Rocket Raccoon & Groot: Mournful Mayhem

Rocket Raccoon & Groot by Michael Walsh

While he may wear ammunition on his sleeve rather than emotions, the Guardians of the Galaxy’s small-sized strategist supreme has plenty of feelings, as we’ll find out in ROCKET RACCOON & GROOT #7, due out July 13 from writer Nick Kocher and artist Michael Walsh. When Rocket’s mentor in the art of the con passes, he and Groot set out for the funeral but end up mired in mayhem per usual.

We grabbed Mr. Walsh to shed some light on the visual end of this mirthful memorial tale. How did you come to be involved with ROCKET RACCOON & GROOT?

Michael Walsh: [Editor] Jake [Thomas] and I had been talking for a while about working together and just hadn’t got the timing right. We finally connected at the perfect time; he thought I would be a good fit for what [writer] Nick [Kocher] was going for and approached me about doing a short run together. How does your style lend itself to these characters and where did you have stretch some artistic muscles you maybe don’t use as often?

Michael Walsh: I’ve been working on my comedic timing and storytelling a lot on the last few books I’ve worked on—X-MEN: WORST X-MAN EVER, HANK JOHNSON: AGENT OF HYDRA, and SECRET AVENGERS—I really got to play with those skills on this book which is pure action comedy. 

As for artistic muscles, I’m getting to really play with cartooning considering I’m making an anthropomorphic raccoon and tree express a whole variety of emotions. It’s a new experience but I’m having a blast with it. What’s the tone of the story like and how did that affect your approach?

Michael Walsh: The story is very action packed and dynamic interspersed with a mix of big and small comedy beats. I’ve been getting to really play with the storytelling depending on the scene and toy with juxtaposing more straightforward layouts and experimental. Did you look to any influences when drawing Rocket and Groot?

Michael Walsh: I really tried to do my own take on the characters. I had read a lot of their stuff already as I’m a big fan of the Guardians but didn’t rely too much on looking back on what other artists had done. I very much want to do my own thing and bring my stylistic flair. How conscious are you of Groot’s limited speaking ability when drawing him?

Michael Walsh: I actually think of Groot like he is saying full sentences of dialogue but we as an audience just can’t understand the nuances of his speech. I try to convey his emotions and reaction through body language and facial acting. What are you most proud of from this story?

Michael Walsh: I think I’d have to say maybe a few of the layouts which are very unique from anything I’ve done before. That and the acting I’ve done with Rocket who is a bit of a daunting character to take on. I tried to really simplify my take on him which is one of the hardest things to do. 

Pick up ROCKET RACCOON & GROOT #7 by Nick Kocher and Michael Walsh on July 13!