Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tribute To Dave Stevens

We were all greatly saddened by the news of the passing of Dave Stevens. He was far too young and still had so much joy left to give to the world. Dave will be missed by his many fans. Rather than write the usual biographical type of tribute, I decided that I would rather take this opportunity to show some of Dave's works so that those who loved Dave can have a second look at what made him so special, and to also hopefully introduce him to others who are not familiar with this great comic artist.

Of course Dave Stevens will always be associated with his creation The Rocketeer which was the source of the 1991 Disney adventure of the same name. But there was so much more that Dave created.

Here is a great example of how Dave could capture the total joy of youth and a reflection of a time when life was simpler and there was innocent clarity.

Dave was obviously influenced by a love of the 1930's and 1940's. Particularly the cliffhanger serials and beautiful "pin-up" girls.

I'm sure Dave was influenced by the theatrical posters that decorated the fronts of his favorite movie houses. Here is a terrific example of his ability to compose amazing action in a single panel.

This is the more "Hollywood" take on Dave's creation. The Disney movie was fun to watch but they should of had Dave do all the posters and publicity art. Just compare this poster to Dave's panel above.

It is an absolute truth that packaging sells products and in the world of comics a great cover is the difference in a successful issue or a newsstand flop. Dave Stevens was a "go to" artist in the 1980's and 1990's when a publisher wanted amazing cover art.

Perhaps Dave's most recognized "pin-up" is Betty Page.

The comic on the inside could never live up to Dave's cover art. It doesn't matter to collectors. Dave's art is what matters, he was really special.

Dave didn't just draw beautiful sexy women, he created strong female action heroes, influenced by the queens of the 1930's and 1940's cliffhanger serials.

Dave must have also been heavily influenced by Alex Raymond, creator of Flash Gordon. He loved to do these action packed Sci-Fi covers, again using strong beautiful women as action heroes.

Dave was a major influence on many comic artists in the 1990's and beyond. Unfortunately most who adopted his love for drawing beautiful female heroes never mastered Dave's eye for proportion and true anatomical beauty. Most of those who attempted to adopt Dave's "pin-up" style have created distorted caricatures.

One can only imagine how much fun Dave had working with such beautiful models when he was developing these covers.

This is such a great action shot. You had to buy this comic, the cover just grabbed you and pulled you inside.

Here are two examples of Dave's take on "the queen of the jungle".

I hope that if you were already a Dave Stevens fan that you have enjoyed this tribute and look back at just a fraction of his work. And if you are just discovering this great artist, I hope you will get out there and hunt for more examples while they are still available.

I have just shown a few examples from my extensive collection of Dave Steven's art. He was such a special man and fortunately he left us with so many wonderful visual memories.