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The Rocketeer: The Complete Deluxe Edition Hardcover – December 21, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Speeding across the sky like a jet-propelled dream, Stevens's Rocketeer is one of the most enduring and endearing images of '80s comics. Set in the '30s, these tales follow Cliff Secord, an impulsive young stunt pilot who finds a mysterious jetpack that enables him to fly. And then his troubles—and the fun—begin. A charming, lively tribute to the pulp era—several characters from well-known pulp serials make clandestine appearances—Stevens's lively, gorgeous art captures every wide-eyed gasp and clenched-jaw struggle of the breakneck tale. While Stevens, who died in 2008, is a master of adventure, Cliff's girlfriend Betty, a delightful homage to pinup queen Bettie Page, often steals the show. Due to Stevens's slow output, only a handful of Rocketeer stories exist, collected for the first time following a checkered publishing trail and being out-of-print for over a decade. Those who have never seen the complete Rocketeer will be satisfied with the regular hardcover edition; an oversized deluxe edition brings together concept art, sketches, and background materials that make this the definite record of one of comics' most appealing recent characters. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
The high-flying hero of this gloriously retro comic book, which inspired a 1991 feature film, is Cliff Secord, a pleasantly lunkheaded, barnstorming aviator in 1930s Los Angeles who comes into possession of a stolen rocket pack that enables him to fly. A bullet-shaped helmet designed by Cliff’s mechanic pal, Peevy, completes the look, inspired by the 1949 King of the Rocket Men movie serial. The story lines, involving Nazi spies and the like, are slight but serviceable. What made The Rocketeer a fan favorite was Stevens’ luscious artwork, especially his rendition of Cliff’s girlfriend, Betty. Stevens’ talent for drawing cheesecake-style gorgeous women was unsurpassed, and Betty, an overt homage to pinup queen Bettie Page, was the most dazzling of them. It took Stevens, notoriously slow and meticulous, a dozen years to produce the relative handful of stories gathered in this slim volume that, unfortunately, must stand as The Rocketeer in toto, since Stevens died in 2008. In this lovingly designed, newly recolored collection, though, that legacy is very impressive in quality, however meager in quantity. --Gordon Flagg --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
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That being said, Dave Stevens' incredible artwork and storyline in his book have to be enjoyed as a separate entity, and a masterpiece of 1930's /40's pulp fiction fantasy. If you're familiar with the era and literature of the times, you'll really enjoy this.
Simply put, this is a remarkable treasure. Housed in a sturdy, eye-catching slipcase and with a handy ribbon place-marker, the book itself is exceptionally well made and of extremely high quality. The covers are solid and strong, the binding is tight, the pages are thick and glossy, and the colors and production values of the artwork printed on them are the best I have ever seen in any book--period. The page size allows the artwork to be printed quite large, which, with the minimal margins, shows off the incredible details and intricacies of Mr. Stevens' work to best advantage. This is truly a volume to enjoy and to savor over many readings. The craftsmanship of the drawings, the meticulous line work, the amazing coloring--all create a visual feast for the eye that gets better every time you look at it. This is a book that is sure to get better over time.
Roughly half of the pages in the Deluxe Edition consist of photographs, pencil sketches, yellow-legal-pad pages of Mr. Stevens' notes, storyboards, uncolored final drawings, conceptual layouts and so on. These "extras" provide a fascinating glimpse into the creative process that Mr. Stevens went through to develop his stories and characters. While they may not be of interest to casual readers who just want to read the finished stories, and who may thus choose to purchase "The Rocketeer: The Complete Collection," I found them to be a good "value-added" feature well worth the additional cost.
If you have the slightest interest at all in "The Rocketeer," I most highly recommend this book without hesitation. You'll not only be satisfied with it; you'll be overwhelmed.
This collection features all of Dave Stevens Rocketeer work (8 issues) and is appropriately titled Dave Stevens' The Rocketeer, The Complete Adventures, which is the standard trade hardcover edition. It contains new coloring by Laura Martin, who had been chosen by Dave Stevens prior to his death.
This is what the wonderfully visual and action packed movie is based on. No comics collection is complete without this masterpiece!
I'm glad I did. It goes without saying that The Rocketeer Deluxe Edition is a fine tribute to both creator and artist extraordinaire Dave Stevens as well as his creation. This edition is bursting with roughs and an outline of the work that Stevens had in mind. This should be a must own for the serious comic art enthusiast. Then there's the oversized glory of the Rocketeer stories themselves. With the oversized format, one can appreciate the high level of craft Stevens brought to his work. It wouldn't surprise me if he labored intensely over even the most trivial of details because it shows in his fabulous art.
If you loved the Rocketeer, then this is a must have. 5 stars!