#1 - Rocket Raccoon #1-4 by Bill Mantlo and Mike Mignola (Marvel, 1985)
Rocket Raccoon is the series that rocked my world and introduced this idea that there was more than just superhero drama in the comic book medium. It completely changed my pespective, and led me off into a whole new world of independent comics -- where the thrill was in zany, offbeat characters lost on incredibly strange worlds.
In this one we have Halfworld, an abandoned colony for mentally ill humans who rely on genetically manipulated animals with high intelligence as their caretakers. Rocket Raccoon is the Guardian of the Keystone Quadrant, the cosmic Galacian Wall that protects Halfworld from the rest of the universe.
There's a war going on between two toymakers, the mole Judson Jake vs. reptilian Lord Dyvyne, the latter whom controls an army of insane robot Clowns. Rocket gets involved when his otter girlfriend Lylla is kidnapped by Blackjack O'Hare on Dyvyne's orders. The animals find out that the Halfworld bible is actually a journal documenting their purpose and that the planet is one big lunatic asylum, and no longer wanting to care for the crazy humans it's up to Rocket to find a solution.
Mantlo's imagination shined in this series, and there are all kinds of easter egg moments just like when Keith Giffen introduced the character in Marvel Preview #7. I believe this is Mike Mignola's first work, and although his style has changed tremendously I really love the art style he did for Rocket Raccoon. It's perfect.
Rocket Raccoon ends up as my personal #1 favorite. Merry Christmas everyone!