The floral colossus confronts his past and fights for the future!

Celebrate this incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy’s tenth anniversary while also prepping for the May 5 release of their new film with these gems from Marvel Unlimited!

Everyone loves Groot. Whether he’s blasting away bad guys with his Guardians pals or dancing in a coffee mug, only the coldest of hearts refuse to melt for this benevolent warrior. So it came as no surprise when the Flora colossi scored his own series in 2015. Written by Jeff Loveness and drawn by Brian Kesinger, the six issue run featured Groot doing everything in his power to save his pal Rocket from the clutches of the evil space pirate Eris.

In issues #25, Groot remembered meeting his raccoon-like friend in a prison, then met up with Silver Surfer and his companion Dawn, saved a planet from a cosmic storm and befriended a new group of friends including three inept Skrulls, a 90s-created robot named Mantron, and Numinus, the cosmic embodiment of chance and fate. Even without the toughest folks backing him, Groot still inspired confidence in this crew to take on Eris and save Rocket!

Groot (2015) #1

Groot (2015) #1

  • Published: June 03, 2015
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: December 07, 2015
  • Rating: Rated T
  • Writer: Jeff Loveness
  • Cover Artist: Declan Shalvey
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With that whole mess cleaned up, Rocket finally agreed to take Groot to Earth. After marking some things off of a To Do list recommended by fellow Guardians, they got down to the real business of the trip: finding an acquaintance of Groot’s. As we discover through a mental conversation between our hero and young Jean Grey, once upon a time the people of Planet X started abducting people to study. Groot knew this was wrong and helped a young girl named Hannah escape. He succeeded, but soon found himself banished from his home leading him down the path to eventually hook up with the Guardians of the Galaxy!

The series closed with Groot sitting with Hannah and a beautiful message about friendship: “Because of her, I learned the greatest truth I know. One I live be every day…Life is not about the shadow you cast on your enemies…But the shade you provide to your friends.”

Transmissions from Knowhere

Groot first appeared in 1960’s TALES TO ASTONISH #13 and only showed up a few other times between that and ANNIHILATION CONQUEST: STAR-LORD. In MARVEL MONSTERS: MONSTERS ON THE PROWL, The Collector held Groot and a variety of other creatures in his secret Canadian facility before they broke out. Later, Groot again fell into captivity, this time by the supernatural-themed team in NICK FURY’S HOWLING COMMANDOES. Sometime between the end of that series—in which he helped defeat Merlin—and STAR-LORD #1, Groot became captured again for unspecified crimes against the Kree. Since then, he’s done a pretty good job of staying out of incarceration.

Next time, Groot and his new teammates test themselves in the fires of intergalactic war in the pages of ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST.

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Christopher Hastings guides the tiny tree on an interstellar adventure!

Groot has gotten himself lost. Lost and stuck in his baby-sized form. With the other Guardians of the Galaxy nowhere to be found, the tiny Groot must fend for himself in a strange world.

Thankfully, he does not have to do it all on this own. He has writer Christopher Hastings and artist Flaviano in his corner for I AM GROOT, a new series coming this May.

Hastings took a break from his bonsai garden to discuss the series with us. As a writer, what is the creative draw of Groot? What challenges does he present?

Christopher Hastings: Well the initial draw is that he is hilarious and adorable. That “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” trailer is filled with amazing stuff I can’t wait to see, but the best part is Rocket trying to get Groot not to blow them all up. I’m really excited to put that little guy in all kinds of bad situations and see how he makes them worse.

The main challenge is of course Groot’s limited language. I’m trying to approach the story in a very specific way to make sure it’s not a hindrance, but actually part of what makes it fun. In the book, circumstances conspire to separate Groot from his teammates and he is stuck at small size besides. What’s the character’s state of mind as he finds himself alone on the planet?

Christopher Hastings: He’s scared at first. He’s basically a toddler who’s been separated from his family, and is immediately introduced to the strange new terrors of this unknown part of the universe. But that very quickly changes to an impulsive curiosity, driving him deeper and deeper into this weird land. Overall, how would you describe the tone you are trying to achieve for this title?

