ComicsAlliance: J, it’s obvious from that short in Rocketeer Adventures 2 that you have a blast drawing Cliff and Betty together. Do you see The Rocketeer primarily as a love story, as opposed to simply an adventure character?
J. Bone: I have to confess, my one frustration with Cliff and Betty is that they fight an awful lot. If I were a relationship counselor I would not recommend they get married. There’s far too much jealousy and punching going on between them.
That said, I think fun adventure stories of the ’30s need that clichéd Damsel in Distress. What’s great about Rocketeer stories and Betty, being characters of yesteryear written and drawn by creators of this-a-year, is that the Damsel often overcomes her own distress and helps, or rescues, the Hero. Betty has always been a strong character, shown to not only take care of herself but Cliff as well.
CA: What about you, Roger?
Roger Langridge: Well, it’s both, isn’t it? The romantic angle is as much a part of the alchemy as the pulp adventure tropes. My feeling is that you need the emotional heft of Cliff and Betty’s relationship for the adventures to add up to anything meaningful, and you need the jeopardy of the adventure sequences to give the emotional content the required urgency. They feed off one another. Conceptually, the strip is a beautifully calibrated piece of machinery.