The Rocketeer suits up again for The Great Race by Stephen Mooney

The Rocketeer: The Great Race #1 uncolored excerpt
The Rocketeer: The Great Race #1 uncolored excerpt (Image credit: Stephen Mooney/Len O'Grady (IDW Publishing))

The dieselpunk pulp hero Rocketeer will return this April for a new series at IDW Publishing, as part of a broader celebration of the character's 40th anniversary.

The Rocketeer: The Great Race #1 variant cover (Image credit: Stephen Mooney (IDW Publishing))

The Rocketeer: The Great Race is a four-issue series by writer/artist Stephen Mooney which will see our intrepid stunt pilot Cliff Secord take part in an air race that runs from California to France - that's right, from the US west coast to European west coast. This all happens as the drum beats for war are heightening in Europe, as the Rocketeer is a period piece set in just before the second World War.

And yes, Betty (the character based on real-life pin-up model Bettie Page) will be appearing in this series.

"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," says series editor Scott Dunbier in the announcement. "It's a fun-filled romp, one I think Dave Stevens would enjoy!"

Like Stevens, Mooney is both writing and drawing this Rocketeer story, and follows work on his own WW2-era series, Half Past Danger.

Check out this uncolored preview of The Rocketeer: The Great Race #1 by Mooney and inker Len O'Grady:

"Writing and drawing a Rocketeer book has long been somewhat of a bucket-list item for me. 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," says Mooney. "It's incredibly daunting and yet also fantastically thrilling and a real challenge. Let's take to the skies!"

The Rocketeer: The Great Race #1 main cover (Image credit: Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW Publishing))

Each issue of The Rocketeer: The Great Race will also include an oral history of the character, with contributions from Stevens' friends, family, and fellow artists - as organized by Kelvin Mao, who is working on a documentary of the writer/artist.

Locke & Key's Gabriel Rodriguez has drawn the main cover for The Rocketeer: The Great Race #1, with a variant by Mooney.

The Rocketeer: The Great Race #1 goes on sale in April, as part of a broader 'Rocketeer Month' planned by IDW to celebrate the character's 40th anniversary. As part of the celebration, IDW will be reprinting the long-sold-out Dave Stevens' The Rocketeer Artist's Edition.

This is all happening as Disney is prepping a new Rocketeer film with Selma's David Oyelowo.

Chris Arrant

Chris Arrant covered comic book news for Newsarama from 2003 to 2022 (and as editor/senior editor from 2015 to 2022) and has also written for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel Entertainment, TOKYOPOP, AdHouse Books, Cartoon Brew, Bleeding Cool, Comic Shop News, and CBR. He is the author of the book Modern: Masters Cliff Chiang, co-authored Art of Spider-Man Classic, and contributed to Dark Horse/Bedside Press' anthology Pros and (Comic) Cons. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. Chris is a member of the American Library Association's Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table. (He/him)