Rodents and outer space go together in comic books, it seems. DC Comics had Ch’P, a green lantern squirrel from another planet, until he got run over by a yellow truck. And Marvel has their Guardian of the Galaxy. They have Rocket Raccoon! And the first issue of the eponymous comic is the grand prize at the second Raid.
So Rocket Raccoon. He’s an angry, angry raccoon with big guns and a nasty attitude. You think that’s as weird as it gets? You’d be wrong. Because the story of Rocket Raccoon begins with insane people, continues via The Hulk and ends at saving the Galaxy a hundred times over. Oh, and in the movie, he’s voiced by Bradley Cooper. So that’s the weirdness of today. But the story of Rocket Raccoon – never call him a raccoon or you’ll be murdered – is even weirder.
A Solar System of Insane People
It all began on Halfworld before it was called Halfworld. A bunch of humanoids decided to convert an entire star system into an asylum for the insane because they wanted to not only care for the mad but also study them and figure out what makes them insane so that they might have a cure somewhere down the road. To be able to care for the insane, they built robots. This all went well until the humanoids’ funding was cut. So the star system was surrounded by a force field and the robots were left alone with the insane. The insane mated, the robots retreated to half of the planet and eventually, The Loonies as they called themselves started genetic experiments.
That’s how Rocket Raccoon came along in 1976. In a story called The Sword in the Star in Marvel Preview #7. In that story, Prince Wayfinder manages to get lost on a jungle planet where he meets Rocky Raccoon who will later be known as Rocket Raccoon.
Raccoon, Smoker, Guardian
Rocket Raccoon has always been something of a guardian. Not necessarily of the entire galaxy, but of the quadrant where Halfworld was located. What else was he supposed to do? There’s nowhere he can go due to the force field around his solar system. And then, The Hulk shows up. This is weird because apparently nobody can penetrate the force field. Yet, there is The Hulk. Weird.
Who better to investigate than a smoking, insulting, surly raccoon? So the investigation begins that includes the bible of the Loonies that is basically a bunch of notes on sick people by psychiatrists and a man named Lord Dyvyne. Because poor literacy is kewl.
The Random Old Friend and a Tree
It’s never quite explained how Starlord aka. Peter Quill knew Rocket Raccoon, but Quill shows up to ask Rocket Raccoon to join the Guardians of the Galaxy. There, he made his best friend ever: Groot. Groot is a living tree who only ever says I am Groot. This he says regardless of the circumstance because it’s not so much the noise Groot makes but in the inaudible subtext. Everyone understands Groot perfectly fine unless you only hear him talk. In fact, Groot is considered to be one of the most brilliant minds of the Marvel Universe.
The friendship between the raccoon and the tree lasts to this day. Rocket is an accomplished gunslinger, master tactician and charmer while Groot is incredibly unsubtle in everything he does but exhibits immense brilliance. The two oddballs get along perfectly. Groot once summed up the friendship of the two perfectly by saying I am Groot. The universe has never heard such a heartfelt, accurate and amazing declaration of friendship.
The Incredibly Popular Oddball
Rocket’s popularity is easily explained. He’s just too weird to be taken seriously. You can’t just say I think Rocket Raccoon is awesome without reverent irony in that statement. Besides, we live in an age where people have made thousands and thousands of pictures with cats on them. So small fuzzy animals are all the rage. Over at DC Comics, a blue cat named Dex-Star who is a member of the Red Lantern Corps, the universe’s embodiment of rage. And DC also had Ch’P, a squirrel who was a member of the Green Lantern Corps.
So it was only natural that Rocket Raccoon got a leading role in the new and rebooted Guardians of the Galaxy series that only just launched. He also appeared in a video game titled Marvel vs. Capcom 3, where he was given an Australian accent.
And just last week, Rocket Raccoon got his own ongoing series, written and drawn by Skottie Young, who paints an insanely funny, albeit slightly disturbed picture of Rocket.
What is The Raid?
The Raid is a new series of events that the Uncannies are starting today. The concept is simple.
- Everyone meets at Kabooom Comic Book Store to share recommendations and talk about comic books.
- There’s a quiz hosted by Dom. Ten questions. Most right answers win. If there’s a tie, a tie-breaker question will settle the matter. If we catch you holding a mobile phone or any other device that has internet access, you will be disqualified. The winner gets a shiny issue of Rocket Raccoon #1.
This will happen about once a month. If you have never read a comic book, this is your chance to get into it. Just let us know what kind of stories you like and we’ll see that you get something worth not only your money but also your time.
We’ll meet on Thursday, July 24th 2014, at 19.45 at Kabooom.
Don’t miss it.
Where is Kabooom?
How do you get there?
- From Zürich HB, take Tram 4 to the Limmatplatz
- Either walk down the Langstrasse or take Bus 32 to Militär/Langstrasse
- Keep looking for the Piranha Bar and turn left.
- Or: If you know where the Happy Beck is, go there.