Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dave Stevens

The contemporary comics world baffles me. I take my grandson to the comic book shop and need an hour just to isolate six or seven comic books I may want to buy. So much good stuff, so overwhelming. But one artist-writer whose work I always snapped up was the late Dave Stevens who died way too young at fifty-two of leukemia. If you've never read his work--or seen it--pick up The Rocketeer. I still remember reading my first Rocketeer story in the back of a Mike Grell comic book was back in the 80s. Had never seen anything like it, nostalgic but cutting edge at the same time. Note Stevens' own comments on the frustrations of the creative process. He spoke for a lot of us I think.

From Tor: Com

Stevens, Brush with Passion
Irene Gallo
Arnie and Cathy Fenner have announced that Brush with Passion: The Art and Life of Dave Stevens is off to the printer and will be available in December,“Weighing in at 288 pages and featuring a veritable wealth of classic and previously unpublished artwork, Brush With Passion tells the Dave Stevens story, mostly in his own words...” I didn’t know Stevens or his work well enough, but by the reaction his passing evoked in so many artist friends of mine, I know this was my loss. I’ll be looking forward to this compilation to get to know him better.

From Wikipedia:

"Dave was truly one of the nicest people I have ever met in my life... and was certainly among the most gifted. Our first encounter was at Jack Kirby's house around 1971 when he came to visit and show Jack some of his work. As I said, Kirby was very encouraging and he urged Dave not to try and draw like anyone else but to follow his own passions. This was advice Dave took to heart, which probably explains why he took so long with every drawing. They were rarely just jobs to Dave. Most of the time, what emerged from his drawing board or easel was a deeply personal effort. He was truly in love with every beautiful woman he drew, at least insofar as the paper versions were concerned." – Mark Evanier [1]

"Well, I do expect a lot of myself. I'm a harsh critic because I know what I'm capable of. I have hit those occasional peaks amongst the valleys, but the peaks are so few-things like genuine flashes of virtuoso brush inking, like I've never executed before or since-I can count on one hand the number of jobs where I've been able to hit that mark. The same with penciling. Sometimes it just flows, but more often than not, it's pure physical and spiritual torment just to get something decent on paper. I often get very discouraged with the whole creative process." – Dave Stevens[3]


Jon The Crime Spree Guy said...

Dave Stevens did indeed rock. I loved Rocketeer and his Betty Page art was second to none.

I just read somewhere that Grell is going to be doing some DC work again soon. I loved his work on Legion and Green Arrow. I also think his Jon Sable Freelance is still great stuff.

Ed, have you read any Astro City by Kurt Busiek? I think you'd really dig it.

Ed Gorman said...

I'll check that out, Jon. Thanks, Ed