Tuesday, March 11, 2008


RIP Dave Stevens

This is some sucky news.
I’ve just received word that Dave Stevens, the artist of the Rocketeer, died yesterday at age 52. Stevens had dropped out of sight for the most part in recent years and had been battling leukemia, a fact which he kept as private as possible.

Stevens was known for his meticulous artwork, reminiscent of the greatest illustrators of the past and the whiz bang pulpishness of the 30s and 40s. He was, of course, also obsessed with model Bettie Page. These came together in The Rocketeer, which was published by Eclipse, Pacific, Comico and Dark Horse in its various incarnations. In 1991 it was turned into a Disney film starring Billy Campbell and a young Jennifer Connelly. The film underperformed at the time but has become very fondly remembered.

I was just the right age for The Rocketeer when it debuted, as a backup in Pacific Comics' Starslayer, and followed the strip from company to company over the course of the following years. It was probably a bigger influence on me than I realize, and I've cherished those issues ever since.

Fifty-two is far, far too young, but Stevens leaves a body of work any creator could be proud of.

Holy crap! I'm almost two years older than Stevens was -- what a sad fate for someone so talented.

I loved Rocketeer too.
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