conman under his tutelage. It has not been revealed what species Frankie belongs to, but he operated out of Renovia, a planet with nine suns.
9 HE HAD HIS OWN SHIP (AND IT WAS WEIRD)
When Earth-616 Rocket first debuted, he was the captain of his own starship called the Rakk ’N’ Ruin. Interestingly enough, Rocket was a Guardian long before becoming a Guardian of the Galaxy. He started as the chief keeper of the denizens of Halfworld and held the title of the Guardian of the Keystone Quadrant. He patrolled the space ways of the quadrant, which was surrounded by a barrier called the Galacian Wall. This partition kept the populace of Keystone in and all others out.
The Rakk ’N’ Ruin is an unconventional-looking rocket and appears to be huge. The Hulk did not have to crouch to step through the entry hatch and the ship’s interior was large enough for the Jade Giant to comfortably move through its corridors. The craft could be manned by one pilot and included amenities like a food replicator similar to the tech from Star Trek. as you can see, it often was used to fight space clowns... but that's another story.
8 HIS FIRST MATE WAS A WALRUS
You would think that a hybrid walrus might not be the best of first mates, but with the assistance of various tech, Wal-Russ was up to the tusk... er, task. In his first appearance, one of his tusks had been replaced with a prosthetic wrench, but in more recent appearances both have been replaced. He also has a pouch on his chest that houses two cybernetic arms. This satchel also held various instruments, including a scanner that can detect radiation levels and a Fuzz Detector that can pick up the approach of Halfworld’s police force, the Keystone Quadrant Kops. This engineer appeared to be Rocket’s elder and was the uncle of Lylla. How it’s possible that a hybrid walrus is the relative of a hybrid otter has yet to be explained.
7 HE FOUNDED THE NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
After the fan-favorite Annihilation event in 2006, Marvel followed up with Annhiliation: Conquest the year after. The Star-Lord four-issue miniseries from this event updated Peter Quill’s backstory and cleaned up his continuity. Feeling partially responsible for letting the Phalanx invasion of the Kree Empire happen, Peter agrees to lead a group of expendable prisoners assembled by Admiral Galen-Kor. Their mission is to take down a Phalanx production facility on the Kree homeworld, Hala.
This ragtag crew consists of Bug, a Captain Universe, Deathcry, Mantis, Groot and Rocket Raccoon. The furry gun fanatic claims that he was picked up for a mere restricted zone infraction. However, the story in Rocket #1 (2017) reveals he had plenty of warrants out for his arrest, including one for manslaughter.
6 HE HAD A ROCKY START
In the mid-‘70s writer Bill Mantlo (Cloak & Dagger) was tasked with coming up with a back-up feature for a new sci-fi comic mag called Starlord. He used classic mythology as inspiration and created the futuristic epic, Sword In the Star. This book followed the journey of Prince Wayfinder of Ithacon, the last of his race. Only one issue of Starlord ever hit stands, though the second instalment of Sword got placement in Marvel Preview #7 (1976).
In this issue, Prince Wayfinder lands on a planet named Hailailae, aka Witch-World, to collect provisions. Here he meets an anthropomorphic raccoon nicknamed Rocky. The little fella has an English accent, a pistol holster across his chest and smokes a stogie. If it’s not clear, yes, this is the first version of Rocket. While this iteration has been retconned to be from an alternate reality, he appeared six years before his Earth-616 counterpart.
5 HE WORE (ADORABLE) ROCKET SKATES
These days, Rocket is best known for his jet pack, his over-sized firearms and his adorable little spacesuit. However, his original look included metallic undies, a blue cape, Rocket Skates and a Rocketmatic Pistol. See what they did there? He also rocked two costume details that tribute the version of Rocket from Sword In The Star from the ‘70s: he smokes a pipe and he has a holster slung across his chest. In Sword In The Star, Rocky smoked a cigar, but the pipe was clearly a nod.
In his initial appearance in The Incredible Hulk #271, Rocket had brown fur, but for most of the ‘80s and ‘90s he was depicted as grey. He tends to be a mix of brown and grey since his comeback in 2007's Annihilation: Conquest event.
4 HE PULLED A SPACE HEIST (WITH A BUNCH OF A-HOLES)
In Rocket #1 (2017), the furriest Guardian meets back up with an old flame named Otta Spice. It is inferred that Otta was his rebound relationship after Lylla and that this hybrid got Rocket into big score safe cracking. However, when someone is killed during one of their heists and they are arrested, Otta sells Rocket out to avoid jail time. When the two meet again years later, Rocket is on a bender and at first tells her to leave him alone. When she pleads with him to help save her planet, Tarka’s World, he can’t say no. He hires a slimmed down version of Technet -- an old Excalibur villain team -- to help him attempt a near impossible heist.
Technet is a mercenary crew that first appeared in Captain Britain #3 (1985) and included eleven members. However, the line-up that were contracted by Rocket only consists of China Doll, Scatterbrain, Numbers, Ferro2 and Hard-Boiled Henry.
3 HE A BABY-DADDY
2061 will be the 100th Anniversary of the modern era of the Marvel Universe. So, in 2014, Marvel put together a handful of specials that imagined various popular superheroes in that year. The Marvel 100th Anniversary Special: Guardians of the Galaxy oneshot saw the team made up of Gamora as Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Groot, Iron Man, Charlie-27 (of the original Guardians), Rocket… and his kids!
Writers Andy Lanning and Ron Marz got together with artist Gustavo Duarte to give us the tale of the Guardians of the Galaxy of 2061. The team was charged with taking down an ultra-powerful mash-up of Silver Surfer and Galactus called Silver Galactus and his herald, Vance Astro. Rocket’s triplets were named Uno, Duo and Trey, and collectively they were known as The Raccoons. They weren't allowed to call Rocket dad.
2 HE HAS A GIANT RACCOON MECHA
In Rocket Raccoon #9 (2015), Skottie Young and Jake Parker jumped ahead a little more than a decade to give us a Rocket and Groot story that takes place in 2046. In this alternate timeline, Groot had decided to call Earth home and help the Avengers develop medicines and cures from his regenerative DNA. Rocket, on the other, hand had gone deeper underground and become a renowned pit fighter.
When Groot’s immune system kicks into overdrive due to all the sampling, he becomes a gargantuan, mindless kaiju. As Groot tears up cities, Tony Stark sends one of his drone armors to Knowhere to find Rocket. While Rocky refuses to help at first, he eventually arrives on Earth to help his bestie. And by “help,” we mean “battle in a giant raccoon mecha.”
1 HE HAS A LADY CLONE
While Rocket likes to tout that he is the only one of his kind, when he was being held captive by The Collector long ago, he was cloned. This Elder of the Universe had also captured Howard the Duck and planned to mate them both with their own clones. Kind of gross, dude.
In Howard the Duck #1 and #2 (2016), written by Chip Zdarsky (Sex Criminals), we meet Shocket Raccoon and Linda the Duck and find out about their origins. The two clones have had their age accelerated and consider each other sisters. They escaped The Collector 25 years ago with the help of their keeper, D-3X. In time, all three became smugglers. Much like Rocket, Shocket has a bit of a bad attitude and likes big guns.
What else do YOU know about Rocket Raccoon? Hit us up with your knowledge in the comments!