Christopher Hastings: I’m a big fan of stories where little kids have to navigate a weird fantasy land as some sort of metaphor for what’s going on in their normal life. In this case, I’m specifically thinking of “Labyrinth,” “The Neverending Story,” and “Return to Oz.” I’m also pulling a lot from the dreamier Zelda games—“Link’s Awakening” and “Majora’s Mask.” There’s a lot of story in those games, despite the fact that Link can’t even say, “I am Link.” We’ve got a massive advantage there with [I AM GROOT]. How does artist Flaviano’s work on the book help you to realize that tone? How does his style complement your scripting?

Christopher Hastings: I’m really asking for strange settings and characters that will all tie into a core mystery of this forgotten world Groot’s landed on. Flaviano’s got exactly the kind of thoughtful and specific design mentality that’ll flesh it out perfectly. The characters are so expressive. They can charm you or unsettle you just as easily. What kind of supporting cast might readers expect to encounter in this title? Any villains in the early going?

Christopher Hastings: Like I’ve said, there’s an old secret to this planet that’s been completely forgotten, but leaves little hints scattered about. Early characters that Groot [meets] are scavengers, just trying to survive with bits and pieces of abandoned technology and infrastructure. It’s not a great situation, but it’s one they’ve learned to be comfortable with. And Groot’s just going to mess all that up in his quest to return to the Guardians.

As for a villain, there are higher status forces who have a more active approach to keeping things as they are on this planet, which simply can’t be if Groot is to return home. Speaking directly to fans, why is I AM GROOT one that they’ll want to buy?

Christopher Hastings: This is a book for anyone who wants to see more of this new really funny, really cute Groot, but pushed to the edge, completely on his own. It’s also for anyone who wants to read the words “I am Groot” a lot.

I AM GROOT #1 by Christopher Hastings and Flaviano plants its roots on May 24!

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After the Guardians break up, this dynamic duo discovers secrets of their past!

Celebrate this incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy’s tenth anniversary while also prepping for the May 5 release of their new film with these gems from Marvel Unlimited!

All break-ups are hard. No matter how you might feel at the time, losing an important person in your life due to unforeseen circumstances can leave a person wondering about their choices in life. Rocket Raccoon fell pretty hard after the Guardians of the Galaxy broke up, as can be seen in the back-up stories in ANNIHILATORS by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Timothy Green II.

As the story kicked off, Rocket tried keeping himself busy by working as a mail person for the intergalactic corporation called Timely Inc. Being a one-time Guardian, though, his life could not stay boring for long and he soon found himself batting a clown made out of living wood from Planet X, otherwise known as Groot’s home!

Upon arriving, Rocket discovered that Groot had been punished by his people for claiming to be king of Planet X. After a rescue mission, the reunited pals joined up with a group called the Undergrowth Resistance that wanted slightly better treatment from the trees.

With that problem taken care of, the pair followed the clown trail to Halfworld, Rocket’s home planet. While there, he and Groot discovered the place actually existed as a lunatic asylum that Rocket used to work for as head of security. While there, a patient by the name of Star-Thief broke out and the former Guardian had to get back to his old gig to regain control!

The duo returned in ANNIHILATORS: EARTHFALL by the same creative team. In that story, Rocket and Groot ventured into a series of wild locales that didn’t make much sense until they realized Mojo had been pulling their strings. At the end, they walk away not only victorious, but potentially very wealthy thanks to the deal they struck to capitalize not only on their newly-launched show, but also the action figure tie-ins!

As it happens, these two Rocket and Groot stories would act as the finale to their run before Brian Michael Bendis took the space reins!

Transmissions from Knowhere

As mentioned above, these stories came as back-ups in the pages of two limited series called ANNIHILATORS and ANNIHILATORS: EARTHFALL written by Andy Lanning and Dan Abnett with art by Tan Eng Huat that spin out of the THANOS IMPERATIVE: DEVASTATION one-shot. In that issue, Cosmo attempted to get Gladiator, Quasar, Silver Surfer, Ronan, Beta Rey Bill, and Gladiator to form a team of galactic defenders. The idea came from Peter Quill who asked the Space Dog to make it happen if he didn’t make it back from the Cancerverse. Joined by the Space Knight Ikon, the group fought the Dire Wraiths in the first volume and the Universal Church of Truth on Earth who had resurrected Adam Magus as a child in the second.

Next, Brian Michael Bendis makes the cosmos safe again in the pages of AVENGERS ASSEMBLE and a new GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY series!

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The famed Guardian of the Galaxy started out very different in his first appearance!

