Rocket and Groot visit from Marvel Universe LIVE!

Welcome to a brand-new episode of Marvel’s Eat the Universe!

We are ravaging across the universe with the cast of Marvel Universe LIVE, including some very special guests, Rocket and Groot! In this installment, Rocket decides on what to eat, and he chose…trash?

Watch the show above to find out how your host, chef Justin Warner, works his magic to create a leftover-filled omelette, then dive into the recipe below to try it yourself!

Raccoons, also known by the scientific community as “trash pandas” are some of the most resourceful critters around. The original crust kids, city-dwelling raccoons live off of whatever they can find, and you can too!

This recipe illustrates that omelettes and stock are two of the greatest ways to turn food that might go to waste in to something delicious. Anything with a bone will make for good stock, and that goes for veggies as well. The omelette is great for using up pre-cooked ingredients, like doggy-bag food from restaurants or leftover takeout.

Ingredients:
-Chicken carcass
-Beet stems and leaves
-Onion skins
-Cilantro
-1/4 cup + 2 Tb vegetable oil
-Olive oil
-Kosher Salt
-Black pepper
-Half a juiced lemon
-Ketchup packets
-Leftovers (we used Indian food, leftover rice, and Chicken Tikka Masala)
-4 eggs
-2 Tb butter
-I am Groot

Special gear:
-coffee filters

Instructions:
Cover the chicken carcass with cold water, add the beet stems and onion skins, and bring to a boil. Cook for about an hour or until the stock has developed a nice aroma.

Meanwhile, in a blender, pulverize the cilantro and 1/4 cup vegetable oil until it is liquefied. Pour this mixture through two coffee filters set in a colander or sieve over a glass bowl. This might take some time, but the good news is that the oil will keep, refrigerated, for weeks (unlike your cilantro).

Roll up the beet leaves and slice in to strips. Season them with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Use a rasp grater to zest your lemon half in to the dressed greens, and toss to incorporate.

To make the Indian fried rice, heat the 2 Tb vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add the rice and cook until toasty, stirring frequently. Add the rest of the Indian food and stir until warmed and cooked through.

Beat 4 eggs with 2 ounces of your brand new stock. Season the eggs with salt and pepper.

In a nonstick pan set over medium-low heat, melt the butter and cook until foamy.

Add the eggs and allow to cook for about 30 seconds. Stir the eggs twice using a rubber spatula, then cover and cook for about two more minutes. Inspect the eggs and spread any uncooked egg to the edge of the omelette. Cover and cook another minute.

Slice the omelette in to a bowl and fill with the fried rice mixture. Place a plate over the bowl and invert to make a rice-filled omelette dome of goodness.

Loosen up the ketchup to a pourable consistency using your brand new stock and drizzle on to the omelet. Top with the greens and cilantro oil and devour!

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It’s all been leading to April 27!

There was an idea, to bring together a group of remarkable people, to see if we could become something more.

We’re nearing the April 27 release of “Avengers: Infinity War”! Last week, Marvel Studios revealed five character posters. Now, they’re back with 22 mighty posters spotlighting each of our impressive super heroes ready to take a stand against the threat that is Thanos!

Leading the gallery above is the first Avenger (and birthday boy) himself, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man! See the rest of the Avengers and their super allies — Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Chadwick Boseman as King T’Challa/Black Panther, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel voicing Rocket and Groot, Paul Bettany as Vision, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Dave Bautista as Drax, Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine, and Benedict Wong as Wong.

“Avengers: Infinity War” opens in theaters on April 27. Get tickets on Fandango now! Stay tuned to Marvel.com, follow @Avengers on Twitter, and Like “The Avengers” on Facebook for the latest on the Avengers as it develops!

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The Armored Avenger and a trio of Guardians of the Galaxy are all part of the fun.

Boasting the largest collection of Marvel Super Heroes and Super Villains ever assembled on a cruise ship, Marvel Day at Sea offers heroic encounters of epic proportions.

The Marvel Day at Sea sailings from New York City this fall marked the first official appearance of Iron Man, Star-Lord, Gamora and Groot on a Disney Cruise Line ship. They’ll soon be back when Marvel Day at Sea returns on select sailings from Miami this January through April.

When Tony Stark isn’t promoting the latest Stark Industries technology, he’s greeting guests and showing off his Iron Man armor. Don’t miss the chance to shake his hand before his big gala that night.

