The Rocketeer Adventure Magazine #1, 1988, Comico, Cover by Dave Stevens.
The POP Retro Cover Of The Week continues its celebration and examination of iconic comic covers from the 1970s through the 2000s, this week returning to the Eighties, the Bronze Age of Comics, when young creators like Dave Stevens were getting their first work published by smaller companies like Pacific Comics and Comico.
Dave Stevens (1955-2008) is best known as the creator/writer/artist of retro hero The Rocketeer, whose stories were so popular, Disney bought the rights and made a Rocketeer movie in 1991. In 2019, The Rocketeer returned (sort of) as a computer-animated children's series on Disney Junior and the Disney Channel, this time the adventures featured a young girl in a pink uniform zooming through the skies.
Stevens himself had a throwback illustration style, and would have fit in with the best masters of the Golden Age of Comics, and had a love for machines, hairstyles, and fashions of that era. So naturally, The Rocketeer stories take places in the 1930s, where Stevens got to draw the vintage airplanes and automobiles he loved, along with erotic pin-up Bettie Page, plucked from her 1950s era, and placed into his stories as Rocketeer Cliff Secord’s girlfriend, Betty.
The cover of The Rocketeer Adventure Magazine #1 is an Art Deco masterpiece of graphic design. The strong V-shaped geometric composition, the period fonts, and The Rocketeer logo are all prime examples of the aesthetics of print design of that era. Add the eye-popping color scheme, and Stevens’ dynamic and beautiful illustration of a streaking Cliff Secord, and you have one of my all-time favorite covers, and not the last Dave Stevens work you will see as POP Retro Cover Of The Week.