Rockit Man

Ever have a guilty pleasure? Actually, I have quite a few, and one of them is reading the comic strip Brewster Rockit.

There is no reason to like this comic strip. Yes, there is no reason at all, except it appeals to those of us with a juvenile sense of humor, which I must have acquired somewhere in my life and never succeeded in shedding in adulthood. So I am coming out of the closet. I may try to be witty and sophisticated on this blog, but I still am a fan of grade school humor. Truly, this is a comic for the barely prepubescent, and yet I still like it. In fact, in getting my daily Brewster Rockit fix, I often laugh aloud, sometimes with tears running down my face.

Why do I like Brewster Rockit? Probably for the same reason I enjoyed Looney Tunes and Bullwinkle when I was a kid. I did not have to think too much to laugh at it. I never have to worry about whether the “plot” makes sense or not. It never will. Take today’s “plot”. Brewster Rocket, the titular commander of the R. U. Sirius space station, has been on humanitarian mission to rescue The Doughnut People. These walking, talking sugary snacks are apparently marooned on some planet and have begun to cannibalize each other. I tell you, humor rarely gets more sophomoric than one donut taking a bite out of each other. This humor is so middle school that I should not laugh at it at all. Yet I do. Frequently.

Things never make much sense on the space station R. U. Sirius. Trying to make sense of the strip is ultimately self-defeating, but the frame of the story (such as it is) is that the R. U. Sirius orbits the earth both to welcome aliens (presumably the friendly kind) and guard the earth from evil aliens, all while keeping us on the earth ignorant of all the aliens out there. Putting the empty-headed Brewster Rockit in charge of this space station is like electing George W. Bush to be President of the United States, in other words, not a good idea, but sort of fun seeing the village idiot trying to manage an impossible job.

Not to worry too much though, because there are signs of intelligence on the space station. It comes complete with an evil mad scientist Dr. Mel Practice, whose sadism seems unbounded. Perhaps not coincidentally, he looks a lot like Dick Cheney. The only sane person on the station seems to be Lieutenant Pamela Mae Snap. Her job seems to be to correct Brewster before he accidentally does something disastrously wrong, which turns out to be a full time job for the curvaceous Pam. Not that Brewster is capable of deliberately doing anything bad. He is always empty-headed and jovial and is usually capable of putting one foot in front of the other. I picture him a lot like Arnold Schwarzenegger, only without the Austrian accent. Apparently, he used to have a real brain, but all those alien abductions took their toll. He now lives in his own special Twilight Zone.

Cliff Clewless, the station’s engineer, is sort of like Montgomery Scott had he flunked out of engineering school. Although he sports a large belly, he thinks he has a way with women, despite the omnipresent sunglasses and sports cap. The station even comes complete with children. Mostly we see Winky, a young boy who is regularly about to be devoured by some alien experiment concocted by Dr. Mel. About once a month or so, you know some alien or monster will try to slice into the boy, and he will yell, “Ahhh!! My spleen!!!”

There are a number of other lesser-seen ancillary characters. These include Dirk Raider (a sort of medieval Darth Vader), Bucky the Robot (just a bucket on a coat rack), a PAL 9000 computer (that must be built on the same circuitry as HAL), Oldbot (a robot who has seen better days and destined for the scrap heap) and Ensign Kenny (whose job is to be the station’s red shirt and die repeatedly in evil ways).

The artist and creator Tim Rickard draws heavily on old and not so old science fiction comics, movies and TV shows, as well as, I suspect the Rocky & Bullwinkle Show. Bullwinkle and Brewster have almost identical intelligence levels and seem capable of saying funny things, which they have no idea sound funny. Like in Star Wars and Star Trek, Brewster’s spacecraft seems unaffected by distance and relativity. He can be on the planet of doughnut people one day and back on the R. U. Sirius the next. Brewster Rockit is simply out for cheap pedestrian laughs, the cheaper and more inane the better.

I feel better now that I have confessed my sin. I guess I am more human than I thought. Whether Brewster is still with the doughnut people tomorrow or not, I know I will be reading the strip and probably chuckling, particularly when Winky is caught by another evil experiment of Dr. Mel’s, and is yelling about his punctured spleen.

If this keeps up, I will be chuckling at The Family Circus next. If I do, please kill me.

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