The Rocketeer returns in a new special by Hughes, Lee, Rodríguez, and Noto

The Rocketeer #1 cover art
The Rocketeer #1 cover art (Image credit: IDW Publishing)

in 2022 IDW celebrated the 40th anniversary of Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer in the limited series The Great Race. It looks like the Rocketeer won the race because he'll return in a May anthology one-hots featuring an all-star line-up of comic book creators including Adam Hughes, Jae Lee, Gabriel Rodríguez, and Phil Noto.

The one-shot special includes three stories, and the project began during the production of a documentary about Stevens titled Drawn to Perfection. Its filmmaker Kelvin Mao discovered that screenwriters Danny Bilson and the late Paul De Meo, who wrote the 1991 The Rocketeer film adaptation, had years before also written an unpublished Rocketeer comic book story guest-starring Amelia Earhart.

The Rocketeer #1 cover art (Image credit: IDW Publishing)
(opens in new tab)

Mao and the documentary's executive producer Robert Windom asked Adam Hughes to illustrate the story, and that project eventually evolved into the one-shot edited by Scott Dunbier.

"The Amelia story was written by Paul and me as a tribute to Dave. Now it serves as a tribute to both of them," says Bilson. "We're very honored to have Adam bring it to life."

"The Rocketeer, my favorite flying hero, has got a dish of a girlfriend, an unnecessarily cool outfit, and great hair. You'd hate someone like that in real life, but as a comic book character, he's aces!" adds Hughes.

The Rocketeer one-shot includes the Amelia Earhart eight-page story by Bilson, De Meo, and Hughes; a 12-page story about Cliff Secord's date night with Betty leading to "trouble with a vaguely familiar adventurer/archeologist" (who we're gonna guess carries a whip, wears a fedora, and shares a name with a state) written by Mao, drawn by Craig Cermak, and colored by Laura Martin; and a four-page story of the Rocketeer fighting a Japanese Zero in the South Pacific, written by Windom, drawn by Jae Lee, and colored by June Chung.

The Rocketeer #1 cover (Image credit: IDW Publishing)
(opens in new tab)

The special also includes pin-ups by Phil Noto and Maria Laura Sanapo and more content.

"The short story that Jae and I created is intended to be a dreamy contemplation on life and love, but with some great Rocketeer action and Betty, of course! Jae's ethereal style is a perfect fit for it," says Windom.

The Rocketeer will feature covers by Hughes and by Locke & Key artist Gabriel Rodríguez, along with retailer incentive "Full Art" variants of the Hughes and Rodríguez art, respectively.

I'm not just the Newsarama founder and editor-in-chief, I'm also a reader. And that reference is just a little bit older than the beginning of my Newsarama journey. I founded what would become the comic book news site in 1996, and except for a brief sojourn at Marvel Comics as its marketing and communications manager in 2003, I've been writing about new comic book titles, creative changes, and occasionally offering my perspective on important industry events and developments for the 25 years since. Despite many changes to Newsarama, my passion for the medium of comic books and the characters makes the last quarter-century (it's crazy to see that in writing) time spent doing what I love most.