Dave Stevens

Dave Lee Stevens (July 29, 1955 – March 11, 2008) was an American illustrator and comics artist. He is most famous for creating The Rocketeer comic book and film character, and for his pin-up style "glamour art" illustrations, especially of model Bettie Page. He was the first to win Comic-Con International's Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award in 1982, and received both an Inkpot Award and the Kirby Award for Best Graphic Album in 1986.

Dave Stevens
Dave Stevens at Inkpot Awards in 1982
BornJuly 29, 1955[1]
Lynwood, California
DiedMarch 11, 2008 (aged 52)
Turlock, California
Area(s)Penciller, Inker, Illustrator
AwardsRuss Manning Award
Inkpot Award
Kirby Award

Early life

Stevens was born July 29, 1955, in Lynwood, California, but grew up in Portland, Oregon. His family relocated to San Diego, where he attended San Diego City College for two years,[2] and attended the then-new annual San Diego Comic-Con (now Comic-Con International).


Early work

Stevens' first professional comic work was inking Russ Manning's pencils for the Tarzan newspaper comic strip and two European Tarzan graphic novels in 1975; he later assisted Manning on the Star Wars newspaper strip.[3]

He began doing occasional comic book work, including providing illustrations for fanzines (inking drawings by comic book veteran Jack Kirby among them), as well as creating the Aurora feature for Japan's Sanrio Publishing.[4]

Starting in 1977, he drew storyboards for Hanna-Barbera's animated TV shows, including Super Friends and The Godzilla Power Hour, where he worked with comics and animation veteran, Doug Wildey.[2] For the rest of the decade, he continued to work in animation and film, joining the art studio of illustrators William Stout and Richard Hescox in Los Angeles, working on projects such as storyboards for George Lucas and Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark and pop singer Michael Jackson's video "Thriller".[3]

The Rocketeer

Dave Stevens painting of the 1991 Disney film Rocketeer

The Rocketeer series was an adventure story set in a pulp fiction-styled 1930s (with allusions to heroes like Doc Savage and The Shadow emphasizing the pulp tradition), about a down-on-his-luck pilot named Cliff Secord who finds a mysterious rocket pack. Despite its erratic publishing history, the Rocketeer proved to be one of the first successful features to emerge from the burgeoning independent comics movement. Influenced by Golden Age artists Will Eisner, Lou Fine, Reed Crandall, Maurice Whitman, Frank Frazetta and Wally Wood,[5] Stevens was widely recognized, along with artists such as Steve Rude and Jaime Hernandez, as one of the finest comic book artists of his generation.[6]

Stevens was a longtime admirer of 1950s glamour and pin-up model Bettie Page; he modeled the look of the Rocketeer's girlfriend after her and featured her image in other illustrations too, which helped contribute to the renewed public interest in Page and her modeling career. After discovering that the retired Page was still alive and lived near by, Stevens became friends with her, providing both personal assistance and helping to arrange financial compensation to her from various publishers for the use of her image and reprints of her many glamor and pin-up photos.[4] Two other characters that show up in the Rocketeer stories were based on personal acquaintances of Stevens: the "Peevy" character on cartoonist Doug Wildey and the sleazy "Marco of Hollywood" character on real life glamour and porn photographer Ken Marcus.[3]

Comic book series

The first comic book featuring the Rocketeer was released in 1982. Those first stories appeared as a second feature in issues #2 and #3 of Mike Grell's Pacific Comics' Starslayer series. For its next two installments, Steven's feature moved to the anthology comic title Pacific Presents #1 and #2. The fourth chapter ended in a cliffhanger that was later concluded in a lone Rocketeer comic released by Eclipse Comics.[6] The character was then continued in the Rocketeer Adventure Magazine, with two issues being published in 1988 and then 1989 by Comico Comics; a third and final issue was published six years later in 1995 by Dark Horse Comics. Stevens' extensive background research and meticulous approach to his illustrations contributed to the long delays between Rocketeer issues.[2] The first completed story line was then collected into a graphic novel by Eclipse Comics, in both trade paperback and hardcover formats, and simply titled The Rocketeer (ISBN 1-56060-088-8); the second story line was collected into a glossy trade paperback graphic novel by Dark Horse called The Rocketeer: Cliff's New York Adventure (ISBN 1-56971-092-9).