You may even run into some of your favorite Guardians of the Galaxy around the ship.

Just know that Gamora may not be very amused if Star-Lord kicks off an impromptu dance party! But you’ll have another chance to see the dance-loving Star-Lord get his groove on later in the evening at Fathoms nightclub, which turns into a Ravager hideout just for adults.

Iron Man and Groot are two of the Marvel heroes you are guaranteed a time to meet and take photographs with during the cruise. Before you even step onboard, you have the chance to reserve time with these characters and more under the My Disney Cruise section of www.disneycruise.com.

Want to see more of the Super Heroes and Villains you can encounter during Marvel Day at Sea? Stay tuned for another inside look later this week.

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Digging into the roots of everyone’s favorite tree!

Everybody loves him, but nobody really understands him…and not just what he’s saying, either! Quick—where did Groot come from? What’s the name of his species? How did he meet Rocket Raccoon? If you don’t know the answers, you’re not alone.

The history of Groot weaves a complex web. Having started as a minor character, the talking tree finally received more frequent opportunities to shine in the wake of the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” film. Now he stars alongside the Guardians, his best friend Rocket—and in his own solo series!

On September 27, writer Christopher Hastings and artist Flaviano present the conclusion of I AM GROOT with issue #5!

But before we reach that ending, let’s go back to where it all began for the character. Groot’s story has to be pieced together—and while it doesn’t come to light chronologically, it’d probably be easier to hear it in the order that it happened to him in.

Okay, are you ready? Say it with me: I! Am! Groot!

Groot’s childhood exile

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #14, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Nick Bradshaw, explained Groot’s origins for the first time. Framed as a kind of nature documentary, the story explained that Groot originated as a Flora Colossus from Planet X. The book illuminated the social order of the planet, with the Flora Colossi ruled by a monarchy and an elite group called the “Arbor Masters.” Together, these leaders teach children—called saplings—via a method known as “Photonic Knowledge.” In this process, the accumulated knowledge and experience of generations of elders gets psychically absorbed by the young through a kind of photosynthesis; this ultra-advanced educational practice provides the Flora Colossi with genius level intelligence.

The planet’s biome gets tended to by subservient “Maintenance Mammals” (small, squirrel-like creatures) forced into slavery in service of the Arbor Masters. In his youth on Planet X, Groot finds an unlikely friendship with these oppressed animals—and even prefers their company to that of his fellow saplings; Groot doesn’t get along with his own kind, as the adult Flora Colossi regularly kidnap and perform harrowing experiments on other life forms to further their study of the universe. The moral implications of these scientific atrocities horrify a young Groot, as do his peers’ harsh and violent treatment of his Maintenance Mammal friends. Acting on his conscience leads to his banishment from his home world; an unseen narrator explains that Groot got exiled from his people for injuring another sapling as he protected a Maintenance Mammal from attack.

Later, in GROOT #6 by writer Jeff Loveness and artist Brian Kesinger, the tree communicates, via psychic link, to Jean Grey to explain that the original story of his banishment has actually been sanitized…because the mammal he protected from the other saplings proved to not be a Maintenance Mammal after all, but in fact a little Earth girl named Hannah. He reveals that he saw her trapped and terrified by his people and sent her home in a rescue pod—then came the consequences.

Doing time

While it remains unknown whether Groot got arrested for unrelated reasons or sent directly to a prison for treason against his people, we next see our heroin this chronology  locked up—in GROOT #2—where his roommate turns out to be a certain anthropomorphic raccoon. Rocket learns to understand Groot and they forge a strong friendship in the process.

Communication between the duo took some time to be established—the result of Groot’s most famous feature: seemingly only being able to say the words “I am Groot.” As explained in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #17 by Maximus the Mad, Groot’s race experiences a hardening of the larynx and vocal chords during adolescence, forcing them to make the same sound over and over.

Angst, Phalanx, and robbing banks

After spending an undisclosed amount of time together in prison, Rocket and Groot receive an offer to join a rag-tag group fighting the Phalanx in ANNIHILATION CONQUEST: STARLORD—written by Keith Giffen with art by Timothy Green. This team becomes known as the Guardians of the Galaxy. At this point in Groot’s life, he claims to be the monarch of Planet X while—surprisingly—speaking normal, if somewhat pretentious, English. During this arc, Groot also volunteers for three separate suicide missions—each time saved from a branch clipping by Rocket.

