EDITORIAL - Retcon Alert: Rocket Is No Longer a Raccoon

If you think that headline sounds silly, I completely agree.

When I saw the episode of Ultimate Spider-man that featured the Guardians of the Galaxy, I was bothered by a couple things.  Among these was Rocket eating from garbage, as well as Rocket's voice, which we now know is essentially his new canon voice. What bothered me most of all was that Nova explained to Spidey that Rocket Raccoon is not a raccoon, but a member of an alien race that happens to look like them (and yet "Raccoon" is part of his name). I thought it was a facepalm-worthy explanation. I was not super concerned, though, at the time.  Ultimate Spider-man is clearly set in a different universe. Sam Alexander is depicted on that episode as having been a main member of the Guardians team, which is not true at all in the 616. Certainly, the Rocket origin was a simplification for the kiddies, so they wouldn't have to get into talking about an interplanetary insane asylum and genetic modification.


Then we recently found out about Rocket's loss of the accent in canon, and I thought the other changes might be prepared for the 616.  With NYCC, I saw an opportunity to find out for sure. My Tweeted question:
Is Rocket still a raccoon (Guardians v2, etc) or is he a member of an alien race that looks like em (USM)

This question was tweeted for an earlier interview with Marvel's Editor-In-Chief, but as soon as I asked it during that interview, Marvel Live lost its internet feed. So, during the closing segment for Live, hours later, I re-asked the question, and AgentM summarized the answer that had been given in the earlier interview, that I had not gotten to see, by saying "alien race".
I am fairly new to reading comic books.  Been over this story before but, basically, starting reading them to learn about Rocket Raccoon in preparation for being accepted into the Beta for Marvel Heroes, last October.  I suppose it is something of a rite of passage for a comic fan, this was the first time a hero I cared about was a victim of a major retcon.

I am still not, nor will I ever, be truly happy about this change, but my initial reaction was particularly intense. I ranted on the Marvel Heroes forum, first in a topic that was about forum moderation, then later in my dedicated topic for Raccoonatics. I tried to say the real Rocket was dead. I tried to declare the Raccoonatic fandom disbanded because the term could no longer apply to a character who was not a raccoon. Made some big comments and declarations on Twitter, as well. I'm not great at hiding emotion.

Anyway, I finally realized that, even if this non-raccoon named Raccoon is the Rocket Raccoon we have in volume 3 or even in future Marvel comics, we will always have the Abnett and Lanning Rocket, and the crazy 80's stuff.  And, really, most of Rocket's merchandise reflects his v2 era blue and red costume. Even on Marvel Heroes that is his default costume. I was a bit annoyed that his Cockney accent on Marvel Heroes was now out of sync with the current canon, now I find it a pleasant connection to the v2-era representation of the hero.

I'm sure some of you out there, who are longtime comic readers, have experienced a retcon gut punch.  So, this really is not anything new, but it is very new for me, and as the number one fan of Rocket Raccoon, it was a fairly big deal to me.

Rocket once said, "Never doubt a raccoon." That is an awfully interesting sentiment to be expressed by someone who is not a raccoon. Just sayin'.

(Just to clarify, the Raccoonatic fandom is not gonna disband and the Raccoonatic Commander is going nowhere. I just may choose to focus a bit on the past. And, hey, it's ok if you disagree or don't understand the significance of this, not everyone can be as obsessed about Rocket as I am. Heh.)

19 comments:

  1. I was fine with the voice, not really fine with this. I'm sure James Gunn was smart enough to make the movie version a raccoon. I'd be highly surprised if he didnt.

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  2. Thanks for posting this. Part of me is hoping this was some huge miscommunication or something, but it does unfortunately fit with things like the USM episode and Rocket not wanting to be called a raccoon in the new Nova series. Yeah, hopefully Mr. Gunn made a wiser decision about this matter, we'll see.

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  3. Why would he eat garbage if he wasn't a raccoon? That is such a huge contradiction. And why would he look 100% like an Earth raccoon if he were an alien? It feels like they are doing this on purpose, "Yeah, he looks like a raccoon, acts like a raccoon, but he's not. Even though he was a few years ago, he's not anymore. Take that." Because we all know the famous saying goes, "If it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it must be an alien."

