Happy Rocket Raccoon Day 2016! & 40 Years of Awesome Giveaway (Giveaway Closed/Winners Chosen)

Cosmic Greetings, all! This is Rocketite Commander Leo Wyld. It's been a while, hasn't it?

I am posting today for celebration. Marvel Preview, a magazine-like comic publication, introduced several now-important Marvel characters. For instance, Marvel Preview #4 in January 1976 introduced the world to the now well-known (then quite obscure) Peter "Star-Lord" Quill. In that Marvel Preview #4, aside from Quill's story, was also introduced a series, an Odyssey-In-Space feature called Sword in the Stars, written by one Bill Mantlo. Months later, in Marvel Preview #7, released June 1976, in a continuation of that Sword in the Stars we met a new character, a gun-toting talking raccoon, who, as the creature said, his friends called Rocky. Yes, even though his personality was a tad different and the setting does not now fit into 616 canon, this was the debut of Rocket Raccoon (and pretty cool him and his second-best-friend Quill kinda had a connection even back in 1976). If you do the math (or read all of the title), yes, that means this June is Rocket Raccoon's 40th Anniversary. Today, June 15th is the first observance of Rocket Raccoon Day.

Since Marvel Preview #7 was a monthly publication closer to a magazine, it is much more difficult than a comic book to pin down a specific date (it would have likely arrived at different retailers on different dates). So, what I did, as chief fandom representative, called the day in the middle of June our new date of celebration. June 15th. We once used March 22nd as Raccoonatics' Day for a similar celebration but that was changed (as explained here).

The Sword in the Stars story didn't really gain traction and never became part of proper canon. For any regular obscure character, it could've ended there
for Rocky, but, clearly, Bill Mantlo had a fondness for the character. Six years later, he was introduced properly (and officially as Rocket) into the proper modern canon in a special 20th anniversary issue of Incredible Hulk, issue number 271. Not only was Rocket allowed to be an important part of Hulk's big milestone, three years later, he would received his own self-title four-issue limited series. Rocket Raccoon had become a proper comic book star. Unfortunately, it would end there for our procyonid pal, for over twenty years. Aside from a minor appearance in a She-Hulk story and a couple minor panel cameos, Rocket would be unseen again properly until 2007's Annihilation: Conquest's Star-Lord story arc.



Largely inspired by the input of then editor Bill Rosemann, it was decided to reintroduce Rocket Raccoon (and his buddy Groot, by the way) in a group of Kree prisoners who join Peter Quill's taskforce to help battle the Phalanx. With the Phalanx defeated, Quill decided the galaxy needed heroes to prevent similar threats. Among his prospective members for his new heroic endeavor was, of course, his recent comrade-at-arms Rocket Raccoon.

So it was, Rocket Raccoon became a founding member of Quill's cosmic justice team. The team was unnamed at first, a fact that bothered Rocket. He tried to come up with various names, but found particular inspiration after the team encountered a time-displaced Vance Astro, who came from the future. Vance had belonged to a certain team of heroes whose team name Rocket apparently though was cool. From then until today, while he's had some fun non-team outings with just Groot and others, the Guardians of the Galaxy has become a very important part of who Rocket Raccoon is. In a number of ways, he is the heart of the team.

Despite being a very well-written story, Guardians of the Galaxy volume 2 did not perform very well commercially, and it ended after 25 issues, its heroes' stories wrapped up in the Thanos Imperative. Rocket Raccoon would get another lease on life when Marvel decided, to the surprise of many, to do a Guardians of the Galaxy movie. While in early drafts, Rocket was not going to on the film's version of the team, it was fortunately decided he was needed -- and director/writer James Gunn has since said Rocket is one of his favorite members of the team, and the character with which he most relates.

As with pretty much any other property that touches the MCU, the Guardians of the Galaxy saw a mainstream surge of popularity and widespread merchandising. Now, Rocket Raccoon is everywhere. Despite being an early casualty of the recent Secret Wars, he is still with the Guardians of the Galaxy, as well starring alongside his buddy Groot in their own series. There is a Guardians animated series. And many video game appearances (I particularly recommend the free-to-play MMOARPG Marvel Heroes, which is what the picture above is from). We have a second Guardians movie coming next May. We don't know what will happen to Rocket in the movie, but I trust James Gunn will, once again, properly display his awesomeness.

Rocket Raccoon had a lot against him starting out. He was a sidekick in a minor story. He was a talking animal. He didn't have traditional super powers. Any character in that situation could have easily faded into obscurity (and many similar characters have). But, against all odds, Rocket Raccoon has become an indelible part of the modern Marvel landscape and it does not look like that will change any time. At 40 years out, I'd say he's doing pretty d'ast good and I think he, indeed, has a bright future.

