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The Rocketeer 20th Anniversary

Rocketeer Commemorative Print Image

Today is the 20th Anniversary of the premiere of Dave Stevens’ film version of The Rocketeer.

The Walt Disney Company is putting on a huge celebration at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood, the site of the original premiere. Taylor White of Creature Features spearheaded this entire effort to recognize Dave, his beloved hero and the film that ultimately resulted from Dave’s hard work.

This brings back a lot of memories, as my wife and I were with Dave at the premiere.

I will be part of a Q & A that will include the film’s great director, Joe Johnston, as well as actor Bill Campbell, my friend and Oscar winning make-up designer Rick Baker and screenwriters Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo.

Here’s a link to an article about the event:

(I’m sure there’s lots more stuff out there on this on the net)

I look forward to seeing lots of Dave’s fans tonight. I drew up the above image for a commemorative print that will be sold at the event this evening. That’s our hero and his gal atop the roof of the Graumann’s Chinese Theatre.

Obviously, for me and Dave’s friends and family, tonight’s celebration will be bittersweet, as the person we would all most love to have attending tonight is Dave. Hopefully, he’ll be there with us all in spirit, bashfully laughing at our over-the-top enthusiasm for the amazing stories and ravishing art of his that led to tonight’s cinematic celebration.

10 thoughts on “The Rocketeer 20th Anniversary

  1. Bill: Wow! Your Rocketeer illustration is quite striking. I envy all of you who will get to attend this fantastic event. Will you have any of these prints available on your site at a later date? I’ve been a huge fan of the character since he first appeared in Pacific’s Starslayer comic. Over the years, I eagerly followed

  2. Bill: Wow, I hit the wrong button and closed before I was through. Sorry about that….Over the years, I eagerly followed Dave as he moved through various publishers relating the story of his iconic creation. The wonderful sense of style, design, and period was always very special. When the movie was announced, I was thrilled. To this day, I find it to be the most faithful adaptation of a graphic story put on film. You can really see the love that Dave, Danny, Paul, and Joe put into the project. It is a true shame that Disney did not realize what they had with this beautiful property. For me, It is still hard to believe that Dave is gone. I still recall my shock when I stumbled across his obituary in the USA Today. A great artist from our generation who is gone too soon. Have a great time tonight celebrating his creation. I’m sure he will be with you in spirit. Best….Jim

  3. Bill- I sent one of the early fan letters for the Rocketeer when it was in Starslayer. I was later sent a wonderful hand printed Rocketeer postcard from Dave that I still have to this day. I’m sure he’ll be soaring over the theatre, with a highly combustable piece of hardware strapped to his back, buzzing everybody just for fun. Have fun- Jim B.

  4. Wow…. Jim Latimer called it. That is a very striking piece! Great work, Bill.

  5. A wonderful tribute to Dave……looks like an actual comic cover!

    Sounds like a great event as well.


  6. Thanks, guys! There are several funny coincidences with this piece. Until I watched the movie again last night, I had forgotten about The Rocketeer’s cruising over Graumann’s Chinese Theater, the “Hollywooodland” sign gag, the Nazi zeppelin and the zeppelin’s hanging ladder. My subconscious must have been working over time!

    “Bettie” was originally intended to look like Dave’s beloved Bettie Page but ended up looking like a combination of Bettie Page, Jennifer Connelly and Dave’s model for Bettie, my friend Rebecka Haaland.

    I was told by the writer last night that The Rocketeer flying over Graumann’s was inspired by the Rocketeer pin-up I had done for Dave’s comic. I love it!

    I’ll post the prints in my online shop ASAP (I’m on a film right now). I’ll have them, of course, at Comic-Con.

  7. Bill I loved getting to see the movie sitting there with everyone it was such a treat! Thanks again and thank you so much for letting me see this beautiful piece I love it and I’m honored to be even the slightest part of such a wonderful tribute to one of the most amazing men I’ve ever known.

    It was so special to sit in the theater he sat in on opening night and watch it with all our friends and fans. I felt him laughing at us in all our “geeky” glory and loving every minute of it. I could hear every comment he would have made rolling through my mind and I loved every second of it. You were right there was a lot of love in that room last night, LOTS and it was magic!! See you soon and again thank you, thank you, thank you!

  8. My pleasure, Rebecka. I felt that you, more than almost anyone, just had to be there! I’m happy I was able to facilitate that.

  9. This print — as well as my new ZOMBIES! calendar — is now available on my website’s Bazaar (my site’s online shop).

  10. I’ve emailed Disney 3 times as to why this wonderful film isn’t out on Blu Ray yet. The movie was never even given a proper DVD release, the original transfer is a laser disc cut and an insult to fans. I was dying to hear “big” news from the recent celebration/screening but I couldn’t believe what I actually heard… that Disney had nothing in the works for a blu-ray version. This is in the same room where they’re celebrating the movie AND screening a new fresh print for all on hand to see. Disney’s foolishness truly knows no bounds. A DEEPLY disappointed Rocketeer fan here.

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