IDW Publishing announced a hardcover edition collecting the entire Rocketeer series for the first time, due originally in October 2009. Dave Steven's The Rocketeer, The Complete Adventures would contain all-new coloring by Laura Martin who was chosen by Dave Stevens before his untimely death.[7] The book finally appeared in December of that year in two separate states: a trade hardcover edition with full color dust jacket and a second, more lavish, deluxe hardcover edition (ISBN 978-1-60010-537-1) of 3000 copies. The deluxe edition sold out almost immediately upon publication, and IDW announced a second printing.

In 2011 IDW launched an all-new Rocketeer comic book series, illustrated by various artists, called Rocketeer Adventures; the series features four quarterly issues per year (the second series of four began appearing in May 2012). The four 2011 issues were then collected by IDW and published in hardcover as a graphic novel. All four issues in each series offers additional variant covers in shorter-run editions, some of them reprinting Stevens original Rocketeer cover art in both full color and just black and white.

A second IDW four-issue comics miniseries of Rocketeer adventures, Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom, began appearing in 2012. Each issue offered a regular retail cover design and one alternate Retailer Incentive cover. In addition publisher Jet Pack Comics issued several additional Retailer Incentive variants with Dave Stevens re-colored artwork reprinted on their covers. The miniseries was then collected into two variant graphic novel hardcovers, one offered with a regular dust jacket, the other without.

A third IDW four-issue comic book miniseries of Rocketeer adventures, Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror, began appearing in late February 2013. As with the previous series, each issue offered a regular retail cover design and one Retailer Incentive alternate cover. The miniseries was then collected into two variant graphic novel hardcovers, one with a regular dust jacket, the other without.

A fourth IDW Rocketeer comics miniseries, Rocketeer and The Spirit: Pulp Friction, began appearing in 2013, as another limited four-issue miniseries. As with the two previous miniseries, each issue offered a regular retail cover design and one Retailer Incentive alternate cover. A special San Diego Comic Con International promotional variant issue #1, with a black and white wraparound cover, was offered only at the 2013 convention. The miniseries was then collected into two variant graphic novel hardcovers, one with a regular dust jacket, the other without.

In September, 2014, IDW changed the Rocketeer's format and published a 376-page, 6x9 trade paperback The Rocketeer: Jet-Pack Adventures, an original anthology featuring ten short prose stories by Cody Goodfellow, Don Webb, Gregory Frost, J Bone, Lisa Morton, Nancy A. Collins, Nancy Holder, Nicholas Kaufmann, Robert Hood, Simon Kurt Unsworth, and Yvonne Navarro.

Other work

Stevens began developing a Rocketeer theatrical film proposal in 1985 and then sold the rights to his character to the Walt Disney Company, which then developed and produced the 1991 film The Rocketeer. The film was directed by Joe Johnston, and starred Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin and Timothy Dalton. Stevens was a hands-on co-producer of the film.[6] It received a mixture of highly positive and lukewarm reviews and disappointing domestic ticket sales, ensuring no immediate sequels would follow. Dave Stevens always felt that a majority of the problem was that the studio's movie poster and promotional graphics were over-stylized, vague, and didn't convey to people what the film was all about. After the Walt Disney Company purchased the Rocketeer character for film production, comics artist Russ Heath illustrated a promotional film tie-in graphic novel, The Rocketeer: The Official Movie Adaptation, based on their feature film.

Following The Rocketeer, Stevens worked primarily as an illustrator, doing a variety of ink and painted illustrations for book and comic book covers, posters, prints, portfolios, and private commissions, including a number of covers for Comico's Jonny Quest title and a series of eight covers for Eclipse comics, featuring characters such as Airboy and the DNAgents. The Eclipse covers were also published in the form of large posters.[8] Many of his illustrations were in the "good girl art" genre. He also returned to art school to study painting.

Before his death in 2008 from hairy cell leukemia, Stevens was working on a career retrospective collection of his work to be titled Brush with Passion – The Life and Art of Dave Stevens.[9] The book was published the same year as both a regular hardcover and as a deluxe slipcased hardcover edition, both from Underwood Books.

