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!
42. Rocket Racer
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!
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,Â and Sandman. They should bring them back, only replacing the Sandman with the Steel Spider. Then, I would love them forever.
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?
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.