With so many classic creatures on the loose in Monsters Unleashed, we turn to their earlier adventures thanks to Marvel Unlimited.

It might surprise Guardians of the Galaxy fans to know that Groot first appeared as a monstrous menace in the pages of TALES TO ASTONISH #13. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby debuted the beast in a 1960 issue which found the denizen of Planet X rampaging through a small town.

One brave man, Leslie Evans, stood in Groot’s way much to the surprise of his fellow townspeople. Earlier that night, he and his date Alice were headed home after a party when they saw the creature zap down to Earth. She wanted to go home, so he agreed and got absorbed in his work as a biologist for the next few days.

After trees and other wooden objects started going missing, Evans remembered the close encounter and headed into the woods where he soon discovered Groot absorbing the missing implements into his body! Groot then made his presence known to the wider population of the town and explained his purpose: “I am Groot, monarch of Planet X!” he bellowed. “I come to take an Earth village—your village, back to my planet! We want to study you, to experiment on you!”

Tales to Astonish (1959) #13

Tales to Astonish (1959) #13

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He explained in further detail that he would command the trees to make a perimeter around the town, then connect roots and fly off into space back to Planet X. As Groot went about implementing his plan, Evans raced to his lab and worked tirelessly on something that would stop the invader. What could fell such a powerful being? Why specially bred termites of course!

This more monstrous version of Groot appeared alongside Goom, Diablo, Blip, Xemnu, and Taboo to fight The Hulk in the pages of INCREDIBLE HULK ANNUAL #5.

As you’ve probably figured out, the Groot seen here has been distanced from the being who first met up with Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon in the pages of ANNIHILATION CONQUEST – STAR-LORD. The original Groot was simply another denizen of Planet X while the one who became a founding member of the Guardians of the Galaxy proved a more rebellious youth who wanted to help others instead of kidnapping them and researching them like that first example who visited Earth.

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The most organic Guardian of the Galaxy gets his own ongoing series!

So we’re all in agreement: Groot is the best, right?

If you consider yourself a Groot fan—and really, how can you not—you’ve got a lot to look forward to, because he’ll soon get his own series! In the upcoming I AM GROOT #1—coming this May—our hero will find himself stranded on a strange planet, trying to make his way home.

We chatted with writer Christopher Hastings about what we can expect. It’s really interesting that Groot is getting his own series, given the way he communicates. Have you found it challenging to think of ways to convey his emotions and experiences without ordinary dialog?

Christopher Hastings: Groot’s lack of communication definitely poses a challenge, but I’ve really made it a point to tackle everything from that position, not to try and ignore or work around the problem. I’m really making it a point that the story works with his character, and that he finds himself in situations where he can clearly show emotional reactions, even if he can’t express something that more complex language demands. We’ll find Groot in a very vulnerable position: smaller than normal, and on an unknown planet where he has difficulty communicating with people. How did you go about exploring how he would handle this kind of situation?

Christopher Hastings: Groot certainly feels vulnerable on this scary world we strand him on, but I consider this little Groot a very impulsive character, so we won’t see him quivering in a safe cave for the length of the series.

And without Rocket, he does get very frustrated trying to talk to people. Part of his quest will involve finding a way to get others to understand that he wants to get back home.

I also try to explore how other characters interpret Groot. We often see him through the lens of the Guardians he spends time with, especially Rocket. How would someone who doesn’t know him interpret his intentions?

I Am Groot #1 cover by Marco D'Alfonso

I Am Groot #1 cover by Marco D’Alfonso Groot has so much heart. Would you consider it particularly hard for him to get separated from the others?

Christopher Hastings: Of course! He’s a little kid tree. He feels devastated. All he wants is to get back to them, and he has no idea how. Everyone loves Groot! What do you think makes him so lovable?

Christopher Hastings: I think something about the oblivious glee he puts out there. I see him as a troublemaker, but you can’t get mad at him! Groot will need to find his way to the center of this new world. Without giving too much away, what challenges will he face on his journey?

Christopher Hastings: Like I said, Groot’s a little troublemaker. And the planet he lands on has remained in a sort of stasis for a very long time. The creatures that still live there would rather that stasis not get disturbed but…Groot doesn’t care! Groot wants to get home! He’ll upset everything to pull it off. But he definitely needs to figure out a way for people to understand what he says first. Would you like to tease or mention anything else?