2008’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #2, written by Lanning and Abnett with art from Paul Pelletier and Clint Langley, sees Groot’s vocal chords re-harden and his personality settle back into what it had been in his youth: kind-hearted and goofy. The next big change in his life came in the wake of THE THANOS IMPERATIVE in 2011—in a story written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning with art by Brad Walker—when the apparent deaths of Star-Lord and Nova cause the Guardians to disband.

In 2011’s ANNIHILATORS bonus story, by writers Abnett and Lanning and artist Tan Eng Huat, Groot returns to Planet X to help liberate his oppressed Maintenance Mammal friends who ran an underground resistance operation. When Groot arrives, though, he’s arrested and tortured for returning after exile and impersonating the monarch. Luckily for Groot, he has the greatest prison breaker in the universe at his side, and Rocket saves him from incarceration. Once the two finish their tearful reunion, they re-start the Guardians alongside Drax—and try to be a force of good in the galaxy.

Rocket and Groot then embark on a road trip to Earth where Groot finds his friend Hannah, now an old woman. This story—in writer Jeff Loveness and artist Declan Shalvey’s GROOT—further delves into the tree’s mind. We hear his psychic words, “Life is not about the shadow you cast on your enemies, but the shade you provide to your friends.”

Most recently, Groot has been spending an unusual amount of time attempting to re-generate from his “baby” state—even missing out on Rocket’s bank heist team in writer Al Ewing and artist Mike Mayhew’s recent ROCKET #1 due to his vulnerable condition. As witnessed in ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, by writer Gerry Duggan and artist Aaron Kuder, the nature of this form and the unique abilities that makeit so are explored in this year’s I AM GROOT series—written by Christopher Hastings with art by Flaviano—where a tiny Groot finds himself trapped on a strange planet in another dimension where no one can understand him. And the finale of this series, issue #5, drops on September 27!

I am Groot

He certainly says an answer enough, but, really, who is Groot? Find the long answer above, but here’s the short one—proven by years of moments and stories, trials and adventures: he’s a friend.

Check out Christopher Hastings and artist Flaviano’s I AM GROOT #5 on September 27!

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Writer Christopher Hastings catches us up on a long-lost Groot!

I AM GROOT has been a wild ride so far! Catapulted into a strange new dimension, Groot got separated from the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy. No one on his new planet understands a word he says (well, they can understand three) and he’s stuck in his vulnerable—though adorable—baby form. So, what’s a tree to do?

Find out, as I AM GROOT #5, by writer Christopher Hastings and artist Flaviano, launches on September 27!

Groot’s nearly home—but an ancient and unspeakable horror blocks his way back to his friends. Will he get back to the Guardians? Who, or more urgently, what could this mysterious villain be? I am Groot!?

Let’s ask Christopher Hastings to find out more!

Marvel.com: How’s Groot been faring recently? How close is he to getting back home?

Christopher Hastings: Groot is so close to opening the Forgotten Door—the door that will return him across the universe to the Guardians of the Galaxy! Now, the question is…will opening that door destroy the world of Terminal and kill the new friends he met there?

Marvel.com: There’s such a unique visual style and tone to this book. What were your inspirations?

Christopher Hastings: I tried to make this book feel a lot like the scarier children’s fantasies I grew up with—with weird monsters and locations, and a general sense of unease. The world can be a scary place for a kid and I like a story that acknowledges and respects that. So I tried to make frightening, strange scenes—with a mystery for Groot to unlock that ties them all together!

Marvel.com: What was your process in coming up with the “ancient unspeakable horror” through line in this book?

Christopher Hastings: I’ll confess, this horror might have been spoken about before. Throughout I AM GROOT, the inhabitants of Terminal have known some dreadful force brought terror to their world a long time ago, and they must not let it back in. I thought it would be fun if that scary thing might be something familiar to the folks all the way back on Earth, too. A baddie that really gets around, you know?

Marvel.com: That’s a lot for one little living twig to deal with. How has Groot been handling this first solo adventure? 

Christopher Hastings: It’s been pretty scary! But even though Groot’s a little guy, he finds that old strength in him when he needs it. At one point he even makes a connection to his larger, older self, which plays a big part across issue #4 and issue #5 of the series—as the two of them meet across time!

Marvel.com: What was the most challenging aspect of creating this book? The most rewarding aspect?

