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The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures: 09/06/15

The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures by Dave Stevens: TThe Rocketeer comic is more about flying, and money troubles, and a rocky relationship between Cliff and Betty.

The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures by Dave Stevens is an omnibus of the Rocketeer comics that began their run in 1982. The comic was later adapted to the big screen in 1991. It was the film that first introduced me to the characters.

In 1982 I was at the right age that I would have eaten up this comic (and similar ones) if I'd had access to them. It's not that I wasn't allowed to read them, it's that I grew up in a suburb with a dwindling child population — a generation squished in between the last of the baby boomers and the bulk of the gen Xers. There was exactly one book store that I had easy access to and it didn't exactly cater to tweens. I frankly didn't even know comic books were still being produced — they seemed to be a long lost part of my parents' childhoods (along with baseball cards and sock hops).

I'm still not a comic book reader but I do like to read the collections (they're nicely bound and less prone to tearing). I'm also lucky now to live near libraries that actively stock comics, graphic novels, manga and similar things.

The Rocketeer I watched with my Grandmother (who in her youth had been an aficionada of the Saturday serial). The film is fun but it has some problems — too much emphasis on making Betty a damsel in distress. There's too much emphasis on making the Nazis the big bad (they were of course horrendous but in the 1980s and into the early 1990s there was a glut of Nazi bad guys in movies, either figuratively with the Star Wars franchise, or literally with Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade among others. Part of this our 20/20 hindsight delusion to believe the United States gave a fuck about the atrocities happening in Europe but the reality is we didn't take notice until Pearl Harbor.

The Rocketeer comic is more about flying, and money troubles, and a rocky relationship between Cliff and Betty. Betty isn't the damsel in distress here. She has her own story that may or may not involve Cliff. That was refreshing.

A panel from the Rocketeer

There's a good mixture of humor and adventure too. It was a fun book to live blog, and you can see my progress on Tumblr.

Four stars

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