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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #42

Forty-two! The ultimate answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything! Will the question be revealed within? Or will it just be a profile of a really cool character that some people think isn’t so cool? You’ll have to find out, dear reader!

2/11/07

42. Rocket Racer

Rocket Racer 1.jpg

Rocket Racer is so ragged on, I’d figured he’d had way more appearances. He was in the cartoon, man! But no, the Racer hasn’t got that many issues to his credit. Damn shame, though– he’s cooler than the Green Goblin. I mean it.

Robbie Farrell was a science whiz-turned-supercriminal, like a lot of good Spidey baddies. I guess skateboarding was the hep new thing for all the cats at the time, so Len Wein had him built a super-skateboard. Thus was born a legend!

Rocket Racer 2.jpg

He’s got a goofy gimmick, a gaudy costume, and his most well-known story involves the Big Wheel (who is also awesome, but commonly thought of as really, really lame). Hence, the readers file him away in the back of their brains in the same space reserved for guys like Kite-Man and the Hypno Hustler. Me, I love all those guys.

Rocket Racer eventually reformed and started helping Spidey out, occasionally meting out vigilante justice. There was a team of reformed Spider-baddies called the Outlaws. We had the Racer, Prowler, Puma,  and Sandman. They should bring them back, only replacing the Sandman with the Steel Spider. Then, I would love them forever.

Rocket Racer 3.jpg

Look at that. Beautiful.

There’s no reason that one cannot make Rocket Racer interesting. Accept the inherent goofiness of the character and make him cool regardless. It’s the same thing I’ve been saying for most of the characters who have shown up in this column who are massively unpopular. Being silly isn’t a bad thing; use it to an advantage. Let’s have the Rocket Racer running an inner-city science program and kicking butt on the side in his silly costume that the kids would love. He can skate up walls! How is it not great to be the Rocket Racer?

Rocket Racer 4.jpg

It’s funny, because that cover makes it look like Spidey’s fighting for the skinheads.

I heard Sean McKeever brought the Racer back in Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane. And that, my friends, is awesome. We need more Sean McKeevers in this world. Otherwise, we’re just going to get a story about Rocket Racer raping the Walrus and getting some horrifying venereal disease. No one wants that.

11 Comments

Dude, I love this series, and I love the fact that you embrace comics so much, right down to it’s goofiest nature. on the one hand, no, comics aren’t “just for kids” but by the same token, neither do they have to be so damn serious all of the time. So much of what is “goofy” or “hokey” or “lame” in comics is really just exuberant creativity. Keep on keepin’ on, stud!

well hypno-hustler was in REIGN…

Huh, I read Spidey Loves MJ, and I don’t remember Rocket Racer making an appearance. Maybe it was in an offhand comment, like Spidey saying, “I fought this weird Rocket Racer guy today.”

As for the Big Wheel, I haven’t read that comic, but that thing seems really familiar. Was it in the 90′s Spider-Man cartoon?

Everybody knows that the Incredible Frog-man is much more Rocket Racer’s type!

Flush it all away

February 12, 2007 at 6:03 pm

Thanks to Scourge, Marvel missed out on what would’ve been the greatest battle of all-time: Rocket Racer vs. Blue Streak. Skateboard vs. roller-skates…to the death!

From what I’ve gathered from the miniscule previews, Rocket Racer will be a member of the M.O.D.O.K. ELEVEN, a team of D-List supervillains, who’ll wreck the Marvel Universe because… uhm.. oh, the hell with it! It’s got Big Wheel, Rocket Racer, Armadillo and the (motherlovin’) Spot (!!), all rolled into one comic book! You don’t need an extra reason to buy something like that, and on the off chance that you do, well, Fred van Lente (of Action Philosophers! fame) writes it, so there you go.

Big Wheel was late 70′s, not a good time for Spidey fans…

I never got into Rocket Racer…

The Kirbydotter

March 10, 2007 at 1:53 pm

I had stop reading Spider-Man by the time Rocket Racer but he looks like a fun character.

I hope you won’t forget two of my favorite black characters that appeared in Spidey: Robbie Robbertson et the Prowler!

I don’t like rocket racer, he’s way too serious for such a lame character. On the other hand I really liked Frog man, and that Alice white rabbit girl! And.. the SPOT I think his power is cool

The Big Wheel seemed to be an absurd knock-off of the (Blackhawks) WarWheel; that was NOT a great period for Spidey stories.

If I remember correctly, they made a new version of Rocket Racer for the Spiderman MTV cartoon, complete with a new name. He was probably the best villain on that show.

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