Christopher Hastings: The biggest challenge has been riding that line between mysterious and confusing. [Laughs] But thanks to the fantastic artists and editors on this book, I think we got it right. And the most rewarding thing has been seeing the awesome interpretation that our artists, Flaviano and Marcio Menyz, brought to the material.

Marvel.com: Any fun stories from the making of I AM GROOT?

Christopher Hastings: I had to start writing this before “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” came out in theaters, so I was very nervous to see if there would be any huge glaring differences between the baby Groot in the movie and the baby Groot in my comic. And I’m a bit surprised to have found out that maybe…I could have made Groot a bit more mischievous!

Marvel.com: But the cuteness—the cuteness is spot-on.

Explore I AM GROOT #5, by Christopher Hastings and artist Flaviano, on September 27!

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Congrats to Marvel Animation on their first Emmy nomination!

Thanks to a genetically-enhanced raccoon and a Flora colossus, Marvel Animation has garnered its very first Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Animation Short Form Program.” “Marvel’s Rocket & Groot” features the voice talents Trevor Devall (“Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Johnny Test”) as Rocket and Groot is voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson (“Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy,” “The Cleveland Show”).

Featuring animation by Oscar-nominated Passion Pictures, the shorts are directed by Arnaud Delord, written by Chris “Doc” Wyatt and Kevin Burke, executive produced by Cara Speller, Alan Fine, Dan Buckley, Joe Quesada, Cort Lane, and co-executive produced by Stephen Wacker and Stan Lee.

We spoke with SVP, Animation & Family Entertainment Cort Lane, as well as writers Chris “Doc” Wyatt and Kevin Burke about what makes the Emmy-nominated “Space Walk” short (above) so very special.

Marvel: This is Marvel Animation’s very first Emmy nomination, how excited were you when you found out the news?

Kevin Burke: I was in a state of denial for a bit, I was waiting for Cort to make the announcement. I was texting Doc, “Is this real, is this a misprint?”

Doc Wyatt: I checked the official Emmy website that has the nominations but I was also waiting to hear from Cort. I stalked his social media.

Cort Lane: I also checked the official Emmy website, then I congratulated the folks at Disney XD. Then it was a flurry (ed: on social media).

Kevin Burke: It’s thrilling!

Marvel: Marvel animated shows all have their own uniquely designed look—I know Skottie Young consulted on the series but the final product almost feels like a loving tribute to the style of Chuck Jones.

Kevin Burke: On the writing side, in terms of coming up with bits and gags, the material is very much inspired by that. We had 90 seconds so it wasn’t so much about big plots, it was about a setup and a payoff and some fun gags, and the Chuck Jones style is very much that as well. So we were looking for comedy in that sense, and visually it went that direction.

Cort Lane: Passion Animation in the U.K. brought in Arnaud Delord, who’s a famous French animation director—well known for the Gorillaz music videos—and in the pitch we expressed being influenced by the Skottie Young style from publishing.

Passion Animation delivered something that had that Chuck Jones looseness and comedic sensibility—which really adapted well to the Skottie Young illustration style—but then rendered it in CG so that it felt really rich. It’s hard to capture that level of expressiveness and squash-and-stretch cartoony quality in CG, so they actually gave us a little animation test which showed us what it might be like and they blew us away. Then we got Skottie Young involved in creating some ancillary characters, but a lot of the baseline stuff was what he had already done in publishing.

Marvel: Not to discount the always amazing voice acting work in Marvel animated shorts, but “Space Walk” was gorgeously done with very little dialogue. Again that’s reminiscent of Saturday morning cartoons and captivating kid’s imaginations, was that the intention?

Kevin Burke: Absolutely, conceptually it was always about the visual nature of them being unable to speak. So from a pitch when we put it together it was: they’re trapped outside, they can’t say anything, they’re pulling everything they can to make it back inside the ship to survive. And so the setup was always there, in fact it was one of the easiest story pitches that we’ve ever done because that framework was there.

Then the fun part was working with the animators and Doc and I writing up gags because there’s so many different gags you can play, all visual. We got a chance to do something that we don’t do that often. In some of our other Marvel shows they’re very story driven with complex villain plots—this was just a moment in time—to play visually with music and sound, it worked out really well and we’re very proud of it.

Doc Wyatt: The director is French and he had his team with him at the story summit, we got up in front of the room and pitched the story idea and they would confer amongst one another in French for a very long time. Of all the stories that we discussed at our story summit, “Space Walk” was particularly well received.