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    1. Ha. Good point. I don't like the thought of Rocket eating garbage, either. When Rocket has mentioned food in the comics, it seems he is actually somewhat picky, especially about pizza. Heh. (And then there is the hinted OCD back in Annihilation Conquest). He really would be above doing that sort of thing, despite being a raccoon (which he *is* Marvel)

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    2. "If it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it must be from an alternate dimension"
      >__>

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_the_Duck

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  4. but he is an alien , or that i read. im not a huge gaurdians fan but i read he is an alien who comes from the planet Halfworld in the Keystone Quadrant( at least that what i read online)

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    1. And I've read every comic he's appeared in. Greetings. Yes, he has always been an alien by virtue of the fact that he was born a different planet. But. He was a genetically modified raccoon born on a different planet. Now he is a member of a race of, presumably, many others that look like genetically modified raccoons but are not raccoons at all.

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  5. What if we're jumping the gun here? Maybe there's a reasonable explanation for all this. What if, whomever made Rocket, made others. Many others. And those others have since bred. Now you have a city of raccoon aliens, whom, being genetically modified, aren't technically raccoons anymore. Their offspring have the same sentient, intelligent capacity as their forebearers. Their own customs, traditions, and perhaps even religion. If these other raccoons weren't made until after Rocket left Halfworld, he'd have no idea that there were others like him, off having children and living normal lives. So. Technically. He'd be a member, one of the first, of a new race of genetically modified raccoon aliens. Wouldn't that make for a story? Rocket find a planet where others like him live, they even know about him, him being amongst the first of their kind, if not THE first of their kind? Just a theory. Who knows what Marvel's going to do? Sometimes their nuttier than fruitcakes over there! Haha

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    1. But under that theory, wouldn't their reply be that he is both. And actually when they *read* the question right before giving the answer Alex had given, they did say genetically modified raccoon for the first option. And the answer, was, without any qualifications, "alien race". I would not want to report this as a fact if there was any chance I could be wrong, I to some degree still am choosing not to acknowledge this change. Now, I have not yet gone back and watched that original interview with Alex when my answer was first given. Maybe he was less direct in his answer.

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    2. Just checked, they have no videos of Marvel Live interviews uploaded yet. As I believe I mentioned in the article, their internet was down when they conducted the interview (and they did them in a skybox at NYCC), so they only ones who have heard the actual interview with Alex are those who were present. *Maybe* when they gave me their answer later that day, they were mistaken or misunderstood Alex. Y'know, I would love to turn out to be wrong on this, but I'm not counting on it.

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  6. He's probably an alien space frog that happens to look like a raccoon and is offended at being called a raccoon, despite his last name, in the same way a rocket scientist would be offended about being called a shoemaker just because that happened to be his last name. He wouldn't want to be compared to poor people working in a Chinese sweatshop.

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    1. Heh. I know you are somewhat kidding here, but the fact remains that, before Bendis and Loeb took over the writing of cosmic Marvel, Rocket referred to himself numerous times as a raccoon, and proudly so.

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  7. I know and I was just joking. Rocket is a raccoon and though he comes from Halfworld, I think because of him, the other animals, and even the humans that we're places there long ago that's may be of Earth decent from long ago, though he probably doesn't know it.

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    1. That would've been the plot development *I* would have done for Rocket. He finds out he is directly of Earth raccoon descent. Would be kind of amusing, as much as he's sorta considered Earth inferior in the past.

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  8. Was he ever really an Earth raccoon? Was the other animals that were guards in that prison Earth born creatures too?

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    1. He was not from Earth, but he was *definitely* a genetically modified raccoon, so, unless there is another planet that happens to have raccoons as fauna, it would not be a huge leap to presume he had Earth ancestry at some point. There were numerous references to him being a raccoon in the Annihilation: Conquest / Guardians v2 / Thanos: Imperative era. Trust me people, I know my Rocket history very, very well (I wrote his bio for this site)

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  9. I'm pretty sure that when GOTG started filming James Gunn said something along the lines of, "it's hard to have a robotic raccoon but rocket is important" something like that. I can't find the exact quote but Gunn has stated that rocket is the most important part. I don't think they will make him an alien that looks like a raccoon. I don't think Gunn would allow that

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