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The Rocketeer (IDW): Dave Stevens struck gold when he created the helmeted aviation-inspired hero the Rocketeer. But after the artist’s death, fans worried we’d never see a new story of the Rocketeer and his alter-ego, stunt pilot Cliff Secord. But IDW Publishing and Scott Dunbier worked with the Stevens family and some of comics greats to produce two hit anthology series and are now doing series of miniseries featuring the likes of Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, Roger Langridge and J. Bone. Channeling the pulpy goodness of Stevens’ run, these standalone stories are unburdened by concerns about the next crossover or some impending movie, but instead focus doing great comics for the sake of great comics.
Savage Dragon (Image): Erik Larsen’s childhood hero the Savage Dragon has become comics longest-running superhero series without a major creator shift or renumbering, but all that is marketing hoo-ha because the story inside is great — no matter what number is on the cover. Despite his alien-looking appearance, Larsen’s creation is a real blue-collar hero who gets mixed up in all manner of adventures ranging from subterranean sewer fights to space-based battles that gets those Kirby dots crackling. By truly taking advantage of the near-limitless story potential comics can afford, Larsen’s used his drawing hand and his storytelling mind to really create an unadulterated fun read month in and month out.