Rocko with Heffer in front of his garage.


Original Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Joe Murray Productions
First Appeared: 1993
Creator: Joe Murray
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The character Rocko was originally intended for a comic book, but during the late 1980s, the comics market wasn't very receptive to a series without superheroes in it, so it went unpublished. Creator Joe Murray (Camp Lazlo) didn't even think of it as an animated project at first because even with Beetlejuice blazing the way, TV cartoons still seemed too heavily influenced by Parent Action Groups to accommodate such work as his. But Nickelodeon (which later did …

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… such cartoons as Backyardigans and The Wild Thornberrys) launched an animation program in 1991 with Rugrats, Doug and Ren & Stimpy, where his work might fit. So he took what he still thought of as a longshot, and submitted a pencil test there. It debuted on September 18, 1993, the fourth of Nick's cartoon shows.

Rocko was a funny animal wallaby, who started, like most wallabies, in Australia. Hoping to forge a new life in America, he settled in the suburban locale of O-Town. The biggest local employer there was Conglom-O, a corporation not known for any single product in particular, but with its fingers in a lot of pies. Rocko's next-door neighbor, Ed Bighead, a toad by both species and job description, worked for Conglom-O in middle management, and loathed everybody, especially Rocko.

Rocko's best friend was Heffer Wolfe, a steer (he was sensitive about being called a cow), raised by wolves, who in his youth had opted to adopt rather than eat him. He still, however, bore the "birthmarks" where he'd been marked for division into various cuts. Rocko's other associates included his dog Spunky, and Filburt Turtle, a sickly reptile who lived by collecting recyclable refuse. Rocko had no surname.

Rocko's voice was done by Carlos Alazraqui (Mr. Crocker in Fairly OddParents. Panchito in latter-day Disney cartoons). Heffer was Tom Kenny (The Penguin in various Batman episodes, several voices in Duck Dodgers). Ed was Charles Adler (Buster in Tiny Toon Adventures, Optimatus in Loonatics). Other voices were provided by Doug Lawrence (Plankton in Spongebob Squarepants), Dom Irrera (Ernie in Hey Arnold) and others.

A few months after appearing on Nick, Rocko realized his creator's original ambition of starring in a comic book. Marvel Comics published Rocko's Modern Life #1 with a cover date of June, 1994. Seven issues were published, the final one dated December of the same year.

Back in animation, three seasons of Rocko's Modern Life were produced, ending in 1996. In addition, he had a video game, Spunky's Dangerous Day. In 2007, he appeared in the video game Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots, alongside Danny Phantom, Invader Zim and others who have starred on Nickelodeon over the years. He's now seen in occasional reruns, but that's about it.


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Text ©2009 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Nickelodeon.