Created by writer Bill Mantlo and writer-artist Keith Giffen, Rocket Raccoon first appeared in the pages of Marvel Preview #7 (Summer 1976) as a supporting player in another character’s story. He then did not appear again until he popped up in Incredible Hulk #271 (cover dated May 1982), also written by Mantlo as part of his long run on the series.
In 1985, Marvel Comics produced a four-issue Rocket Raccoon mini-series written by Mantlo, penciled by Mike Mignola and inked by Al Gordon and Al Milgrom. After that, he faded from view again, popping up only in Quasar #15 and Sensational She-Hulk #44-46 before again disappearing for a while.
When he was revived again, this time by co-creator Keith Giffen, it was for the Annihilation: Conquest storyline and in the pages of the Annihilation: Conquest - Star-Lord mini-series, leading to the formation of the present day incarnation of the future super team The Guardians of the Galaxy.
But did you know he got his start from a Beatles song?
When Rocket first appeared, he was even called “Rocky” (in his Incredible Hulk appearance we found out that “Rocky,” which he was called in his first story, was short for “Rocket”), providing a direct tie to the song “Rocky Raccoon” from their album The Beatles (colloquially known as “The White Album”).
What’s more, the title page of Incredible Hulk #271 spells it out: “Now Somewhere In the Black Holes of Sirius Major There Lived a Young Boy Named Rocket Raccoon, and in the issue the Hulk helps Rocket stop a villain from stealing Gideon's Bible.”
There’s more in the issue as well.
Further Rocket Racoon stories weren’t so tied to The Beatles’ song, but with the Guardians of the Galaxy movie due out in August 2014, it’s a good bet that people will be seeking out his early appearances.