Cort Lane: It was a strong concept from the beginning. I’ve always had a preference for Blue Danube—so I think I suggested it—and then someone said, “That’s waltz music, on their way back to the ship as they’re holding each other spinning back and forth it will look like a waltz.” Which was one of the little payoffs that we did manage to get in there.

Marvel: Fans truly love the space duo of Rocket & Groot.

Cort Lane: Everybody is so pleased with how these came out, they work so well as a duo. And it’s not just because they’re both funny and odd, it’s because their personalities are so distinct and opposites attract in a wonderful way. Rocket is such a strong personality but he needs Groot’s heart to get him to do the right thing a lot of the time.

Kevin Burke: On the writing side it is some of the most fun stuff we’ve ever written and most of that comes from these characters. As Cort said, Rocket is sarcastic and a big character and Groot has heart, but at the end of it, the whole thing has heart to it. It isn’t just about gags and doing the most funny, outrageous thing, these guys actually care about each other and there’s a friendship there and that helps move along any adventure they go on. I think people really relate to that.

Marvel: It’s inevitable to ask about Easter Eggs in these shorts.

Doc Wyatt: In the “Space Walk” short in particular, no. But there are a couple of…the answer is yes, but we’re not going to give them away!

Marvel: How amazing would it be if Groot was to give an Emmy speech?

Doc Wyatt: He wouldn’t need the teleprompter!

Cort Lane: I think it would be more awesome if Rocket did one because he would just yell at everyone!

Emmy voting is now open. Cast your vote for “Marvel’s Rocket & Groot” short between now and August 28! Stay tuned to Marvel.com for all the latest news and updates on all of your favorite Marvel animated series.

 

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Figure out where in the galaxy this Guardian has gone with writer Christopher Hastings!

Groot the living tree—a tiny baby tree at the moment—has become lost in space. In the first arc of the new I AM GROOT series from writer Christopher Hastings and artist Flaviano, the Flora Colossus finds himself separated from his team and trapped on a strange and menacing planet where no one can understand a word he says.

I AM GROOT is the story of our diminutive hero finding his way home from a brave new world, and learning about himself in the process. We tapped Hastings for more…

Marvel.com: So tell us a little about this planet our tiny hero has been trapped on in I AM GROOT? What or who stands in the way of Groot getting home?

Christopher Hastings: [In] issue #2, we see that the planet is very strange. It’s old, its original culture and society forgotten. The people that live there now carry hints to what life used to be like, but they’re so far removed, they don’t know why. Groot has to discover the planet’s old ways, and how seemingly unconnected events, landmarks, and people all play together in order to unlock the way home.

The main force trying to stop Groot is a man we only know as The Administrator, someone who very much does not want Groot upsetting the order of the planet in order to leave this dimension and get back to the Guardians. He’s aided by an army of shape shifting service robots [who travel via] connected underground tunnels—so they can pop up anywhere [at any time].

Marvel.com: Groot is kind of like a planet himself, made of grass and rocks and wood. If Groot is a planet, is he trapped on a sort of macrocosm of himself?

Christopher Hastings: Macrocosm is an apt word! The story of the planet scales up from and runs parallel to Groot’s own journey right now, as someone who is trapped at a small size, unable to fulfill his purpose and grow.

I definitely agree that Groot has traditionally represented the duality of nature. It is life giving—or nurturing—but can flip and be total power, stronger and fiercer than any human. I think that makes Groot appealing, putting a face on nature.

Marvel.com: Usually Groot is selfless, giving help and support—literally and figuratively—to his friends. But now that he’s alone, what does this story mean for him and his growth as a character?

Christopher Hastings: I think the story of Groot’s literal growth is being handled in the main [ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY] book. But this arc in I AM GROOT is more about emotional growth, adjusting Groot’s mindset for that eventual return to adulthood. [It’s] a “child stuck in a strange and scary land” kind of space fairy tale, with little notes of meditation on Groot’s current arrested development.

Also there are the creepy robots.

Marvel.com: Besides the obvious—i.e. the language barrier—how does Groot stand out from the other super heroes in Marvel’s roster for worse or for better?

Christopher Hastings: Well, right now he really stands out because he’s a super-powered toddler. I don’t believe the Avengers currently has any of those in their ranks. Little Groot is a ton of fun, just very impulsive, and we get a lot of great reactions out of him thanks to Flaviano’s artwork. As for downsides, he’s certainly not as powered up as full size, so we have to get creative with how he uses his abilities.

