Rocketman and Rocketgirl debuted in Scoop Comics #1 (Harry A. Chesler Comics, November 1941) and enjoyed a fairly healthy career as B-List heroes for a B-List publisher.
However, as fans of The Rocketeer well know, super-heroes sporting jet packs never truly go out of fashion. In the early ‘50s, St. John Publications – a publishing house known for just about everything but super-hero comics - repackaged Chesler’s Rocketman stories as the adventures of “Zip-Jet,” supersonic enemy of evil.
The heroes’ costumes were recolored yellow and the stories were re-written to provide more clarity than the hastily produced originals.
Unfortunately, St. John’s stab at the super-hero market wasn’t successful. Zip-Jet only lasted two issues.
(However, Rocketman and Rocketgirl – this time re-named Jet Girl – did find new life decades later under the AC Comics umbrella. AC head honcho Bill Black has never met a public domain character he didn’t like.)
For the sake of comparison, here is one of Rocketman’s Chesler adventures followed by the St. John Zip-Jet version. Personally, I consider the original “Rocketman” and “Rocketgirl” monikers far superior to “Zip-Jet” and “Pat.”
The rewritten stories and recolored costumes published by St. John are admittedly much snappier, though.
Decide for yourself!
From Punch Comics #11 (Harry A. Chesler Comics, November 1944), here’s an untitled Rocketman adventure drawn by Ruben Moreira.
And now, from Zip-Jet #1 (St. John Publications, February 1953), here’s “Death Stalks The Show.”