Long after the unfortunate and untimely demise of The Rocketeer’s creator Dave Stevens (July 29, 1955 – March 11, 2008) his creation is now back, resurrected by some of the sharpest talents in today’s comic book business. Since then 16 new volumes have been released, forming three all new series.
It’s about the first of these, The Rocketeer Adventures, I would like to talk in our last review of 2012.
Originally it was published in 4 volumes, several of which had different editions with each their own cover. It’s a nice touch that all of these covers are also in the hardcover collection of those four comics (which is a good thing as they’re incredibly hard to come by these days as separate issues). Each of these is a collection of different short stories, drawn by different artists (there’s 27 contributors in total), all painting a new tale of our intrepid hero Cliff Secord who spends most of his time as airborne hero The Rocketeer. And of course other well-loved characters such as his girlfriend Betty and mechanic friend Peevy but also some more unexpected reoccurrences, as well as familiar areas such as the Bulldog Cafe (complete with dog) and all new locations for Cliff to fight evil and save the day. Well mostly at least.
With so many artists it is of course unavoidable to please everyone with every single drawing style, but even the ones that weren’t much to my tastes were still paired with a good story. And that is definitely the strength of this collection: every single story is in the style of the originals. If Dave Stevens can see this, he’s rejoicing in the afterlife I’m sure, as the creators of the all new Rocketeer adventures are doing a splendid job giving all the possible respect to the original creation whilst pressing their own stamp onto them. My sole regret is the lack of chronology in the stories as you will have one that happens far later than the next one more often than not. But frankly, that’s a fact easily ignored and it should definitely not stop you from getting this. In fact, if you love The Rocketeer and you’ve not bought this yet, just go and do it.
This remains, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best pieces of Dieselpunk storytelling and art available these days!
Stay tuned for our review of The Rocketeer Adventures part 2, coming somewhere next month!