The character was created by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen and inspired by the Beatles song “Rocky Raccoon”. Other references to the song were featured in Rocket’s appearance in this issue of The Incredible Hulk which was titled “Now Somewhere In the Black Holes of Sirius Major There Lived a Young Boy Named Rocket Raccoon” which saw the Hulk help Rocket stop a villain trying to steal “Gideon’s Bible”, which in the Marvel Universe was a book that contained the sum of all knowledge on the Loonies colony.
Rocket Raccoon acts as the “Guardian of the Keystone Quadrant”, an area of outer space sealed off from the rest of the cosmos by the so-called Galacian Wall. Rocket is captain of the starship Rack ‘n’ Ruin, and he and his first mate Wal Rus (a talking walrus) come from the planet Halfworld in the Keystone Quadrant, an abandoned colony for the mentally ill where the animal companions were genetically manipulated to grant them human level intelligence and bipedal body construction for many to become caretakers of the inmates. Rocket was Halfworld’s chief law officer (“ranger”) who protected the colony against various threats.
At one point, Judson Jakes tried to steal the Halfworld Bible, but was thwarted by Rocket and various animal associates. Later, Lord Dyvyne abducted Rocket’s friend Lylla, and Jakes began the Toy War. As the Toy War continued, Blackjack O’Hare teamed up with Rocket, and Rocket was reunited with Lylla. The Rack ‘n’ Ruin was soon destroyed, as Judson Jakes and Lord Dyvyne teamed up to kill Rocket Raccoon. Rocket Raccoon and his friends cured the Loonies of their mental illnesses, as Judson Jakes and Lord Dyvyne were apparently killed. Rocket and the animals as well as the robots left Halfworld and took off into space for their own adventures. Some time later, Rocket was revealed to have been a laboratory subject on the Stranger’s planet, and escaped his captivity there.
From: The Incredible Hulk #271 (May 1982)