Who is the Rocketman?
It was 1949 when Republic Pictures first introduced their high-flying hero, Rocketman, to a public in desperate need of an imaginative distraction. This was the age of the serial picture – short action packed low budget cliffhanger films that theater goers would thrill to every week. My first exposure to these timeless adventures was as a grade school boy watching the weekly serialized episodes shown every Sunday morning on television. What I remember most about those early morning viewings was the wonder and fascination of watching Jeff King don the rocket suit and leap into the air propelled along by his fantastic jetpack. It was the personification of all my juvenile comic book dreams. Seeing a mild mannered guy slip on a cool leather jacket, a snazzy helmet, and a space-aged rocket to become a bigger than life superhero was all the inspiration my imagination needed to dream up all kinds of fantastic scenarios. Deep down in my youthful heart of hearts, I knew that one day I’d get to be a hero like that. I’d get to be a Rocketman.
A few short years later, at a local comic book show I was introduced to an innovative story in the pages of Pacific Presents called The Rocketeer. Dave Stevens had taken bits and pieces from all the great Sunday morning pulp adventure serials and the original Rocketman to create something unique and timeless. As a kid, it was easy to read those first Rocketeer stories and imagine being Cliff Secord, thrust into the unlikely role as a likeable high flying hero. Over the next two decades I would seek out and devour every appearance of the Rocketeer and love every panel. There are a thousand great comic books out there, but the Rocketeer was more than great, it was inspired. Those books touched my imagination and remain some of my favorite comic adventures to date. Dave Stevens was one of a kind and the world is a little less magical without him in it.
When the guys at Moonstone told me that I’d have a chance to contribute to a series that would pay homage to two of my favorite childhood heroes, I was overjoyed. A little bit of the wonder from those days of youth was rekindled for me and I couldn’t stop smiling. As the pulp heroes of yesteryear return in The Originals, we will be revisiting the world of tomorrow with a new look at the Rocketman.
Our version of Rocketman is a fresh reimagining of an old favorite with art by the amazing Hannibal King. We are bringing back the serial format by telling our tale in short cliffhanger chapters that harken back to the age of pulp heroes. And within those pages you will get a taste of all the things that made those classic characters so special. There are unlikely heroes, bigger than life villains, deranged clones, mad scientists, and of course, beautiful femme fatales waiting to be experienced again by entire new generations of readers. It all starts with Billy Callahan, a street kid who ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time and has to make the choice to be a villain or a hero. When he decides he opens the door to a world of danger and wonder that will take us on a roller coaster ride through the 1930s that I hope will allow you to experience the same joy that I did all those years ago.
I hope you enjoy the Rocketman comic as much as we’ve enjoyed working on it. It’s everything I loved about those old black and white pulp serials with more fists and fedoras than you can shake a ray gun at. And in brilliant comic book “technicolor” to boot.
Thank you, Dave, for your passion, imagination, beautiful illustrations, and moving stories. It’s because of your amazing legacy that we have this opportunity.
Moonstone's Return of the Originals"