Personal life and death

In 1980 Stevens married longtime girlfriend Charlene Brinkman, later known as horror film scream queen Brinke Stevens; their marriage ended in divorce just six months later, but she later modeled for her ex-husband.[10]

Following several years of struggling with uncommon hairy cell leukemia, which caused a gradual reduction in his artistic output, Stevens died on March 11, 2008 in Turlock, California.[11][12][13][14]


Stevens' work has had a significant influence on comic book and fantasy illustrators,[6] among them Adam Hughes.[15]

Idealized image of Bettie Page from the October 1986 back cover of Glamour International

Artist Laura Molina, with whom Stevens had a romantic relationship in the late 1970s,[16] used him as the subject of her controversial Naked Dave series of paintings.[17]


"Dave had more artistic integrity than anyone I've ever known. He always marched to his own drummer whether it benefited him financially or not. He turned down many lucrative job offers—including a monthly pin-up assignment for Playboy offered by Hugh Hefner as a replacement for their regular Alberto Vargas feature—when they didn't jibe with his own highly personal vision of what he should be doing. As a businessman, Dave often drove his close friends nuts. We'd watch in astonishment at the riches passing him by." – William Stout[3]

"Dave was truly one of the nicest people I have ever met in my life... and was certainly among the most gifted. Our first encounter was at Jack Kirby's house around 1971 when he came to visit and show Jack some of his work. As I said, Kirby was very encouraging and he urged Dave not to try and draw like anyone else but to follow his own passions. This was advice Dave took to heart, which probably explains why he took so long with every drawing. They were rarely just jobs to Dave. Most of the time, what emerged from his drawing board or easel was a deeply personal effort. He was truly in love with every beautiful woman he drew, at least insofar as the paper versions were concerned." – Mark Evanier[2]

"Well, I do expect a lot of myself. I'm a harsh critic because I know what I'm capable of. I have hit those occasional peaks amongst the valleys, but the peaks are so few—things like genuine flashes of virtuoso brush inking, like I've never executed before or since—I can count on one hand the number of jobs where I've been able to hit that mark. The same with penciling. Sometimes it just flows, but more often than not, it's pure physical and spiritual torment just to get something decent on paper. I often get very discouraged with the whole creative process." – Dave Stevens[4]

Selected works

  • The Rocketeer, Eclipse books (1990). ISBN 1-56060-088-8
  • Just Teasing, Ursus Imprints (1991). ISBN 0-942681-12-6
  • The Rocketeer: Cliff's New York Adventure, Dark Horse (1997). ISBN 1-56971-092-9
  • Vamps and Vixens: The Seductive Art of Dave Stevens, Verotik (1998). ISBN 1-885730-10-1
  • Dave Stevens: Selected Sketches and Studies, (Vols. 1–4), Bulldog Studios. No ISBN
  • Brush with Passion: The Art and Life of Dave Stevens, Underwood Books (2008). ISBN 1-59929-010-3
  • Dave Steven's The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures, IDW Publishing (2010).


  1. ^ "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VS31-C4Q : accessed 04 Mar 2013), David Lee Stevens, 11 March 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d "Dave Stevens R.I.P." News from ME. Mark Evanier. 2008-03-11. Archived from the original on 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
  3. ^ a b c d Stout, William (March 11, 2008). "DAVE STEVENS 1955 - 2008". "Journal". The Worlds of William Stout. Archived 2008-08-20 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b c Comic Book Artist Magazine #15 – Dave Stevens Interview – TwoMorrows Publishing
  5. ^ About Dave Stevens – The Dave Stevens Web Site
  6. ^ a b c d The Comics Reporter
  7. ^ "IDW Resurrects The Rocketeer". IGN. February 28, 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
  8. ^ "Comics Warehouse Index of Eclipse Posters, Portfolios, and Miscellanea" Published 1995. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  9. ^ Spectrum Fantastic Art – http://www.spectrumfantasticart.com Archived 2008-03-14 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Brinke Stevens
  11. ^ "Dave Stevens 1955–2008". The Beat. Reed Elsevier. 2008-03-11. Archived from the original on 2012-07-13. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
  12. ^ Comic artist Dave Stevens dies – Created The Rocketeer, Daily Variety – Posted: Wed., Mar. 12, 2008, 2:57pm PT.
  13. ^ Rocketeer creator Stevens dead at 52 Archived 2008-04-05 at the Wayback MachineUPI – Published: March 31, 2008 at 9:52 PM.
  14. ^ "Dave Stevens, 52, Artist Who Created the Rocketeer, Dies" by George Gene GustinesThe New York Times, Published: March 30, 2008
  15. ^ Cooke, John B., "Adam Hughes bares all", Comic Book Artist #21 (Aug. 2002), p. 22-A.
  16. ^ Laura Molina: Not Just The World's Angriest Woman
  17. ^ Naked Dave

External links

1986 in comics

Notable events of 1986 in comics. See also List of years in comics.

