Characters Appearing: Ernie Sluganski, Rocket Racer
Marvel Tales #250
Issue(s): Marvel Tales #250
That said, no matter where the story was published, it would have been hard to escape the "silly" label. No one comes out looking good fighting an out of control robot janitor.
You're right, Rocket Racer. It is bad.
Rocket's attempt to show off his scientific genius doesn't work out in his favor, either.
I doubt many responded positively to that "Want More...?" box.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: This should take place before Rocket Racer's solo story in Web of Spider-Man annual #7, when Rocket Racer gains the respect of Ernie Sluganski and is effectively promoted (Racer describes himself as an "entry level" employee of Sable International in this issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I hate Rocket Racer... for his costume. That yellow shirt collar is so ugly...
Aside from that, what's so silly about this guy? Night Trasher used a skateboard, too...
Also, I think that the 90s Spider-Man cartoon (which I'm not a fan of) actually made Rocket Racer (as well as Big Wheel!) work.
Posted by: Piotr W | October 18, 2015 5:32 PM
The robot seems to be modelled after the Living Brain from AMAZING SPIDER MAN #8. The arm waving bit at the end is a riff on its attack method.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | October 18, 2015 7:57 PM
I never thought of Rocket Racer as a silly character partially because of the Spider-man annual where he beats Speed Demon in a back-up story being one of my earliest comics.
Objectively speaking he's certainly not A-list, but his skateboard gimmick is no dumber than the Silver Surfer with his magic space surfboard and nowhere near as goofy as the Black Racer and his skis.
Posted by: Red Comet | October 18, 2015 11:28 PM
Before you defend Rocket Racer as not being silly and compare him to the Silver Surfer, tell me what are Rocket Racer's powers? What sets him apart from other heroes? He has a fast skateboard?
Posted by: Mark Black | October 19, 2015 12:00 AM
I never said Rocket Racer was a particularly special character. My point was, and remains, that a super-hero with a skateboard gimmick is not inherently stupider than one with a surfboard gimmick.
Posted by: Red Comet | October 19, 2015 9:56 AM
@Red Comet Sure, agreed, but a super-hero with no other powers or skills other than having a fast skateboard is inherently stupid (to me). Silver Surfer has more going on than just his surfboard. It's not so much the gimmick that makes me think Rocket Racer kind of sucks, but that he only has that gimmick going for him.
Posted by: Mark Black | October 19, 2015 10:55 AM
I think the difference between the Silver Surfer and Rocket Racer is just the means and the context and such. SS was created by Kirby and created as this majestic "relatable" (well moreso than the immense planet eater but still alien in concept) herald to bring about the arrival of the massive being that is the equivalent of a god. The surfing gimmick was weird but it worked considering he basically surfed the cosmos. Rocket Racer was just some street-level kid who uses a rocket-powered skateboard and more or less meant to appeal to the street-level and maybe add another to the growing African-American hero pool, even if it was due to his gimmick and the pedestrian nature (plus the utter goofiness in the way he's presented) that ended up making him appear "ridiculous".
I guess simply put: a good writer is what defines whether a concept is merely a gimmick or something more. Lee and Kirby made the Surfer work. Rocket Racer never really left behind being a goofy concept even though other writers tried to boost him up further. (though at least he was being presented as a positive role model at a time where fnord was criticizing more WASPy heroes were emerging...but then again you could say the same thing about Night Thrasher)
Posted by: Ataru320 | October 19, 2015 10:55 AM
The Silver Surfer didn't have an actual "surfboard". It was some kind of energy platform that allowed interstellar flight that only appeared similar to an Earth surfboard. It wasn't like Norrin Radd showed up to Galactus's home carrying a surfboard and was magically transformed with him.
Visually it's a gimmick, but the character is on an entirely different nature than Rocket Racer (or the the Black Racer).
There is really only so much that can be done with the concept. However, these kind of short stories are certainly not the way to build what little source material there is. These are all pedestrian stories that could be done with any number of characters.
Posted by: Chris | October 19, 2015 11:08 AM
Sorry, but I fricking love the idea of Norrid Radd showing up at Galactus' home with his favourite surfboard:-)
"Dude, don't forget my board. Hang ten!"
Posted by: kveto | October 19, 2015 3:49 PM
Comments are now closed.
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