Issue 005 - Step One: Have an Awesome Hero Named Rocket Raccoon, Step Two: ???, Step Three: Profit!!!
In Rocket's Annihilators: Earthfall side feature, we had a comical story, in which Mojo's Majordomo tried to create a Rocket & Groot show in the Mojoverse to capitalize on merchandising. While a joke story, clearly, it does raise an interesting question, why not market such an interesting (and awesome) hero?
If you are a fan of Spider-Man, Wolverine, or Iron Man, you can literally get any item under the sun branded with your favorite hero. We Raccoonatics do not have quite so many opportunities. With the movie coming next year, that is certainly going to change, but I am here to look at the options that Rocket's fans have currently.
These barely count as merchandise for Rocket. He is a comic character, so his medium of comic books is the primary way in which he is presented to us by Marvel. Collected works, however, fit the mold of the merchandise concept better than separate comic issues. There are actually, I believe, three different books out there that are about collected works for Rocket and/or his buddy Groot. Of these, the one I will recommend is...
The Rocket Raccoon and Groot Complete Collection. This book has Groot's first appearance, Rocket's first appearance, his Hulk story, his '85 limited series, and both his Annihilators and Annihilators: Earthfall side features. Basically, it is everything Rocket was in outside of the Conquest/Guardians teams (except for his brief She-Hulk appearance and his Infinity comic). I bought this myself, even though I had the stories separately, because it is convenient to have them in one place and it is a great way to introduce people to the character.
Even the most obscure of superheroes tend to at least have some sort of plastic representation out in the world and Rocket Raccoon has several.
Rocket Box-Set Figurine
A rather small figure, but a good likeness to his early volume 2 appearance. It is possible to find this one sold separately on Ebay, etc., but you will likely have to, as I did, buy the whole box set to get him, which runs from about 20 to 25 dollars.
Rocket Raccoon Build-A-Figure
Don't need to post a separate picture of this one (it is the picture I use as the intro to my Flarkin' Awesome issues, the Groot in the picture is from the above box set, though). At a glance, it might be mistaken as being very similar to the above figurine. The BAF figure is much larger, more detailed, and has more articulation. It was definitely worth what I paid and is the figurine that currently has a position of honor on my desk. Heh. And speaking of what I paid, you have a couple options with this one. The pieces of the figure were sold alongside different Marvel figures. You could buy all those figures and collect the pieces, as Marvel likely intended, or you can do what I did and look for a complete set of parts on Ebay. I paid around 35 dollars. Sounds like a lot, but, had I bought all the separate figures to get all the Rocket parts, I would've paid a lot more. And as I said, it is an awesome figure and worth it, in my opinion.
Hero Clix is a tabletop strategy game that uses small plastic figures representing essentially every comic book hero from DC, Marvel, and other companies. Rocket currently has a Hero Clix figure which I actually do not yet have.
You will see this one pop-up on Amazon from time to time at a fairly reasonable price (the link I provided may or may not work by the time you read this). In my opinion, he looks a bit odd in this interpretation, a bit thin and tall. I may get it eventually, but I would recommend either of the two figures above over this one. And I've heard there will be a new Rocket Hero Clix figure coming out alongside a Guardians set in the future, so maybe watch for that (this one was included in a Thor set, for some reason)
The big comic book character apparel item is, of course, the T-Shirt, and that is pretty much all you are going to find for Rocket, currently. I've listed below some of them.
This is the only Rocket Raccoon shirt I currently have, but I really do like it. Iconic cover art image from Guardians of the Galaxy volume 2.
Rocket Raccoon Retro Appearance Shirt
Rather interesting one here. They used Rocket's old 80's look combined with the proclamation of his being a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy (which he did not help form until 2008). Even so, it looks pretty cool, plan to get it someday, and we ran a separate article on this very site about it once. (The link goes to a white version of the shirt, the colored shirt link was not working at the time. Just look up Rocket Raccoon on Amazon, though, and you will find it.)
Another shirt with Guardians of the Galaxy volume 2 cover art. Technically it is merchandise for the whole team, but our guy Rocket is front and center, so good enough.
I would not be at all surprised if there are other shirts out there I do not have listed. Comic book characters are a very common inspiration for T-Shirts, even characters like Rocket Raccoon.