Marvel.com: The current incarnation of Groot is a fairly new character. Is this series about him finding himself?

Christopher Hastings: That’s very much what we’re trying to do here! It’s why I thought it important to get him away from the Guardians. He has to make this journey alone, and he’ll see pieces of himself in these other new characters he meets along the way.

Join the journey with I AM GROOT #3 by Christopher Hastings and Flaviano, out July 26!

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Case your votes by Friday, June 23!

Marvel congratulates the Marvel Animation team for their work on “Marvel’s Rocket & Groot” animated shorts!  The 12-episode series of animated shorts follows Rocket and Groot as they try to figure out how to get enough credits to buy a new ship after their old one breaks down. View the compilation of all the shorts above!

“Marvel’s Rocket & Groot” is eligible for nomination voting in the “Outstanding Animation Short Form Program” Emmy category now on the Television Academy website! Be sure to cast your vote by this Friday, June 23rd!

Rocket is voiced by Trevor Devall (“Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Johnny Test”) and Groot is voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson (“Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy,” “The Cleveland Show”). Featuring animation by Oscar-nominated Passion Pictures, the shorts are directed by Arnaud Delord, written by Chris “Doc” Wyatt and Kevin Burke, executive produced by Cara Speller, Alan Fine, Dan Buckley, Joe Quesada, Cort Lane, and co-executive produced by Stephen Wacker and Stan Lee.

 

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Christopher Hastings goes down a wormhole with the tiniest Guardian!

Don’t call him a sapling! He may be 1/12th his usual size, but he’s still the universe’s most powerful walking, talking tree. He is Groot!

Alone at the far side of the cosmos, unable to find the rest of the Guardians, and really, really small—that’s where we’ll find the galaxy’s most lovable piece of timber on May 24 with the start of the brand-new series I AM GROOT!

With writer Christopher Hastings and artist Flaviano at the helm, the three-word wonder jumps headfirst into his own adventure as an underdeveloped, unintelligible, and very unlikely hero. To find out more, we spoke with Hastings about the difficulties—and unexpected benefits—of writing Groot.

Marvel.com: What’s the greatest challenge of writing Groot given his signature three word limit?

Christopher Hastings: Well that’s the challenge right there, he can’t quite express complex ideas the same way w’’re used to with the fancy language we communicate with every day. But with some body language, and the occasional assist from another character in the book translating for him, Groot can communicate all the base level important stuff we need in a story.

Marvel.com: And since there’s nothing else like it in comics, what’s the greatest advantage that Groot’s linguistic style brings to a story?

Christopher Hastings: It is a great relief to drop the need for a snappy protagonist who always has the right zinger. But that’s just for me! I’d say in the story, it is nice to change the focus to physicality, to non-verbal expression. Comics is a visual medium after all, so I like to see a character communicate in a purely visual fashion.

I Am Groot #2 cover by Marco D’Alfonso

Marvel.com: He might not say much, but he has such a defined personality. How would you describe Groot’s characteristics as this series begins?

Christopher Hastings: He’s a kid who is just enjoying being a kid. Now, he’s doing that in the most hazardous conditions that space adventure would suggest, so it causes a good amount of trouble. He gets separated from the Guardians, and he’s scared and alone in a place where nobody can understand him, that draws out a few characters that are pretty hostile to Groot for reasons unknown. So he’s still really impulsive, and curious and just running all over the place, but he’s trying to figure out how to get home.

Marvel.com: One of the greatest elements of any Groot story is witnessing other characters interact with—and attempt to understand—Groot. So who might we see hanging with the tree in this new series? How would you describe the dynamic they bring to the book?

Christopher Hastings: Groot’s first ally is some kind of alien dog’s head on a robot body named Buddy, because who doesn’t love a doggie buddy, especially in space? Buddy’s helpful, but dim, frustrating Groot’s issues with communication. Later on we meet Dhamsus, kind of a Ron Swanson type space farmer/ice elemental, and Diplatessa, a woman split into multiple versions of herself at different points in life. They all want to help Groot, and find that Groot awakens them out of a sort of complacency they had on this dead and corrupted world Groot lands on. Each one of them ties into the mystery of the planet’s past, and its key to reuniting Groot with the Guardians.

Also there’s a swarm of shape shifting robots set out to trick and capture Groot at every turn. They’re creepy!

