Sunday, April 10, 2011

Number 927

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.


Jeff Overturf said...

Thanks for this, Pappy. Interesting the way properties were handled back in the day, and at least in this case, for the better. Ret-Conning is nothing new it seems.

Chuck Wells said...

Dang! Scrolling down the page to see "The Fantastic Brain Destroyers" splash, instantly made me drop everything and read these gems.

rnigma said...

Yeah, the title of that last story describes a lot of these old stories: "Fantastic Brain Destroyers!"

And our friends at Stupid Comics have a recycled romance comic - where one character changes from white to black.


I think "Fantastic Brain Destroyers" is gonna be the new name for my band!
(or just the nickname for my ex-wives)

Cool stuff, Pappy, old bean!