Christopher Hastings: When I pitched the story, I mentioned that I envisioned it as something like “Labyrinth” or “Return to Oz.” A lot of that vibe comes from really fantastical location and character designs. We just started getting the first bits of artwork in from the series artist, Flaviano, whom I consider more than perfect for the job. This book will look totally unique. And he clearly knows how to make Groot as adorable and funny as possible.

Get your fix of adorable adventure with I AM GROOT by Christopher Hastings and Flaviano, kicking off this May!

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Brian Michael Bendis wraps his time with the interstellar super team by stranding them on Earth!

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Brian Michael Bendis knows this better than anyone after opening and closing his fair share of comic series over the years. His latest soon-to-end run will kick off with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #15 in a story called “Grounded” this December.

Thanks to a call for help from Captain Marvel, the Guardians traveled to Earth in an effort to help out, but with the Civil War II conflict coming to an end, they’re left with a problem: they’ve got no way off this green and blue rock. Luckily for the various members, they have new ongoing series ready to launch, but before the squad goes their separate ways, Bendis and artist Valerio Schiti plan on giving them an appropriately epic sendoff.

We talked with Bendis about his plans for going out in style. With Civil War II coming to a close, how do the Guardians feels about getting involved in this conflict?

Brian Michael Bendis: Conflicted. Like everyone else in the Marvel Universe. Sides are drawn. Everyone came back to Earth as a favor to Carol, but when they got here they were faced with the moral choice. Some, like Peter, see Carol’s hard choices as big truths that need to happen and others see Tony’s side totally.

And in the battle they lost their ship and now have no way home. Yes, there are spaceships on Earth—at least three—but they aren’t for sale and nowhere near as advanced as the one Rocket put together for them. What does being stuck on Earth mean for the Guardians themselves? I’m guessing some won’t take kindly to be being in just one place for a long period of time.

Brian Michael Bendis: Some get to go have their favorite pizza and reunite with old friends and maybe even call it a night for their Guardians tour of duty. Peter gets to see what life would be like as an Earthbound super hero. Kitty gets to go find the X-Men…

And then there is Rocket and Groot. That is an entirely different story. On the other hand, the readers might enjoy seeing these space-bound characters interacting with a few familiar faces. Were there some specific characters you’d been just waiting to meet the Guardians?

Brian Michael Bendis: Yes. I do want those to be a page turn surprise so you’ll pardon my vagueness, but it does give us a lot of “Star Trek IV” stuck-on-Earth-fun. They are almost all fish out of water and those who aren’t, like Venom, have changed so much from their travels that it’s a whole new world to them. This arc will also lead into solo ongoing series for the members of the team. What has the communication been like between you and the writers of those books?

Brian Michael Bendis: This is where Jordan [White] and the other editors shine. Other than the friendship-ending disagreements between me, Chip [Zdarsky] and Kris Anka over Peter Quill’s facial hair, the writers seem to get a big kick out of classic fish out of water stories for their characters.

When you’re writing a team book and a franchise book part of the fun is throwing out ideas and story concepts for other writers to pick up and play with if they see fit. How do you feel about the place you’ll be leaving these characters with this last arc after shepherding them along for several years?

Brian Michael Bendis: Well, even though we are ending most of the last arc on Earth we are still leaving big. Big! First of all, as some readers already know, Thanos is on Earth. When Gamora and Drax get ahold of this information all hell is going to break loose. We have an issue about Groot that is all told in a style that is a big tip of the cat hat to Dr. Seuss, one of those ideas that is much harder to pull off than you might think.

And a big triple or quadruple sized 100-page big finale that is going to wrap up my very long, longest actually, run on Guardians. A lot is going to happen.

All this plus, Ben Grimm comes back home; we discover why he went out to space in the first place and why he is going to stay on Earth. It ties right into INFAMOUS IRON MAN.

Witness the beginning of the end of Brian Michael Bendis’ run on GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY starting with #15 drawn by Valerio Schiti in December!

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Corinne Duyvis discusses her upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy prose novel!

What do young adult science fiction and Marvel Comics have in common? That would be author Corinne Duyvis, writer of acclaimed YA books like “Otherbound” and “On the Edge of Gone.”

