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.