Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dave Stevens Dies

I remember when I first saw Dave Steven's work. It was in the back pages of a Pacific comic, Mike Grell's StarSlayer. Like everyone reading it I was blown away by the artwork. The story that went along with this artwork proved pretty good too. Pacific published a few more chapters of the strip which was of course The Rocketeer and it was finally finished and collected by Eclipse Comics. Than Comico got a go at the series for two issues. It finally ended up with a final issue at Dark Horse Comics.

I'm not sure if Dave was the first to start championing Bette Page or just at the start. In the Rocketeer he created a character that was a stand in for the former pin up queen Bette Page. He was a big fan of hers and latter became a friend and helped her.

Dave Stevens was not a fast artist. From what I've read he would labor over a single panel, working till he got it perfect in his eyes. Unfortunately the comic industry is not set up for such a painstaking artist and he did little more work. He made his living doing commissions and illustrations for others.

When I first saw Dave's work it was an exciting time for the comic book industry. The direct market was just beginning and it seemed like there was an infinite multitudes of possibilities for the industry. Marvel and DC were no longer the only comics that people wanted to read. New companies were appearing almost overnight. Pacific, Eclipse, Comico and more were publishing a lot of new exciting comics.

Dave's art and writing seemed to reflect that excitement. There was such a love for the medium in his artwork. His stories were fun to read. Everything didn't have to be doom and gloom. You could have fun in comics.

My sympathies go out to his friends and family.

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