Now, Corinne brings her experienced hand to writing an original prose novel for Marvel, “Guardians of the Galaxy: Collect Them All.” While we don’t know too much about the finer plot details right now, we do know that less-than-savory individuals have gotten their hands on a piece of Groot for their own nefarious planting purposes. As a result, the Guardians must become wary allies with Taneleer Tivan, The Collector, to stop a galaxy-wide conspiracy.

We spoke with Duyvis—who couldn’t be more excited for her Marvel team-up—about the highly anticipated novel, her love of sci-fi and favorite member of the Guardians team… How did you end up working on a prose novel for Marvel?

Corrine Duyvis: How I ended up wanting to do it is pretty straightforward: I write my own original prose novels, and I’m a long-time Marvel reader. Over the past years, whenever announcements of the prose novels they’ve been putting out came across my screen, I would go, “Hmmmm. How…intriguing.” Imagine me rubbing a non-existent beard [or] twirling a non-existent mustache. I talked to my fabulous literary agent about it, and she was totally open to the idea. She spent some time asking around and keeping her ears open for opportunities, and here we are! You’ve had experience writing science fiction—especially for young adults—in the past as evidenced by your first two books, “Otherbound” and “On the Edge of Gone.” Going off that, what draws you to the genre in general?

Corrine Duyvis: I’ve always loved fantasy and sci-fi. Novels, comic books, animation, movies, TV series, games—the works. I’ve been all over this stuff since I was a kid, and while originally it might’ve been because I got drawn to all the pretty explosions and cool magic, it’s definitely developed into something deeper over the years. One thing I love is that there are no real limits. Whether it’s comparatively minor, street-level fantasy elements, or mind-blowing cosmic-level stories—your imagination is the limit, as they say. So much of writing comes down to asking the question “what if?” and you can take that awfully far in the genre. The other part that draws me to the genre is that the above flexibility means you have a lot of room to explore characters and themes. I wanted to talk about which lives are valued most; that worked perfectly in an apocalypse-centric novel where people have to make difficult choices about who gets to survive on a generation ship and who has to stay behind on the planet. I wanted to talk about identity; isn’t a great way to do that by writing about a boy who sees through the eyes of a girl in another world every single time he blinks? All sorts of human conflicts, whether individual or societal, can be explored in speculative fiction in fascinating ways—sometimes abstract, sometimes head-on—and I love all the directions you can take that into. Similarly, how did your fondness and prior experience with sci-fi translate into your take on the Guardians of the Galaxy? In addition, how will your version of the Guardians be different from previous iterations of the team?

Corrine Duyvis: Although my Guardians of the Galaxy novel has a very different vibe and style than my personal work, I still bring the same kinds of questions to it that I normally ask. I’m always interested in exploring identity, for instance. What makes us who we are? Which choices, experiences, or inherent traits are responsible for our identity? What kinds of events could change who we are, or what our version of normal is? Asking these questions in a sci-fi setting like that of Marvel’s is great fun—I get to use the tropes of the genre, play with questions I have about the characters, and more. My version of the Guardians is a bit of a mishmash of the versions I’ve seen across film, cartoon, and obviously the comics themselves. As is usually the case with long-running super heroes, each writer has their own take on the characters, so they can differ a lot depending on the creators, medium, or time period. There isn’t any “One True Version.” This is oddly freeing as a writer. It doesn’t mean I get to simply ignore everything and use my own approach—I wouldn’t want to; I love the source material!—but it certainly offered more flexibility. I’ve mostly used a combination of elements that will be accessible to readers and elements that appealed to me as a writer, while trying to stay true to the characters as I understood them. Groot is a huge part of the story here. Without giving too much away, why was he chosen as the cause of the main conflict and do we learn anything new about him from it?

Corrine Duyvis: The first thing I did when the possibility of writing the Guardians came up was re-watch the film—which is hardly a chore!—to jog my memory and slip into the world before I branched out further into the comics. It ended up doing a whole lot more than that. It gave me the inspiration for a big part of the book, since by the end of the film, I wondered: Hey, what’s to stop someone else from planting one of those Groot shards? What’s to stop them from planting a whole bunch? So why was he chosen? One, he’s great. Who doesn’t love Groot? Two, there was a promising opportunity for a story there. I leaped on it right away. Lots of other parts slotted into place naturally after that. We’ll learn not only what happens physically when he’s planted en masse, but also how it affects him on a more personal level. Who would you say is your favorite Guardians member and why?

