Fierce readers, when you want pulp characters in comics, the biggest names came straight out of the pulp era: The Shadow, Doc Savage, Tarzan, Conan, and more. The Rocketeer fits right in there with them, despite coming into existence far later. I am not talking about the Rocketeer movie by Disney, though that is a fine take on the character that is a pretty good adaptation, though some changes were made to enlarge the audience and appeal of the story.
For the curious, I'm strictly concerning myself with the original works by the creator, Dave Stevens. There are quite a few more recent works published by IDW and other artists and writers; what I've read was pretty good, but it's not Dave Stevens work.
This is going to be SPOILER HEAVY!
Our hero has lady troubles. He's a pilot in a flying circus scraping by, and his girlfriend Betty is an "actress" getting attention from a Hollywood photographer. The photographer, Marco of Hollywood, is a real piece of scum. Can't really blame anyone for looking, though. She's, um .... let me find my words...
Anyway, some Nazis try to steal his plane, and have left the prototype pack in it. He of course, starts finding trouble right after using to save a friend. Like I said, the movie adaptation is pretty good.
So yeah, we've got Nazis, government spies, the most storied recluse millionaire there is, and little Cliff Secord trying to save the day so he can get the dough to feel like he can keep his girl.
Mr. Stevens only finished two short story arcs, though, and the second ties this far more to the world of the pulps. Betty is on a plane to catch a boat to Europe with Marco, and Cliff is trying to catch up to her to get her back.
Once he gets to New York, he gets a job offer from an old buddy who helps him find Betty. Then, of course Cliff confronts her, his jealousy foremost in his mind right now. After a brawl interrupted by a very obvious tribute to the Shadow, that skirts the edge very closely, but there's never any use of hypnosis, black outfit, the laugh, etc.
Cliff's broke, so he takes a job for our "Jonas" that involves some carnival workers that Cliff used to work with being killed. Yeah, we've got a nice little Shadow short filled with danger, death, and revenge. Cliff heads back, but before he gets home:
Now, since then, there's been a myriad of crossovers and a good amount of other stories. He's worked with Captain America, Batman, The Spirit, and more. The costume is popular as crazy for some cosplayers, though it's not as Cliff, but as Betty wearing the outfit.(not in Steven's work, by the way).
In other news, try to keep an eye out for a special anniversary Injustice Book Review later this week.
When you play Social Justice, the world loses.