There are a few sad things about the late artist Dave Stevens.
Obviously the fact that a man so talented was cut down fairly young by cancer is pretty predominant. In conjunction with that is the fact we only ever got one real complete comic work from Dave. There are a ton of pin-ups and a story here and there in his huge resume but only one work is fully and completely his.
A loving tribute to the era of 40’s pulp adventure, The Rocketeer is one of those few comic books that is perfect the way it is. In the numerous years since I first encountered the comic, it has still stood the test of time. The art is just as good as anything on the stands now. The colors are still fitting. The layout out and story while matching the time period and genre of the comic, could still teach some new artists a thing about pacing and creativity with layout.
In fact the only thing I ever thought could be improved upon was collecting all of it into a nice hardcover.
IDW has become one of my favorite reprint publishers. I mean sure they do some good new work (like Gene Simmons’ Dominatrix written by my old editor Sean Taylor and despite the Gene’s name, I would recommend giving it a read) but their current slate of reprints have been a great batch. Bloom County, Captain Canuck, Dick Tracy, Grim Jack, IDW is reprinting a lot of work that may other wise get lost and shouldn’t. So when word came down they were the ones to do the reprint of The Rocketeer, I was rather happy.
Now I just picked up the regular hard cover, very nicely printed, has all of the Rocketeer adventures as well as some pin ups. The colors and paper stock just lend itself to showing off the art. There is an super deluxe version as well that is in a bigger format and more behind the scenes art stuff.
And much like the original Star Wars films and Indiana Jones films, this comic is set in it’s era but feels timeless. It’s an adventure about a man with a rocket pack who is dating a woman who is so hot he has no right to be dating her. It’s an underdog story, a love story, it stars a man with a freaking rocket pack! If you have a friend who likes comics and has yet to get this, buy it for the holidays, they’ll thank you for it.
It’s a great example of how you can mine the past but still come up with something exciting.
Speaking of timeless here’s something interesting I came across.
By far one of the best North American animated series ever is Batman: The Animated Series. The style was great, the writing was some of the best Batman in years and as I have stated many times, mark Hamill owns the Joker. Paul Dini and Bruce Timm were following the tremendously successful Tim Burton Batman films and not only stepped up to the plate, but knocked it out of the park.
And now we’re getting another peek at how the did it.
Over here you can find a downloadable copy of the series’ bible. It is apparently dated 1990 which means this is the one they were using at the beginning. It’s a great look into the guidelines they set down that helped create such a great series.
Well that’s it for me. The holidays are fast approaching and I have some gifts to wrap and booze to drink. I hope all of you have a good holiday with friends and family no matter what you celebrate.
Brent Chittenden is a Canadian based freelance writer and co-host of Two Assholes Talking About Nerd Stuff and suggests that maybe the whole family might enjoy listening to the latest episode of his podcast which features a guest appearance by Comic Book Daily’s own Pete DeCourcy. It’s kind of like being wrapped in a warm audio blanket of nerd. Just cover the kids ears when the swearing starts.