Corrine Duyvis: It will come as no surprise to anyone that I love Rocket—both the hilarious parts and the sadder parts that a lot of writers have highlighted in different ways. He’s such a great character, and his interactions with Groot are always a highlight. I also found it really interesting to get into Gamora’s head for the book. She’s often so closed-off that it’s not exactly easy to figure out what’s going on with her on a personal level, but since she’s one of the major players of the novel, I really had to figure out what drove her. It gave me a huge appreciation for her as a character to both write and read about.

Look for “Guardians of the Galaxy: Collect Them All” in 2017!

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The artist talks about how his leads deal with Civil War II and shows off exclusive inks!

Earth might plunge into war every now and then, but what’s it to a pair of space-hopping pals like Rocket and Groot? Not much until none other than Captain Marvel calls on them for a little help.

Writer Nick Kocher and artist Michael Walsh just took over ROCKET RACCOON AND GROOT with issue #7 and already face a huge challenge: bringing the best buds in the galaxy into the fray of Civil War II. Of course, being the mercenary-minded sentients we know and love, they don’t quite feel the need to get tangled up in human affairs. Still, as Walsh explains, when a certain hero asks, you kind of have to listen. But which side will they ultimately fall on, if any?

We talk to Walsh about balancing comedy and action, working with Kocher, and designing Rocket and Groot in his own style. You and Nick kicked off a whole new arc together on this book with issue #7. How has it been putting your own stamp on these characters and moving them into Civil War II?

Michael Walsh: It’s been a blast and a bit of a challenge. Every take on them has been so unique, I just really wanted to leave my fingerprint on this world. There is a definite balancing act when trying to make them look like a raccoon and a tree but still emoting and speaking like humans.

Moving them into Civil War II has been really fun. It’s such a serious—and great—event that throwing in some absolutely zany action and comedy into a pretty serious clash of super heroes has the little mischievous kid in me giggling. Also, I’ve learned that I love drawing the Inhuman Medusa, so there is that. Speaking of Civil War II, what does the conflict do to the title team’s partnership?

Michael Walsh: These two dudes are actually actively trying to stay away from the conflict. As usual, they are more interested in misadventure and their own problems than getting wrapped up in the politics of the core Marvel Universe, but that doesn’t really matter when Captain Marvel is trying to drag them into the fold. What attracts you to the world of Rocket and Groot?

Michael Walsh: The sense of fun and adventure is really refreshing to me. For a while comics were pretty grim [and] dark and I enjoyed that stage but now we get to have all these genres and styles and atmospheres. Getting to draw characters having fun and being crazy is a nice change of pace. It’s great to mix it up once in a while and flex all kinds of artistic muscles.

And honestly these two characters are just so fun to draw; Groot I kind of felt at peace with right away but Rocket took me a little bit to find the feel for. Once I did he has become one of my favorite characters to draw. It sounds like you enjoy balancing huge action scenes with comedy bits from panel to panel.

Michael Walsh: Yes, it’s great. In this one I get to incorporate little comedy beats into the action as well which is always challenging yet rewarding. I can really play up the dynamism and get experimental with panel layouts and really just have fun. Having Gwenpool enter the fold makes it even wackier; we got to do a bit of a motorcycle chase which I haven’t done before so It was a good experience figuring that out and trying to express speed and motion in a static medium.

But really, action and comedy are two sides of the same coin. As an artist you are trying to build around the most important beat on the page, the punchline. Sometimes you want to hit it subtly while others you want to go huge. A giant punch to the gut smashing a guy through a window or a hilarious one liner can have a really similar build up if you look at the details. Nick’s pretty new to the world of comics. How has it been working with him so far?

Michael Walsh: Nick is a natural. His scripts are fantastic. I find myself laughing out loud constantly while reading. He has a sense of how much can fit on a page and is really well versed in the history of Marvel. He also has a really distinct voice which I always appreciate from a writer. I don’t think anyone could write this book like he did which is a huge compliment.  He’s been really open about when he was unsure of the pacing on a page and we’ve been able to lean on each other to get the best book possible on the stands.

Besides being a hell of a writer he’s a really nice guy too, we get on quite well which I find is important when getting invested in a collaboration. I’ve loved our four issues together and am really hoping to work with him again in the future.

Marvel’s best buds continue their adventures in the pages of ROCKET RACCOON AND GROOT thanks to Nick Kocher and Michael Walsh, with issue #8 coming August 31!

