Top positive review
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From 1938 and the golden age of aviation comes-
on 4 February 2010
-The Rocketeer. The Rocketeer is another wonderful example of the flowering of the graphic novel which began in the 1980's with Moore's Swamp Thing, V for Vendetta, and Watchmen, Frank Miller's Ronin and The Dark Knight Returns, Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez Love & Rockets, and Howard Chaykin's American Flagg, several of which I've reviewed for Amazon. As different from all of these as they are from each other, The Rocketeer is a pulp adventure romp which moves from the dry sunny skies of California to the dark underworld of New York and it's a delight from start to finish.
Firstly the art by Dave Stevens is delicate in line, detailed and accurate in its portrayal of the period, wryly humorous, almost unique its depiction of people who look real, and particularly gorgeous in its portrayal of beautiful woman. Betty, the heroine, is modelled on the legendary 1950's glamour and exotic pictures icon Bettie Page. I've no doubt that Stevens, who later became a friend of Paige, did much to bring her back into the limelight again. But I digress, in the unlikely event that you aren't taken with the story, it's impossible that the art will fail to enchant you. It has also been recoloured, in accordance with Stevens' wishes (though tragically he died of leukemia before he could see it), by Laura Martin one of the very top colourists in the business and whose skills have enhanced many graphic stories. Also reprinted are the many covers of the various magazines in which this story appeared.
As for the story itself, stunt pilot Cliff Secord gets his hands on jet pack stolen by Nazis from its inventor who isn't, as one character thinks, Howard Hughes but a very famous character from the pulp magazines of the period. Lots of action ensues with Cliff distracted by his stunning girlfriend and her career as a glamour model. All doesn't end well and Secord chases her to New York to try and prevent her from going to Europe with her sleazy-sophisticate photographer mentor. There he is befriended by another pulp hero with a very sharp nose as dark secrets of Secord's life are brought into sharp threatening life.
I love this book. I love it for its beautiful art. I love it for its high adventure and thrills. I love it for its humour and I love it for its detail and for so many other reasons. And I love it because I have it in this definitive beautiful hardback edition. And I'm pretty sure you will love it too.