“You’ve gotta envy the stars–Because they get to be in the sky.” Duster Haywood Jr.

Most superheroes have humble beginnings. Superman had Smallville. Spiderman had high school. Batman had…ugh…No, he was always rich, wasn’t he? And Wonder Woman was always an Amazon. Well, SKY COMMANDER got his start at a kitchen table and after hours in the machine shop of an Auto Body Repair Shop by Harlem inventor Dustin “Duster” Haywood Jr. and his invention–The Rocket Pack.

As a sickly child, bedridden after being stricken with a severe bout of Scarlet Fever, Duster became fascinated by news clippings he read about WW1 biplane dog fights and the exploits of the infamous Red Baron. As a young man, the triumphs of Charles Lindbergh becoming the first man to solo fly the Atlantic, and Amelia Earhart becoming the second person and the first woman to do the same, further fueled Duster’s imagination.

But it was the science fiction magazines and radio serials of the day, where heroes like Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon would streak through the skies, if not outer space itself, not with their futuristic rocket ships, but with rocket packs strapped to their backs. And that realization was Duster’s eureka moment. In the future, flight would be personalized and available to everyone through rocket packs.

Using his knowledge of the internal combustion engine from his work in auto repair, researching the inner workings of rocket engines that powered the missiles used by the U.S. military and the emerging jet engines that was quickly going to replace propeller driven planes, and rounding it all off with ingenuity and, at times, sheer guess work, Duster created the rocket pack that he dreamed would help him conquer the skies.

 

But conquering the skies would be just the beginning of where Duster’s rocket pack would take him as the high flying SKY COMMANDER.

“SKY COMMANDER” by Darryl Hughes and Monique MacNaughton. It’s like The Rocketeer meets Indiana Jones.