Maybe not traditionally what some would consider merchandise, but getting to play as your favorite hero is sure fun. Rocket's star has really just started to rise, so his appearances in video games have been few and recent.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
Marvel's decision to have Capcom include Rocket Raccoon in the upgraded version of the popular fighting game may have received some decidedly split reactions. For many people, myself included, his announcement for the roster was the first they had heard of Mr. Awesome. And, for that, I am forever grateful to Capcom for agreeing and Marvel for, presumably, insisting on his inclusion. It is a side-view 2D streetfighting combo-based fighter, the models and environments themselves are three-dimensional, though. Honestly, I am horrible at these things, but I bought it and, with its colorful varied cast and over-the-top moves, it is a fun game to play. You should be able to find this one numerous places for cheap, but, if you wanna play Rocket, make sure it is Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
Free online Diablo-esque ARPG (actually made by David Brevik, who created the first two Diablo games) and my current drug of choice, heh. Rocket is, of course, on the roster, or I wouldn't have listed it here. Peter Quill is also confirmed to be coming alongside another Guardian, who I am hearing may be Gamora. You can find my now somewhat outdated review here (the game has had many additions and improvements since I wrote that). Gazillion is constantly at work responding to their players through actions and words. They are consistently participating in forums and are just awesome people. How awesome are they, well, I will just leave a pic of this new unique item....
LEGO Marvel Superheroes
The newest game to feature Rocket Raccoon. I've got the PC version. Just finished story last night, but was up late doing so, and I have not had time to unlock Rocket Raccoon. And not just Rocket, the current modern team is all represented here: Peter Quill, Rocket, Groot, Gamora, and Drax. Even Nova is on the game. The Guardians are not exactly part of the story proper, but they do kinda show up in it, kinda. Won't spoil when, but they are actually introduced as a team, which is pretty cool.
Update: Since I wrote the original draft of this article, I have had to opportunity to unlock and play all the Guardians, including Rocket Raccoon. For the Raccoonatics, I must say, it is somewhat disappointing. Rocket looks ok, despite the fact they clearly just textured Squirrel Girl's tail for his tail. After all, he is short and stout anyway, so that fits the LEGO figure aesthetic well. It is ironic that Marvel made a decision to drop Rocket's Cockney accent while this game was being developed because I have never heard him sound more British than he does on LEGO Marvel. He even uses obvious British slang. But it is ok and amusing voice acting, what you hear of it. Here is the rub. As a character in this game, Rocket Raccoon is practically useless. He has no situational powers to interact with special items. What little we have seen of Rocket's bare paws, he does not have very long claws, but giving him digging or the ability to interact with claw switches would've made some sense. And, given he is a raccoon, the supersenses ability that both Wolverine and Beast have would have made plenty of sense, too. Rocket only runs, despite the fact they could have given him a rocket pack for flight. His only attacking is firing his large slow gun (no rapid blaster blasts for combos), and said gun does not even damage silver or gold bricks (c'mon, guys, Rocket has some of the most powerful guns in the galaxy). You'd think he'd have enough procyonid agility and nimbleness to climb acrobatic wall sets, but nope. And, to top it all off, presumably because of his shortness, he cannot use vehicles or even activate the most basic switches and devices (which I believe every other hero can). So, if you want to play as Rocket, you get to shoot at enemies very slowly, and that's about it. Again, disappointing. For the Galaxians general, the other Guardians don't really have situational abilities either. At least Starlord, Drax, and Gamora can use vehicles and activate switches. And they do have their proper weapons. Quill even has flight (he's the only one who does), but you'd think the element guns he is clearly using could interact with special bricks. Groot is probably the most useful, since he is a big figure and big figures can do a number of special things throughout certain levels.
Forgot this one in my first run through, mostly because it does not fit with the other categories.
A fabric wall poster featuring Rocket as he appeared in artwork for UMvC3. This is listed at about 30 dollars on Amazon (not sure if it is sold elsewhere) and I do not have it, myself. But I've got that Skottie Young litho now, so I don't mind too much.
Ah, the holy grails of the Raccoonatic fandom, those items that Marvel chooses not to give to the general public but only to sell to the convention-goers. There are two main ones.
The Coffee Mug
Coffee is, like, the only thing the Raccoonatic Commander drinks. It is almost as important to me as Rocket Raccoon. So, this is an item I really, really, really wanted. After its first appearance, at NYCC 12, they were selling for fifty dollars. I thought that was steep. But, after they were sold one more final time at SDCC this year, the prices on Ebay jumped to hundreds of dollars. Ah well. (There was also a smart phone case with this design, but I don't have a smart phone currently, so that didn't bother me as much)
This was sold as an exclusive at the NYCC this year, alongside a Skottie Young lithograph. As you may have seen me proclaim (on practically every place online I go), I have a very awesome friend in Onoroian who bought me one of these plushies and it is now on my desk. They had 1000 of the plushie/litho sets and sold all of them at NYCC. The plushie is currently selling for over 100 dollars on Ebay (still cheaper than the coffee mugs).
With the big movie coming next August and Rocket beginning to finally be recognized as the awesome hero he is, I think we will be seeing plenty of Rocket and Guardians merchandising in the coming months. And, I will likely be much poorer because of that. Heh. So, are there any cool Rocket items that I missed in this article? Feel free to share.
Until next time, stay awesome and see ya 'round the Raccooniverse!
(P.S.: Sorry for posting this myself, Cameron. I tried to contact you about it. I guess you are busy or something, which is fine. If you need to pull it down or edit it later that's cool.)