I AM GROOT #1, by writer Christopher Hastings and artist Flaviano, is available this week on May 24, with issue #2 following June 28!

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Open up an exclusive sketchbook featuring our favorite flora colossus!

Groot might be striking out on his own in his upcoming solo offering, I AM GROOT, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be the same giant tree we’ve all come to know and love. Instead, thanks to some cosmic mishaps, he’s tiny and stranded on a brand new world!

These fresh adventures come from the fertile minds of writer Christopher Hastings and artist Flaviano starting May 24, when the new ongoing series kicks off. The creative team will put Groot through his paces, but also leave him plenty of room to explore and make new friends.

We talked with Flaviano about working with Hastings, designing entire planets, and drawing a more diminutive version of the beloved character.

Marvel.com: Like the readers, I’m sure you’re used to seeing Groot as a huge, walking tree. How was it getting used to this smaller version?

Flaviano: Yeah, when my editor Darren [Shan] first asked me to work on Groot he didn’t mention that it would be “Baby” Groot. Well, I should have imagined it, because of [“Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”]. So, when I found out I was twice thrilled. When you have to draw a very small and funny character, the realistic approach isn’t the best choice, in my opinion. I tried to make him look a little bit like a character from a comic strip, something like Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes or Frank Cho’s Liberty Meadows. I remember Bill Watterson saying that he used to draw Calvin’s feet like small bread loaves. I took that as an inspiration to draw our Baby Groot like a little running and lovely bread loaf.

Marvel.com: Would you say that Groot’s smaller stature changes how he carries himself on his adventures?

Flaviano: Of course! Everything is huge around him, so he is scared and lost but at the same time cheerful and, in his naive way, interested in everyone and everything. It’s always hard, from a shooting standpoint, to have such a small character, because if you draw a very wide shot, you’ll lose him. If you stay close to him, you have all the other, much bigger characters out of the shot. But I took that as a challenge and it has been very fun to play with panels and character’s point of view.

Marvel.com: It sounds like Groot finds himself on a wild new place. How was it designing an entire planet?

Flaviano: It’s every artist’s dream come true! You don’t have to deal with given environment sets and models, you can create everything from scratch and it’s the most exciting part. Of course Chris Hastings had a very clear idea of how the planet should be. But he challenged me to contribute and design odd places and even more grotesque new characters. And the other cool part of creating a new environment is that even if you only draw part of it, you have the whole planet map in your mind and you can browse through it in order to make the character’s journey more coherent throughout the series.

Marvel.com: Were there any alien elements, creatures or characters that took longer to nail down in the design process?

Flaviano: I made several attempts for Buddy, Groot’s, well, “buddy” in this journey. Chris’ description was very clear and I tried to add more oddness but at the same time, more compassion for him. Groot and Buddy are both kind of naive characters, but their naiveté is the one thing that makes you ignore the danger and act brave, even if everything around you is big and scary. I also had a lot of fun in designing the main opposing character, a very strange looking guy who we’ll see in several different eccentric outfits.

Marvel.com: Does Groot’s inability to communicate with the new beings he finds himself around change how you approach him from a drawing standpoint?

Flaviano: Yeah, without Rocket Raccoon providing answers and translations for him, I had to emphasize his gestures and that was very fun for me since I did animation for like 12 years. Gestures and expressiveness are the core of animation, so I drew fully from that experience in order to make Groot more clear in his intentions but also in his feelings. And of course, he is a baby and his issues with communication make him look so sweet, so I tried to ride this weakness and draw him in the tender, softy way as possible. I expect some cuteness addiction from the web!

Marvel.com: How has it been working with Christopher so far on this series?

Flaviano: As smooth as honey! Chris is very clear in his writing and full of ideas and I’m having a lot of fun translating them into images. Sometimes when you have a lot of new characters to introduce, it’s easy to lose track of the story, but this is not the case since Chris planned everything in the strongest way. He provides very detailed descriptions of actions and characters, but he also left a lot of space for the artist to add his personal view and this is one of the best things in working in team.

The final look of the series is everyone’s contribution and, in this case, everyone did his best, delivering a very strong new world and an amazing story, including our very talented colorist Marcio Menyz, who provided some gorgeous and energetic colors and last but not least, our editor Darren who is always there, smoothing things over and merging all our different personalities into one whole, perfect-as-possible, product.

Join the exploration with Christopher Hastings, Flaviano, and company when I AM GROOT #1 sprouts on May 24!

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