2008 in comics

Notable events of 2008 in comics. See also List of years in comics.

Alien Worlds

Alien Worlds is an American science fiction anthology comic that was published by Pacific Comics and, later, Eclipse Comics, in the early 1980s. It was edited by Bruce Jones and April Campbell.

Brinke Stevens

Brinke Stevens (born Charlene Elizabeth Brinkman; September 20, 1954) is an American actress, model and writer.

Cooke Optics

Cooke Optics Ltd. is a camera lens manufacturing company based in Leicester.

Administratively speaking, Cooke Optics is a spin-off of the company Taylor-Hobson. However, Taylor-Hobson used to be a lens manufacturer and Cooke lenses used to be its sole activity before Taylor-Hobson moved to the market of metrology instruments. Hence the foundation of Cooke Optics can be regarded as the foundation of Taylor, Taylor and Hobson (TTH) in 1886, and Cooke Optics can be regarded as the successor of the original Taylor, Taylor and Hobson business.

The name Cooke originally came from the company T. Cooke & Sons of York, a manufacturer of telescopes. The optical manager of that company, H. Dennis Taylor (no relation), devised the Cooke triplet lens in the 1890s. Cooke of York was not interested in the manufacture of camera lenses, and licensed this design and others to TTH. Subsequently many of TTH's own designs, though unconnected with Cooke of York, also carried the Cooke brand. The Cooke triplet lens was also made under licence by Voigtländer and other companies.

Throughout the twentieth century TTH produced a series of innovations, and supplied lenses for the (once large) UK camera industry, for photolithography in the printing industry in the USA and UK, and for cinematography. It provided a succession of technical solutions for Hollywood's evolving needs.

Notable products include:

a soft-focus 'portrait' lens favoured by Clarence White and Alfred Stieglitz,

the Aviar aerial survey lens, designed in World War I when German lenses and optical glass became unavailable to the RAF.

the Series XV triple-convertible lens for 10×8 inch cameras, favoured by Ansel Adams and others (also see below),

the Opic and Speed Panchro large-aperture lenses, widely used by Hollywood,

the inverse telephoto (retrofocus) lens, created for use with the early Technicolor process, and now the standard design for wide-angle lenses in 35 mm and other small-format cameras,

high-quality zoom lenses for cinematography and television,

high quality lenses for cinema projectors.Bell & Howell took control of the company in 1930, but it was sold to Rank in 1946. In its later years, Taylor-Hobson's main interest was metrology, and it now operates as a subsidiary of Ametek.

In 1998, Cooke Optics was a new company formed following a buy-out of the Optical division of Taylor-Hobson. Chairman Les Zellan led the buy-out. Dave Stevens was then Managing Director of the Leicester-based facility and remained so until 2008 when Robert Howard replaced him as Chief Executive Officer.

The company now designs and manufactures 35 mm lenses for the film industry. In a reversion to its previous markets, it has also made limited quantities of the PS945, a redesigned Pinkham and Smith portrait lens, and the Series XVa, a redesigned triple-convertible lens for 10×8 inch format. The company distributes to over 60 countries worldwide and exports 90% of its production.

In 2013, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave the company an award of merit, saying it "helped define the look of motion pictures over the last century," with innovations over the years that have included zoom lenses for movie cameras and lenses that did not require bright lights. resulting in lenses that produce what is known in the industry as the "Cooke look" — warm, natural images on the screen.

Dave Stevens (athlete)

Dave Stevens (born January 12, 1966) is an athlete and a 7 time Emmy Award winning sports broadcasting professional. Stevens, a congenital amputee, is the only athlete ever to play college football or minor league baseball without legs.Stevens played minor league baseball for the St. Paul Saints in 1996. He was a college athlete at Augsburg College where he played varsity football, baseball and wrestled.While at Augsburg College, Stevens also traveled to Ireland, Australia and New Zealand to play football for team USA. He has been featured on "That's Incredible" (1981) CBS Morning News, The Today Show, Good Morning America, This Week in Baseball, Baseball Tonight, Extra, USA Today, That's Incredible Reunion (2002) Sports Illustrated, Baseball America, The National Enquirer, Star Magazine, People, ESPN's SportsCenter and hundreds of other news and sports periodicals. He also appears in 2 books about his career "Slouching Toward Fargo" by Neal Karlan and "Baseball Graffiti" by Ed Howsam.

