Every Sunday morning we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!
Incredible Hulk #271 – May, 1982
Cover Art by Allen Milgrom
For comic fans, well, for comic movie fans anyway, the biggest news on any planet this past week was the release of the first trailer for “The Guardians of the Galaxy” film. I know I’m hyped to see Marvel’s irreverent space-opera unfold on the big screen, and especially to see the cuddly cosmic crusader, Rocket Raccoon, come to life. But you might be asking yourself, “Where the “flark” does this rascally little space ranger come from?”
Rocket first appeared in the black & white magazine-sized Marvel Preview #7, during the summer of 1976. He was inspired by the Beatles’ song, “Rocky Raccoon“, and, in fact, was initially called, “Rocky”. He also had a British accent back then (if such a thing can be determined by comic book dialogue) and was a “small” player in a short second-feature story called, “The Sword in the Star”, by writer Bill Mantlo and artist Keith Giffen.
Rocket did not appear on the cover of a comic until his second outing in The Incredible Hulk #271, the jade giant’s twentieth anniversary issue, also written by the Raccoon’s creator, Bill Mantlo, in a story titled, “Now Somewhere In the Black Holes of Sirius Major There Lived a Young Boy Name of Rocket Raccoon!” (A tribute to the first line of the Beatles’ tune.)
The story in Hulk #271 is about as crazy as they come. As part of a multi-issue plotline that has the Green Goliath gallivanting across the galaxy, the Hulk wakes up on Rocket Raccoon’s home planet of Halfworld, located in the Keystone Quadrant. It’s a place inhabited by Keystone Kops, talking animals, robots and killer clowns. The Hulk commits to helping Rocket recover “Gideon’s Bible” (another nod to the Beatles song) from the hands of a murderous mole that is determined to use it to rule their world.
Who knows if we’ll see an appearance of the loony Halfworld in The Guardians of the Galaxy movie, but that could be very cool. GotG director, James Gunn, claims that Rocket is the heart his film, so it’s a possibility.
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