One of the joys about picking up collections of comics is finding the gem in the rough. This time the gem wasn’t the most expensive item, but The Rocketeer graphic novel.
Written and drawn by the late Dave Stevens, this is a comic that has a core cult following but in the history of 1980’s comics that changed how the industry works, not to mention how comics were perceived by people outwith our little comics ghetto, The Rocketeer never gets a mention.
Originally published by Pacific Comics, The Rocketeer was the first big success of the then small, but growing, independent scene that was taking advantage of the expanding direct market. Stevens was a genius and is also the man most responsible for the Bettie Page revival in the 80’s.
The Rocketeer helped prove independent comic publishers could have a hit, and proved creators didn’t need Marvel or DC to be successful. Sadly Stevens was a tad, well, slow, so it took years to get his story out but it was worth it as it is a work of art with every panel a clear labour of love.
Stevens even managed to get his character onto film with a perfectly respectable and even underrated film adaptation in 1991.
Since Stevens untimely death other people have attempted to carry on the story with IDW publishing some decent story but they’re nothing like that original Dave Stevens story which remains, and always will be, a complete joy.