Monday, August 9, 2010

Rayboy's Review: Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer: Artist’s Edition

Thanks to IDW Publishing, editor Scott Dunbier and the estate of Dave Stevens, fans of the 1980's serial "The Rocketeer" can own a special book collecting the complete signature work of the late creator. Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer: Artist’s Edition is a massive 12” x 17” black and white hardcover that features all 119 pages of the adventures of Cliff Secord and his girl, Betty.

Nearly every page in The Rocketeer has been scanned in color from Stevens’ original art to present the best possible reproduction and highest degree of accuracy. The book is printed on uncoated stock and at the same size as the original artwork, Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer: Artist’s Edition really is the next best thing to holding the actual art by Dave Stevens, who held onto most of the originals, with only a few being sold or given away as gifts over the intervening years since it was first published.

The story takes place in 1938 Los Angeles, where Cliff Secord, a local racing pilot and barnstormer, discovers a mysterious package hidden in his airplane. In that package, Cliff finds a stolen rocket backpack. The Rocketeer serial included a number of references to pop culture from the 1930s. The first storyline, "The Rocketeer" featured characters from the Doc Savage pulp series, although Stevens did not to refer to any of the characters — including Doc Savage himself — by name, to avoid violating copyrights. "Cliff's New York Adventure" similarly featured unnamed characters from The Shadow pulp series, including the Shadow's famous alter-ego, Lamont Cranston. The character of Betty was drawn in the likeness of 1950s pin-up model, Bettie Page.

At $100.00 a copy, some folks might balk at purchasing this luscious volume, but that would be a huge mistake for fans of Stevens and The Rocketeer. Let me tell you, this thing is beautiful. I would also like to thank Shelley Drum, newly instated store manager at her dad's "Heroes Aren't Hard To Find" store in Charlotte, NC. Shelley picked up a copy for me while she was taking in the recent San Diego Comic-Con International.

Sadly, Dave Stevens passed away on March 11, 2008 at the young age of 52. I am very glad that I got speak to Dave in person back in the early 1990's. He drew a small character sketch from his Pacific Comics series, Alien Worlds for me and I also had him sign one of his nice Dark Horse Comics cover prints, which I still have.

I could not recommend Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer: Artist’s Edition highly enough. If you are fortunate to have one of the 1400 copies that were made available for sale, you will understand that it is a true "must" for any collection!


Daniel [] said...

A copy showed-up at my door-step in July; my girlfriend/fiancée had decided that I should have one.

James Figueiredo said...

I'm so envious right now I can barely type! ;)


David Wells said...

I just purchased my copy of it this evening. Hoozah!

Chuck Wells said...

Daniel, David and I have now taken three "bee-you-tee-full" copies of this gem off of the market.

They're going fast people and getting rarer by the second!