As a listener of Comics Corner podcasts, you know that both of us really enjoy the character of The Rocketeer, first created by Dave Stevens in the 80s. For those few of you who aren’t familiar with The Rocketeer, I think Alex Ross’s wonderful cover that I pinched for this entry practically tells the whole story. Set in the 1930s, during the heady days of Nazi’s and pin up girls, our hero Cliff Secord finds a mysterious jet pack that after some tweaking by his mechanic-mentor Peevy allows him to regularly fly, fight bad guys, and save his girlfriend Betty (not always in that order). Deep it’s not, but it’s gloriously, unflinchingly pulpy and sweet and very human. It’s the sort of comic that both fans and non-fans of comics can love.
Unfortunately, very few issues of The Rocketeer ever came out (all of which are available in the excellent $20 hardcover The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures or the even more excellent $47 hardcover The Rocketeer: The Complete Deluxe Edition). Last year, IDW (who has taken wonderful loving care of Dave Stevens magnum opus, and has donated proceeds to charity in his behalf to fight the disease that killed him) came out with a four issue mini-series called Rocketeer Adventures, each issue a collection of short stories from wonderful artists and writers in the industry who wanted to contribute to Dave Stevens legacy. As all anthologies are, not every story is a winner, and not every artist gets the “future-retro” vibe right, but overall it was fun and worthy and left us wanting more.
And today, IDW announced Rocketeer Adventures Volume 2 is coming in March! Yeay! Its another anthology series, with some of my favorite creators already lined up: Darwyn Cooke, Marc Guggenheim, Bill Sienkiewicz, Paul Dini, Louise Simonson, Walter Simonson, Matt Wagner, and I’m sure many others who may be your favorites as well. And of course, some of Dave Stevens classic cover and pin up art as well. I’m not sure how many issues this one is—I hope more than four! But either way, more Rocketeer stories is always a good thing.
If you’re not already a fan of The Rocketeer, give the original stories and the previous anthology (especially the first couple of issues) a read. The art is second to none, the stories are brilliant fun, and in a world in which everything is dark and gritty, this stuff is pure, unblinkingly optimistic, even as it gets tense and exciting. Really, you’ll like ‘em.