Sunday, April 10, 2011
Rocketman's two careers
Zip-Jet was a short-lived, two-issue series published by St. John in 1953. Zip-Jet was "Tech" Carson, who had invented the Zip-Jet rocket engine, hence his name. But in his original incarnation he was Rocketman, featured in mid-1940s issues of Punch Comics, a Harry "A" Chesler publication. He wasn't a scientist in those days, but a lawyer named Cal Martin. In the earlier version his partner, Rocketgirl, was his secretary.
The Rocketman stories appeared in the mid-'40s. The Grand Comics Database doesn't know for sure, but attributes the pencil artwork to Al Plastino-with-a-question-mark.
What's interesting to me about the whole thing is that when published by St. John the stories were re-written. I've scanned two versions of the same story: the Rocketman story is from Punch Comics #14, 1946, and the Zip-Jet version from Zip-Jet #1, 1953. You can see the differences for yourself, and maybe you'll agree the newer version is better. It makes more sense to me to have a rocket engine invented by a scientist rather than a lawyer, for instance.
The third story I've scanned is from Zip-Jet #2. I don't have the Rocketman version of the story. To add to the general confusion, "The Fantastic Brain Destroyers" was featured on the cover of Zip-Jet #1, but not published until the next issue.