Rocket Raccoon Day is about celebrating Rocket Raccoon's awesomeness and about celebrating his fans because the only thing that may possibly be more awesome than Rocket are the Rocketites. Truly, I have met some of the best people through this fandom. That brings us to...

40 Years of Awesomeness Giveaway

To help have a proper celebration, my good friend, our Rocketite Herald, worked with an artist friend (and Rocketite Praetor)  EmptySet to create a T-shirt design to commemorate this great occasion. So, for Rocket Raccoon Day we are opening this giveaway.

5 entrants will be randomly chosen to receive a free 40 Years of Rocket Raccoon T-Shirt. Simply post in comments below to enter. Say your favorite thing about Rocket Raccoon. Also, list a way to contact you, preferably Twitter or Marvel Heroes fThe contest will close at noon EDT on June 22nd. Winners will be selected shortly afterwards.
orums. If you win, you will have to provide your address to our Rocketite Herald so he can ship you your prize. Please do not enter if you are uncomfortable with doing that.



Good luck, all. And, until next time, see ya 'round the Raccooniverse!

Update: The giveaway has ended. And we have our winners!
@__Maiq
@marko_t_rat
@RocketingRocky
thecoywolfzearoth
Raczoon
titoamor

The last three on that list, please respond in comments with contact info, so I can get you in contact with Herald for shipping info. (And yes, I counted correctly, I ended up picking six winners instead of five. A couple members of the fandom I'd planned to give shirts to fell through, so I thought... why not throw another one on here)

31 comments:

  1. @RocketingRocky

    The thing I like about Rocket is that he has a great tactical mind. Hes able to circumnavigate a battlefield and make strategies that won't get his team killed.

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  2. What i like most about Rocket is his appearance as a leader and tough guy and his clinical (sometimes) sarcasm, but at the same time the fact that he's a good-hearted guy who can show loyalty and friendship.

    My e-mail: 3visan@fastwebnet.it
    My twitter: @MaxTrevi19

    P.S. I hope is not a problem that i live in Italy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've shipped shirts to some members of the fandom already and some of those were international. So, being in Italy shouldn't be a problem.

      Delete
  3. Well first of all i LOVE raccoons, then as an engineer i like Rocket, and i think he is as good at least as Tony Stark, and also his strategical thinking for no saying the "LETS SHOOT AND BOMB EVERYTHING! 😎😼" part.

    Twitter: @__Maiq
    Mail: migueldh---@hotmail.com
    Or: migueldh1905@gmail.com

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  5. The prize is perfect. Have to enter! Wifey will be crazy about that Shirt.
    Fluffy furry guy with big guns and even bigger mouth. Can't get much better, can it?!

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  6. I adore raccoons. Rehabilitated them for 12 years out-of-pocket, and hope to again if money permits. Imagine my delight when I learned of Rocket Raccoon and ordered my 1st and only comic books (mint :-) And turns out, we're the same age! The guy's brilliant, and tenacious, and a sweetheart when you get to know him. True to his species. Couldn't be more delighted that his movie rendition was as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congratulations! You are a winner. You didn't leave any contact info, though. Do you have Twitter or could you create a Twitter account? We have to get you in touch with Herald to give him your address.

      Delete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. Other than being totally handsome he is just plain hilarious ^_^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congratulations! You are a winner. You didn't leave any contact info, though. Do you have Twitter or could you create a Twitter account? We have to get you in touch with Herald to give him your address.

      Delete
  9. Rocket Raccoon has been a joy to see in film and I wouldn't have seen him otherwise. I've been a fan ever since and digging up back catalogue comics and have been following the present. He represents all the best and worst in me and it's nice to relate to a character so closely.
    Looking forward to more as a Rocketite ^^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congratulations! You are a winner. You didn't leave any contact info, though. Do you have Twitter or could you create a Twitter account? We have to get you in touch with Herald to give him your address.

      Delete
    2. Oh wow! Thank you so much!
      My twitter handle is @titoamor

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  10. I love Rocket for being a bad arse raccoon but on a meta level I love him for how far he's come. When Bill created him as a minor ally for The Hulk all those years ago, I don't think he ever dreamed he was going to end up a major character in a big budget movie.
    Twitter: @marko_t_rat

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  11. It is surprising that the company Marvel cares about producing some new characters. It makes their comics more popular among the fans.

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