Sunday, June 10, 2012



WRITERS: David Lapham, Kyle Baker, Matt Wagner
ARTISTS: Chris Sprouse, Kyle Baker, Eric Canete
INKS: Karl Story
COLORS: Jordie Bellaire, Eric Canete and Cassandra Poulson
LETTERS: Shawn Lee, Kyle Baker
PIN-UP: Eric Powell with Dave Stewart
EDITOR: Scott Dunbier
COVERS: Darwyn Cooke (A, C), Dave Stevens (B)
28pp, Color, $3.50 U.S.

The Rocketeer is a comic book character created by artist and illustrator, Dave Stevens, who died in March of 2008. The Rocketeer is Cliff Secord, a stunt pilot who discovers a mysterious jet pack that allows him to fly, and his adventures are set mainly in Los Angeles in and after the year 1938.

The Rocketeer returned to comic books in 2011 in Rocketeer Adventures. Edited by Scott Dunbier and published by IDW Publishing, this four-issue, anthology comic book was a tribute to Stevens and featured Rocketeer short stories (about 8 pages in length) from some of the premiere creators in American comic books. The tributes continue in Rocketeer Adventures Vol. 2.

Rocketeer Adventures Vol. 2 #3 opens with “Coulda Been…,” a story by David Lapham with art by Chris Sprouse and Karl Story, that finds Cliff Second and his girlfriend, Betty Page, imagining what their lives could be like. In “Butch Saves Betty,” the brilliant cartoonist Kyle Baker introduces Cliff and company to a shadowy client. Then, writer Matt Wagner and artist Eric Canete take readers to the future for a “History Lesson.”

David Lapham is a popular comic book creator, but I wonder if people really appreciate what a good writer he is. I see him as a comic book scribe who can always put an imaginative twist on the character/ensemble drama. Read 30 Days of Night: 30 Days ‘Til Death; it could have been just another vampire comic book, but isn’t. His “Coulda Been…” shows why making comic book characters “grow up,” especially those grounded in fantasy, is a mistake. The reason is that when you make characters act like real-world adults that fundamentally changes those characters, sometimes to the point in which they become different from what they were originally. Another good thing about this story is that the artist is the talented and under-utilized Chris Sprouse.

There is nothing special about the other two stories, other than that Kyle Baker draws one of them. What is special is the pin-up by Eric Powell (with colors by Dave Stewart). I could stare at a Powell drawing for an hour and not consider that a waste of time.


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