IDW honors 'The Rocketeer' 40th anniversary with daring new comic book miniseries

The Rocketeer: The Great Race
The Rocketeer: The Great Race (Image credit: IDW Publishing)

If you're an avid fan of Golden Age pulp heroes who strap jetpacks to their backs, thwart dastardly villains and rescue damsels in distress, then mark your calendar for this April when IDW Publishing salutes the 40th anniversary of "The Rocketeer" with a new four-issue miniseries titled, "The Rocketeer: The Great Race."

Creator Dave Stevens' "The Rocketeer" first appeared as a short backup feature for Pacific Comics' "Starslayer #2" in April 1982. Its cult status eventually led to Disney's "The Rocketeer" feature film in 1991, which was directed by Joe Johnston and starred Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin and Timothy Dalton. A possible reboot of the material is also in the works from Disney Plus!

New York Times bestselling writer/artist Stephen Mooney heads up this new trans-Atlantic comic book adventure as a fitting celebration of the dashing character and its thrilling legacy in pop culture.

Related: The best sci-fi movies and TV shows to stream on Disney Plus

The Rocketeer: The Great Race #1 for Kindle: $4.99 at Amazon

The Rocketeer: The Great Race #1 for Kindle: $4.99 at Amazon

The Rocketeer will fly again in an all-new pulp comic adventure from IDW launching in April 2022. You can pre-order it for Kindle now at Amazon.

(Image credit: IDW Publishing)

"Writing and drawing a Rocketeer book has long been somewhat of a bucket-list item for me," Mooney said in an IDW statement. "I grew up on Dave Stevens' unique blend of swashbuckling derring-do and pulpy adventure with Cliff, Betty and Peevy, and those seminal issues still stand today as one of my favorite series of all time. It's incredibly daunting and yet also fantastically thrilling and a real challenge. Let's take to the skies!"

The storyline for "The Great Race" finds daring stunt pilot Cliff Secord back on the West Coast and deeply troubled by the brewing war over in Europe. With his barnstorming days and death-defying escapades finally behind him, Cliff targets a new challenge in the form of an elite winner-take-all international air race from California to France. 

Trying to forge a new, less-dangerous path in his life, Cliff decides to take his sweetheart Betty with him to The City of Lights, but unsavory contestants are hoping to score a race victory by any means to satisfy different agendas and our hero must choose between two enviable prizes.

(Image credit: IDW Publishing)

Additionally, each issue of "The Rocketeer: The Great Race" is being offered with an oral history contributed by Dave Stevens' friends, family and colleagues, and curated by Kelvin Mao, the director of an upcoming documentary on the fan-favorite artist.

"Stephen Mooney has a love and affinity for 'The Rocketeer,' and the time period the iconic character inhabits ... all of which is abundantly evident in the story he has crafted," adds editor Scott Dunbier. "It's a fun-filled romp, one I think Dave Stevens would enjoy!"

IDW's "The Rocketeer: The Great Race #1" arrives April 6 with a full tank of variant covers, including Cover A by Gabriel Rodríguez ("Locke & Key"), Cover B from Stephen Mooney, a Blank Sketch edition for Cover C, and a Retailer Incentive release featuring Rodríguez' dynamic art.

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Jeff Spry
Contributing Writer

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.