Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Dave Stevens - RIP


Man, say it ain't so! Artist Dave Stevens died yesterday, which totally sucks. This has been a bad month for geeks: Steve Gerber died, then Gary Gygax, and now Dave Stevens.
Stevens died on March 10 of leukemia.

I have been and am still a big fan of Dave's pinup work and his most famous creation, the neo-pulp hero The Rocketeer. I remember picking up the first Eclipse Rocketeer issue back in the day and being a little baffled. Was this some pulp hero that I had just never heard of? Was he a contemporary of The Shadow and Doc Savage that never reached the level of fame that his fictional peers did? The answer of course, was no. The Rocketeer was created by Stevens in the 80's as an homage to the rocket-pack wearing adventurers of serial fiction like Commando Cody. Stevens' Rocketeer is a beautifully drawn Valentine to a gee-whiz age of purehearted adventure. In lesser hands this material might have seemed the work of somebody who couldn't let go of his childhood fantasies, but Dave Stevens made it work, and his love for the source material was infectious. I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who took a second look at those old Republic serials because of Dave Stevens, which is kind of a nice legacy.

I only wished that Stevens had created more Rocketeer comics; he only drew a handful of them. And now that he's passed away, that handful of comics is going to have to be enough.

35 comments:

Dave said...

Wearing the black armband (put it on anytime someone I regard with respect passes away), and I just took it off for Gary Gygax. It would be nice if I can leave it unused for a longtime.

Darth Krzysztof said...

I wasn't even -aware- of the Rocketeer's New York adventure until very recently, and I've been having a rough time finding it.

Now it just got rougher.

It's been a rough year for us geeks...

ghostman said...

R.I.P. Very sad. Besides doing pulpy fun comics, Dave Stevens also made important contributions in the field of Good Girl Art. Like Cliff Secord's g/f Betty, who bears an uncanny resemblance to another Bettie.

Rob said...

March is normally a month of celebration for me since it is the month where a lot of my friends (and myself) were born.

This year it has just been depressing. In addition to Gary Gygax and Dave Stevens, I just learned today that the father of a friend of mine just lost a five year battle with cancer.

I suppose its time to read a smart, fun comic to cheer myself up. You know, like the Rocketeer.

Anonymous said...

Arrrrgh! I just sold my full Rocketeer collection on e-bay - 2 weeks ago!

Oldsmoblogger said...

Crud.

(Raises glass) Dave Stevens.

GOGOPEDRO said...

sad news indeed.

I also see here that your a modok fan. and I wanted to let you know about my group tribute thread going on over at.

www.MARCHMODOKMADNESS.BLOGSPOT.com.

We have some great art....Please come and have a look around.

P

Some guy with a pen said...

Wait, so no one recognizes that his Stevens' first wife left him over his uncanny obsession for Betty Paige, or the fact that Peevy was based on Johnny Quest creator and designer Doug Wildey?
Fuck!
Talk about thinning out the herd!
First Alex Toth, then Eisner, a bunch of others, now Stevens? It wasn't even advertised like some of the others that were less important that passed on.
To Dave, may his work live on forever. May he be seated in the hallowed afterlife halls of whatever heaven great artists inhabit.

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