A lot of people will tell you this was Rocket Raccoon’s first appearance, but it wasn’t. That was six years earlier, in a back-up feature in Marvel Premiere #7, written by Bill Mantlo, where he was just called “Rocky.” But that issue is arguably not even canon.
In this issue of Hulk, Bill Mantlo brought him back. There are multiple references to the Beatles’ song, such as the story’s title: “Now Somewhere In the Black Holes of Sirius Major There Lived a Young Boy Named Rocket Raccoon.”
He’s pretty different, but still a crotchety guy with lots of equipment.
And still lots of strangeness. This story is a space war against clowns.
It’s amazing to think that the character was almost lost to history as a novelty, when he’s now a huge movie star.