Forty years ago this month, a surprise World War II era character arrived that would become a sci-fi cult favorite, an homage to the 1930s to 1950s Saturday serial adventures, writer/artist Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer.  A four-issue limited series begins this month for the character’s 40th anniversary–The Rocketeer: The Great Race Cliff Secord is a stunt pilot in 1938 who finds a jetpack that allows him to fly.  This new story, by writer/artist Stephen Mooney, recounts some of the character’s backstory and finds him hunting Nazis rumored to be hiding in California.  The best part?  The actual queen of pin-ups Bettie Page is Cliff’s girlfriend–a concept creator Dave Stevens originally wanted as part of his story.

Cliff of the new story is that wide-eyed young optimist, a bit of a George Bailey in his desire to help the war effort while not an actual soldier.  The artwork has all the war era styles and early 20th century brand of steampunk.  The story should be well-received by Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow fans.  As part of the 40th anniversary, you can also pre-order the giant hardcover 40th anniversary edition of Dave Stevens’ Eisner Award-winning, The Rocketeer–Artist’s Edition now here at Amazon, coming later this month from IDW Publishing.

Here’s a preview of the first issue of The Rocketeer: The Great Race:

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