Friday, December 19, 2008

Dave Stevens, an appreciation...

If anyone inspired me--
--it was this man.

Did he inspire you?

In the early '80s I bought an issue of Pacific Comics' Starslayer by Mike Grell. The back-up feature was the first chapter of The Rocketeer by Dave Stevens. I couldn't believe how beautifully rendered it was. I'd grown up on a steady diet of MAD, Warren, Marvel and DC comics, as well as strip artists like Al Capp, Milton Cannif and Will Eisner. I'd also read plenty of reprints featuring golden age stories by Simon & Kirby, Jerry Robinson, Frank Frazetta, Alex Toth and Lou Fine. But this Stevens guy was different. His art seemed to capture the flavor of all of my favorite comics artists, but in many ways it was much better. More appealing. You could tell he'd put a lot of love into it.

I wrote Dave a letter, the first fan letter I'd ever written, after reading his story and I received a postcard from him within a few weeks. After that I started writing letters and submitting illustrations to comics publications like Comics Journal and Amazing Heroes. It was fun being published and the bug bit me. Within a few years I'd left Advertising to create some comic books and later worked at Warner Brothers, creating art and product for their studio stores. But the one thing that inspired me to follow my heart was a simple postcard from a very generous and caring individual.

If you are a fan of Dave's, or just want to learn more about him buy this new book... "Brush With Passion: The Art & Life of Dave Stevens". It's an amazing display of his artistry and it's chock full of personal information about one of the best illustrator/storytellers of our time.

I chose this image so it wouldn't give anything away. This is a visual of Dave's inks and colors over Jack Kirby, and they are beautiful. But they're nothing like the beauty of Dave's own work. Buy the book, you won't be sorry.

Here are a few more of Dave's beautiful illustrations, taken from the internet...

Sadly, we lost Dave earlier this year, but he will live on in the fields of illustration and comic book art forever.

(July 29, 1955 - March 11, 2008)


Phantom Spitter said...

That is beautiful, top-notch art. Sort of a cross-between Jim Osborne and Al Feldstein. Never heard of him before. Thanks

max said...

Hi Vince, what an awesome postcard. I love the Rocketeer, that 30's look is wonderful.
By the way, Merry Christmas mate.

Vince M. said...

I guess that's the beauty of an appealing art style, Phantom, people will see all of their favorites in the work. I'm glad you like him.

Hi Max. I love the Rocketeer, too. And I'm always amazed at his skillful design of the female form.

Merry Christmas fellows!

Ry's Photo Blog said...

Good to get a little history on you Vin. I think it's great that you've been able to correspond with so many of the artists you admire.
I like the Rocketeer too.

Vince M. said...

I've been very blessed in this way, Ry. Very lucky. I only wish I'd done a few recorded interviews with some of these wonderful people when I had the chance.
Thankfully, I'm still able to correspond with a lot of artists I admire.
In fact sometimes all I need to do is go to the cubicle alongside me.

Happy Holidays, Ry.

redhookfred said...

i just wish it was a longer series. its fred, vince. hope to see u in may. maybe we can carve a frankenstein into luquer st again