Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the debut of The Rocketeer in comics with this beautiful book showcasing the art of one of comics’ masters!
In April of 1982, The Rocketeer debuted as a backup feature from Pacific Comics. From those humble beginnings, the artistry of Dave Stevens caught the imaginations of countless readers and became a worldwide sensation, even being turned into a big-budget feature film! And in 2010 when IDW launched its award-winning Artist’s Edition series, The Rocketeer was the inaugural release, even winning two coveted Eisner Awards that year. The book quickly sold out and went into a second printing. Now, more than ten years later, is soaring back with a new 40th-anniversary printing.
- IDW Publishing, April 27, 2022
- ISBN 978-1-68405-887-7
- 12″ x 17″, 136 pages, hardcover
- $150 USD
- Order online: Amazon, Things From Another World, Forbidden Planet, Books Etc
As with all AE format material (Artist’s Editions, Artifact Editions, Gallery Editions, Art Editions, Studio Editions, etc.), this is a collection of classic comic material and I’ll be reviewing the book and not the story. For a complete list of all current and announced editions, with review links, please visit our Index. Also, see What is an Artist’s Edition and our Artist Index. This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.
New packaging of the first Artist’s Edition, with the two missing pages added and a redesign by Randall Dahlk. It’s difficult to review this without constantly comparing it to the original, so I’m not going to fight it. Please read my review of Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer Artist’s Edition and then come back. Compare and contrast.
It’s great to have the two missing pages added so we get the complete Rocketeer in all its original art glory. The two pages added are both signed by Stevens, making me think not many of these left the artist. And those two pages have yellowed quite a bit.
The other significant change is the design by Dahlk. Lots of great images with clever shading, hard angles and the colour palette carried from the cover right on through. It’s quite bold, but I have a soft spot for the interior design of that first Artist’s Edition with its lack of colour and use of pencil lines. The images look good at a reduced since in my photos, but up close a lot of them appear pixellated or blurry. I especially enjoyed the credits appearing on the chapter breaks.
Production is the IDW AE standard of excellence. A sewn binding of approximately 150gsm uncoated matte paper. The book lies flat after smoothing the center, except where the signatures meet. It comes shrink-wrapped in a cardboard case, with a large colour sticker showing the cover image, UPC, and price for US and CAN. The cardboard case is too thick for the book and appears to be the same one used for John Buscema’s Marvel Heroes Artist’s Edition.
It’s disappointing to see this book have the exact same title as the original. And the colophon states Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer Artist’s Edition, first printing. Uh, nope. I added 40th Anniversary in parentheses to differentiate them. Along with that first printing was a second printing with a variant cover, so this is the fourth Artist’s Edition of this material, not including the reduced size Artisan Edition. But this time, it has all the pages, so we have the complete package.
So we get the same book plus two pages and twelve years for an extra $50. That’s the cynical take, and it is the smallest page count of any IDW Artist’s Edition. For the many fans of Dave Stevens who haven’t been able to track down this out-of-print Artist’s Edition, this new printing is everything they’ve been waiting for.