Over the past five years, Skottie Young catalogued some curious flora and fauna in the merry old land of Oz with a series of wondrous comic adaptations. Now he looks to the stars.
This July, Young clicks his heels, trading the whimsical bounds of the Yellow Brick Road for the seediest dives just off Orion’s Belt when he assumes his role as writer and artist for an all-new ROCKET RACCOON ongoing series.
“We’re not taking it Marvel MAX or anything,” says Young of the book’s tone. “You’re not gonna see any raccoon private parts. But I definitely want to play up the attitude people have come to expect and enjoy, never confusing Rocket for a cute and cuddly anthropomorphic character.”
He likens Rocket to another hard-living party animal, promising high explosives and belly laughs:
“I like that he’s got a little of that Deadpool funk to him. We’ve got a raccoon with a big gun. I think we want to make sure he shoots it some.”
But what’s a big bazooka without something to point it at? Luckily, the larger Marvel Universe offers a host of wily marauders and quivering tentacles in many shapes, colors and degrees of lechery. Readers can expect cameos from a number of recognizable aliens and an even wider assortment of new nightmares.
Of course, not every reunion will be a happy one. Rocket didn’t get to his current position without making a few thousand enemies and breaking even more hearts.
“I figure that a guy like Rocket, with his attitude, has swindled his way over many planets and charmed many ladies,” says Young. “He’s racked up a militia of ex-girlfriends I’m dubbing the Exterminators. They’re all fed up and they’ve decided it’s time they dish out some payback on his furry little tail.”
Luckily, Rocket continues to cultivate a rewarding friendship with his wingman, the mighty Groot.
“That’s his homie, man,” Young explains. “Groot’s gonna be there. He takes a hurting in the first issue, but we get to see how we bring him back. I don’t think you can have a Rocket Raccoon story without Groot.”
Young explains that the immensity of composing a space opera might not have hit him just yet. He’s far more invested in cartoon physics than he is with astronomy. For him, the vast canvas of space serves as backdrop to a humorous adventure steeped in character.
“That’s the fun of it. Get to the character first, whether he’s riding in a hot rod or flying around in a spaceship. As long as the character is first and foremost, everything else is a bonus.”
The continuing journey takes Rocket and readers through the most deranged territories of deep space, from raucous wrestling matches to creepy prison planets. Along the way, Young hopes readers will take a moment to step back and appreciate the little galactic hooligan born with a furry mask for the gold-hearted rogue he’ll always be.
“Despite Rocket’s attitude and ‘Boom! Murdered ya!’ antics he has a heart under there,” he says. “He has some things he may or may not want to need in his life. He’s going to have to examine that. When you’re believed to be the last of your kind left in this galaxy or all the galaxies, that’s something you carry with you. That plays a role in the way you operate. We’ll see him explore that a little bit.
“But ya know, right after that he’ll probably shoot some stuff.”