First, and most importantly, Alan Horn is actively developing The Rocketeer for a return to screens. This is great news both for fans of the character, who IDW has been bringing back into the public eye, and for people who like good movies. If the original movie had been slightly less slapsticky, and hadn’t had some terrible timing (it came out within a week or two of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, City Slickers, AND Dying Young), it probably would have been a hit.
So that’s great, and I was happy to read Vulture’s exclusive on the topic until I came across this:
…its similarity to the current Disney-Marvel cash cow Iron Man is more than a little striking…
The entire article is a bizarre attempt to set up some sort of competition between the Iron Man franchise and The Rocketeer by arguing that they’re the exact same concept. Because, uh, they both fly. With rockets.
In it, a racing pilot named Cliff Secord discovers a rocket-pack prototype in his stunt plane, hidden there by the gangsters who stole it from Howard Hughes; Secord tries it out, and, like Tony Stark, quickly discovers that a) flying without a plane is SO cool, and b) you gotta fight the bad guys and save the girl.
I’ll definitely grant Vulture that the hero’s journey is a well worn plot, but the devil is in the details. The Rocketeer is inspired much more by pulp heroes and ’40s adventure serials. It’s almost certainly going to be a period piece. Cliff is a cocky jerk, certainly, but he’s not a gadgeteer genius and he’s not trying to save the world or redeem himself. He just wants to make a few bucks, impress his girl, and is often either a reluctant hero or one doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. Tony Stark, well, we’ve all read the comics, seen the movie, and bought the t-shirt. They also seem convinced that obscure publisher Pacific Comics got the shaft from Marvel somehow
It’s a very weird attempt to pick a fight where none exists. Marvel never thought the Rocketeer was a rip-off of Iron Man and certainly Dave Stevens was never bitter about Marvel.
But, hey, at least there’s more Rocketeer coming.
image courtesy Francesco Francavilla