At Wickenburg High School (Wickenburg, Arizona), 1980-1984, Stevens was a three-sport athlete playing football, baseball and wrestling. He set three Arizona state records: most takedowns in wrestling, most career baseball walks, and the season record for walks.He stands 3-foot 2-inches tall and runs using his hands. During his time with the Saints he was proficient at catching fly balls that landed within 25 feet of him. Marty Scott was the Saints manager when Stevens played, "He touched a place in my heart," Scott said. "He's limited physically, but it's not a handicap. I have admiration for what he's accomplished." Stevens is also one of the few players to ever Pinch Hit for Darryl Strawberry in his professional career. Stevens also started 1 game at 2nd base with the Saints.

Dave has tried out for the Dallas Cowboys, the Cincinnati Reds and the Minnesota Twins. He was also invited to the Olympic Baseball West Regional tryouts in 1983, playing in the outfield with former Major League players Barry Bonds and Oddibie McDowell. He has also worked out with the Tampa Rays and Minnesota Twins in Florida, taking batting and fielding practice, as well as throwing out the first pitch in 3 games.

Dave Stevens worked as the Assignment Desk Manager at ESPN then as the Coverage and Content editor. He worked at ESPN for 20 years. He has covered 11 Super Bowls, 3 World Series, 3 NCAA Final Fours, and various other historic sports events. He's a father of three boys and is a motivational speaker. Prior to ESPN he worked at KSTP-TV in Minneapolis.

He currently works at FiOS1 News in Rye Brook, NY

He also co-hosts a Celebrity Amputee Golf tournament yearly in the Orlando area that recently celebrated its 10th year.

In 2012 Wickenburg High School renamed their Most Valuable Player award to the "Dave Stevens Hustle Award" in honor of his amazing career at the High School in the 1980s.

In November 2013, Stevens joined the WWAFT Amputee Football Team www.wwaft.org as a Quarterback and Defensive Lineman. He continues to tour with the team as they take on NFL alumni and raise awareness for our wounded military heroes. Stevens has played in 12 games with the WWAFT team and they are 12-0 vs NFL Competition.

In 2016 Stevens started working with Author John Regan on his autobiography.

Stevens is also a highly sought after professional motivational speaker. www.davesimpossibledream.com and now works for the Dave Clark Foundation.

Dave Stevens (baseball)

David James Stevens (born March 4, 1970) is an American former Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Minnesota Twins (1994-1997), Chicago Cubs (1998), Cleveland Indians (1999), and Atlanta Braves (2000).

David Stevens

David or Dave Stevens may refer to:

David Stevens, Baron Stevens of Ludgate (born 1936), Conservative Independent peer in the House of Lords

David Stevens (businessman) (born 1962), British businessman, CEO-designate of Admiral Group

David Stevens, vocalist for the band We Came as Romans

Dave Stevens (1955–2008), illustrator

Dave Stevens (baseball) (born 1970), American baseball player

Dave Stevens (athlete) (born 1966), athlete and sports broadcaster

David Stevens (screenwriter) (1940–2018), Australian Academy-award nominated screenwriter for Breaker Morant

David Stevens (politician), American politician, Member of the Arizona House of Representatives

Galactic Girl

Galactic Girl may refer to:

An erotic science-fiction novel (1980) by Fiona Richmond

The nose art of Virgin Galactic's mothership VMS Eve

G-GALX, the private business jet of Richard Branson

Based on comic stories by Elaine Lee and Michael Kaluta, first published in Dave Stevens Rocketeer Adventure Magazine and most recently collected in the Starstruck Deluxe Edition, The Adventures of the Galactic Girl Guides feature characters that the creators describe as “little con-artist girl scouts in space.”

Kirby Award

The Jack Kirby Comics Industry Award was an award for achievement in comic books, presented from 1985-1987. Voted on by comic-book professionals, the Kirby was the first such award since the Shazam Awards ceased in 1975. Sponsored by Amazing Heroes magazine (which was published by Fantagraphics), and managed by Amazing Heroes managing editor Dave Olbrich, the Kirby Award was named after the pioneering writer and artist Jack Kirby.

Naked Dave

Naked Dave (The Naked Dave Project) refers to a series of paintings created by Laura Molina, inspired by her relationship with the late illustrator and Rocketeer creator, Dave Stevens (1955-2008). A five-month-long relationship between the artists ended in early December, 1978 after she miscarried their child at eleven weeks. Molina started the series in 1993 after an attempted reconciliation initiated by Stevens failed to settle things between them.Stevens protested the use of his likeness, but Molina argued that she was protected from legal ramifications citing Polydoros v. Twentieth Century Fox Film (67 Cal. App.4th 318, 1997) in which Michael Polydoros contended that David Mickey Evans, the writer-director of the movie The Sandlot had violated his privacy by including a character based on him. The courts ruled in favor of Twentieth Century Fox, stating the film was protected free speech.

