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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Rocketeer. Excellent Pulp Storytelling

This past weekend, the comic book website, had a sale on Rocketeer comic books. So I figured "what the hell, I'll buy a few."When I was little I remember seeing the Rocketeer movie at the Ford City mall, and I really enjoyed it. So I bought a few issues. Now up to this point, I had never really read Rocketeer comics, so I was interested to see how much of the comic mythology was utilized in the film version.

I was very surprised and pleased to see that much of the Rocketeer movie utilized the storytelling methods and properties of the comic. The origin of the Rocketeer in the movie is pretty much the same as in the comics. The character's personalities are similar as well. And in the comics, the Rocketeer battles Nazis, just like in the movie. This made reading the comics to be very enjoyable and fun. It's nice to be able to read a comic and just be purely entertained. I think comics take themselves too seriously sometimes. Or are dark when they don't necessarily need to be dark. Reading the Rocketeer was fun. It's lighthearted, action packed, and refreshing.

Created in the early 1980s by Dan Stevens, the Rocketeer is a love letter to the 1930s/1940s pulp dramas, film noira, and Saturday morning matinee serials. I love these genres and stories. The way stories are told in these genres of film are engaging, fast paced, and provide you the viewer with memorable characters. Examples of characters made famous in "serials" include: "Flash Gordon, The Green Hornet, and The Shadow".
Flash Gordon Serial
The Shadow from the old radio series

The Green Hornet Radio Show 

This genre of films would go on to inspire filmmaker George Lucas to create "Star Wars"and "Indiana Jones". These movies essentially are love letters to the old Saturday morning matinee serials. If you have never experienced this genre, I highly recommend it. In fact start with the Rocketeer. It's an excellent introduction.

I would love to see a revival of the "matinee serial" story telling method. Especially in radio. I think the medium of radio and these pulp dramas would be a hand into a glove.

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