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Preview a mission patch that’s out-of-this-world!

Marvel will be launching into space and taking some of its most iconic interstellar characters along for the ride. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space unveiled a new mission patch last week at San Diego Comic-Con, designed by Marvel and its Marvel Custom Solutions Group. The patch itself will represent scientific payloads delivered to the International Space Station for 2016 and depicts Rocket Raccoon and Groot, two members of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

CASIS oversees the scientific research undertaken on the ISS to benefit life back on Earth; 100 research projects are expected to launch there in 2016 alone in the fields of life and physical sciences, material sciences, technology development, Earth observation, and student questions.

Rocket and Groot’s inclusion on the mission patch comes from hopes of inspiring a new generation of STEM scientists and an educational flight contest centered around the two heroes is expected to take place later this year.

“These are characters who have a bit of space-based background to begin with so both of those characters already embody some of the characteristics associated with what’s happening on the space station,” said Patrick O’Neill, Marketing and Communications Manager for CASIS and the ISS National Laboratory in a promo video for the patch.

We spoke with Editor and Associate Manager of Marvel Custom Solutions Darren Sanchez to get more details on the out-of-this-world collaboration. How long ago did this collaboration come about and how did it first come about? Will it be tied to “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” arriving next summer?

Darren Sanchez: We started work on this project back in early spring, though the idea had been in discussion since February. CASIS had approached us with the idea of doing something cool with Marvel to promote a S.T.E.M. Initiative contest they were planning for October. This wasn’t directly tied to the upcoming movie. It was more of a happy coincidence. Can you describe the development and creative process? For instance, was the artist given free reign over the design? 

Darren Sanchez: The development process was a collaborative one where CASIS let us know what they needed to have on the patch: the International Space Station, specific text, and our characters. Once we knew the parameters of what they needed, we came up with a few more suggestions. I wanted it to invoke an aspirational tone, and I also knew exactly which artist to call on. We went with Juan Doe for the art because not only does he do outstanding covers in a unique fine art style, but he is also an excellent graphic designer. That combination of skills made him my first choice. Juan Doe is a space nut, and was thrilled to work on a project for CASIS, the International Space Station and NASA. Knowing his design would be going into space made it an offer he couldn’t refuse. Out of all the Guardians team, why did you choose Rocket and Groot to represent the patch?

Darren Sanchez: CASIS wanted a galactic character, which narrowed it down quite a bit for us. Rocket and Groot made the most sense because they were the best match with the STEM contest that CASIS was planning. In the contest there are two categories of entries, Organic and Tech. There is no more organic character than Groot; he’s a tree. Rocket fit the Tech category, so they were the natural choice. Plus, who doesn’t love Rocket and Groot? Rocket can be surly but he has a good heart, and he is a hero of the galaxy. Based on their personalities in the Marvel comics/cinematic universe, how do you think Rocket and Groot would feel about being the faces of this mission patch?

Darren Sanchez:  Rocket and Groot would be honored to be featured on a mission patch. I imagine the rest of the Guardians would get tired of constantly hearing about it. Will there be any more collaborations between CASIS/ISS and Marvel in the future? Anything you can tease?

Darren Sanchez: There is a limited edition lithograph planned for [New York Comic-Con] 2016, that will feature the Juan Doe art from the patch. It’s going to be a highly sought after item. Will fans have a chance to get one of these patches for themselves? 

Darren Sanchez: The CASIS team is considering making some of these stickers to hand out at NYCC. Right now they haven’t communicated to me if they are doing that or not. We do know that the full sized lithograph of the image will preview at NYCC. The patch will not be massed produced, and therefore [will be] very rare.

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A cave-dwelling creature confronts the Guardians in a clip from 'Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy,' airing Sunday morning!

The Guardians come face-to-face with an unfamiliar foe in a clip from “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy”! Check out the clip above and tune in to an all-new “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy” this Sunday at 8:00 AM ET on Disney XD.

The hunt for the location of the Cosmic Seed leads the Guardians to a series of underground caves and right into the subterranean stronghold of a massive monster! Although Star-Lord claims he might know what the creature is, the Cosmic Seed’s effects have transformed the beast into something otherwordly. Witness the behemoth in the clip above!

Tune in to a brand-new “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy” this Sunday at 8:00 AM ET on Disney XD! Stay tuned to for all the latest news and updates on your favorite Marvel animated series.

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