Noel Van Horn

Noel Van Horn (born July 6, 1968) is a cartoonist born in the United States and living in Canada. He does mainly Disney comics starring Mickey Mouse. He is the son of William Van Horn, a comics artist as well.

Pacific Comics

Pacific Comics (PC) was an independent comic book publisher that flourished from 1981–1984. It was also a chain of comics shops and a distributor. It began out of a San Diego, California, comic book shop owned by brothers Bill and Steve Schanes. Along with competitors like First Comics and Eclipse Comics, PC took early advantage of the growing direct market, attracting a number of writers and artists from DC and Marvel to produce creator-owned titles, which were not subject to the Comics Code, and thus were free to feature more mature content.

Paul De Meo

Paul James De Meo (June 4, 1953 – February 26, 2018) was an American screenwriter and producer for film, television and video games. He frequently worked with Danny Bilson. Together, they wrote The Rocketeer (1991), the video game James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing (2003), the television series Viper (1994, 1996), The Sentinel (1996), and both the television and comic book series of The Flash (1990).

He had written two comics based on the Red Faction series: Armegeddon and Red Faction: Guerrilla: A Fire On Mars produced by Wildstorm Comics.


The Rocketeer is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books originally published by Pacific Comics. Created by writer/artist Dave Stevens, the character first appeared in 1982 and is a homage to the Saturday matinee serial heroes from the 1930s through the 1950s.The Rocketeer's secret identity is Cliff Secord, a stunt pilot who discovers a mysterious jetpack that allows him to fly. His adventures are set in Los Angeles and New York in 1938, and Stevens gave them a retro, nostalgic feel influenced by the King of the Rocket Men and Commando Cody movie serials (both from Republic Pictures), and pinup diva Bettie Page.The character was adapted into the 1991 Walt Disney Pictures film The Rocketeer by director Joe Johnston.

Terry McGovern (actor)

Terence Sean "Terry" McGovern (born May 11, 1942) is an American actor, voice actor, television broadcaster, radio personality and acting instructor. He was elected into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame as a member of its Class of 2008.

The Cascades (band)

The Cascades was an American vocal group best known for the single "Rhythm of the Rain", recorded in 1962, an international hit the following year.

The Rocketeer (film)

The Rocketeer is a 1991 American period superhero film from Walt Disney Pictures, produced by Charles Gordon, Lawrence Gordon, and Lloyd Levin, directed by Joe Johnston, that stars Bill Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton, Paul Sorvino, and Tiny Ron Taylor. The film is based upon the character of the same name created by comic book artist and writer Dave Stevens.

Set in 1938 Los Angeles, California, The Rocketeer tells the story of stunt pilot Cliff Secord who stumbles upon a hidden rocket powered jet pack that he thereafter uses to fly without the need of an aircraft. His heroic deeds soon attract the attention of Howard Hughes and the FBI, who are hunting for the missing jet pack, as well as the Nazi operatives that stole it from Hughes.

Development for The Rocketeer started as far back as 1983, when Stevens sold the film rights. Steve Miner and William Dear considered directing The Rocketeer before Johnston signed on. Screenwriters Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo had creative differences with Disney, which caused the film to languish in development hell. The studio also intended to change the trademark helmet design; Disney CEO Michael Eisner wanted a straight NASA-type helmet, but Johnston convinced the studio otherwise. Johnston also had to convince Disney to let him cast unknown actor Billy Campbell in the lead role. Filming for The Rocketeer lasted from September 19, 1990 to January 22, 1991. The visual effects sequences were created and designed by Industrial Light & Magic, and were supervised by animation director Wes Takahashi.

The film was released on June 21, 1991, and received mixed-to-positive reviews from critics. Plans for Rocketeer sequels were abandoned after the film was a disappointment at the box office, grossing only $46 million on a $35 million budget.

William Stout

William Stout (born September 18, 1949) is an American fantasy artist and illustrator with a specialization in paleontological art. His paintings have been shown in over seventy exhibitions, including twelve one-man shows. He has worked on over thirty feature films, doing everything from storyboard art to production design. He has designed theme parks and has worked in radio with the Firesign Theatre.

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