Rick Remender’s Rocket Racer Pitch

I don’t have a lot of information about this beyond than what I’ve gleaned through Google searches over the years, but I’m still gonna be able to wring a post from it. It seems that around 2005, writer Rick Remender and artist Tony Moore sold Marvel on a pitch for a Rocket Racer series. This is, as far as I am aware, the closest that Bob has ever come to having his own book. As someone who wants so badly to someday write a Rocket Racer book someday, I am required to learn more and to opine, even if that series never actually came to be.

The most informative things I’ve found so far are the image to the right (the original source of which can be reached by clicking it) and the following paragraph of Remender’s thoughts (which comes from this interview.

“Because for me, at the time when I was reading comics in the mid-80s, the only skateboarding character was Rocket Racer and he was still on a banana board and he was like a Fat Albert caricature with a big ol’ headset. I remember thinking that he was created by a bunch of old men that don’t understand anything. Rocket Racer should be cool and speak to the scene. In fact, Khary Randolph and Tony Moore and I, that was the first thing we tried to get through at Marvel in like 2005. To redo Rocket Racer and make him a legitimate skate punk.”

Clearly Remender saw Bob as a representative of “skate punk” culture and was sad that he was such a loser. He wanted Rocket Racer to be “cool”. I can understand wanting that (although realistically I see Bob as a representative of “losers” everywhere and value that), though I think it depends on what counts as “cool”. I’ve said before that I think Bob got into his Rocket Racer career as a form of lashing out against the rich, and I also think that the reason he’s had trouble staying on the so-called “hero” side of things is because he craves something more groundbreaking than the standard superhero protection of the status quo. Bob is, I agree with this pitch, quite punk. But you can be punk without being cool.

But then there’s the image, which shows the kind of “cool” they’re going for. Completely black and white? What is that? Is this like when video games have to be grey and brown because any colour is “childish” kids stuff? I’ve found that attitude to be most common in people who seem to me desperate to be seen as “grown ups” and I find that the most childish of attitudes. In some other interview I found, Remender likened his take on Bob to the lead singer of the Bad Brains and, I’ve gotta say, the Bad Brains album cover with which I was most familiar was their 1996 one shown on this page and that thing is exactly the kind of bright yellow and red I expect in a Rocket Racer design. I simply can not get behind the kind of thinking that says bright colours are bad. The helmet and protective gear looking more “realistic” or grounded I could probably accept, although personally I prefer my Rocket Racer to be nearing cyberpunk in his style. But a lack of colour is unacceptable. Also, the image suggests that Bob would be working with Tony Stark and that’s not punk. That guy is The Man and if anything Bob should be railing against him (though admittedly I’m not sure Bob realizes that yet).

So, what if this series had actually been made? Would I have read it? Hell yes. This would’ve been right after the Zeb Wells stories where Bob got out of jail and was flirting with villainy but still wanted to be good. T’was an ideal time for him to go fully punk. 2005 was also well before I realized that I think Bob should be Asexual, so even though the series probably wouldn’t have done that, I wouldn’t have cared yet. And maybe if it had happened we’d have a Rocket Racer who appeared more than one panel at a time these days. Or, equally possible, maybe we’d have had a Rocket Racer who got killed in Civil War instead of Bill Foster. We’ll never know.

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