The Rocketeer is a comic book series with writing and art by Dave Stevens. In a homage to the Pulp Magazines of the 1930s, a stunt pilot finds an experimental jetpack and sets up as a hero.
The series suffered from an erratic publishing schedule, with gaps between installments sometimes stretching for years. A complete collection of the entire series was published by IDW Publishing in 2009.
The 1991 film adaptation is more widely known.
In 2011, IDW Publishing began producing occasional limited series, starting with the eight-issue Rocketeer Adventures, with stories and art contributed by many famous comics creators including Kurt Busiek, Bruce Timm, and Mark Waid. Waid and Chris Samnee then collaborated on a four-issue series called Cargo of Doom, followed by Hollywood Horror, a crossover with the Spirit called Pulp Friction, a prose collection called "Jet Powered Adventures" and finally The Rocketeer At War, throwing Cliff into World War II at last.
The comic book provides examples of:
- Comic-Book Fantasy Casting:
- Cliff is Errol Flynn.note
- The hero's love interest bears a striking (and entirely deliberate) resemblance to Bettie Page, and is named Betty.
- The villain in "Cliff's New York Adventure" is modeled on Rondo Hatton.
- Cliff's sleazy photographer romantic rival is based on real erotic photographer Ken Marcus (who was a friend of Stewart).
- Cool Helmet: The most distinctive visual element of the character; the big dorsal fin is used for steering.
- Diesel Punk: The art style contains a bit of it.
- It's Not Porn, It's Art: In-universe, Betty's scumbag photographer friend uses this as an excuse.
- Jet Pack: The Rocketeer's main special item/ability.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Several heroes from the real 1930s pulps make guest appearances, most notably the unnamed inventor of the jetpack and the rich man in New York.
- Ms. Fanservice: Cliff's girlfriend sure doesn't wear a lot of clothes. Even when she isn't posing in lingerie!
- Superhero Packing Heat: Cliff's weapon of choice as the Rocketeer is a Mauser C96 Broomhandle Pistol.