Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dave Stevens, Creator Of The Rocketeer, Passes Away

What a rotten year 2008 has been for the comics community...

Dave Stevens passed away, I just found out about it now. Heidi at The Beat has the details.

I was in meetings all day, and this was the first comic news I read. What terrible news.

Among his other many accomplishments was being the artist/creator for The Rocketeer.

Makes me want to dig the movie out.


  1. It should come to no one's surprise (seeing my email address, screen name and the name of my blog) that I'm a HUGE Rocketeer and Dave Stevens fan.

    This news hit me hard. I've met Dave and he was great to me. I loved his work and thought he was a great and all around nice guy.

    Here is what I posted on my blog in tribute to him:


    Today I found out (on that Rocketeer creator/artist/writer Dave Stevens passed away after a long battle with Luekemia. Dave was 53.

    Obviously, I was a HUGE Dave Stevens fan. The Rocketeer is not only a great comic and fun movie for me. It's a part of my identity... something that I identified with strongly. There are an entre mess of people who know me as "Rocky" or "Rocket". It's been my nickname (and my email address) for over fifteen years.

    Dave Stevens is actually more known for his modern renditions of Betty Page then he is The Rocketeer. It was due to Dave's love of Betty and amazing artwork of her (and her use in the pages of the Rocketeer as Cliff Secord's girlfriend) that brought Betty out of seclusion and back into the public eye.

    Dave's unreal talent was unmistakenable. His comic book covers and lithograhps are the stuff of dreams. His ttention to detail and the beauty he brought out in his artwork is instantly reconizable.

    I got the chance to meet Dave at the 1998 DragonCon in Atlanta. Dave was there doing signings but NOT doing sketches. After talking with him for a while, Dave pulled me aside and told me (hushed) that if I left one of the white boards I was using for sketches with him, he might have a present for me by the end of the con... but it had to be a secret, because he did NOT want to get into doing a mound of sketches.

    The next day, I was walking in Artists Alley when I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was Dave. He motioned with his head for me to follow him. We went to his table and he handed me a brown paper bag.

    "Our secret right?" he said.

    "Absoultely." I responded. "What do I o-"

    "Get the hell out of here, you don't owe me anything." he cut me off. "The least I can do for a guy walking around with a name tag that says 'RocketeerZ' huh?"

    I chatted with Dave a little more and even got to sit behind the table with him for a few minutes. The friends I was with at the Con have teased me ever since that dave must have needed to take out a restraining order on me to get me away from there.

    The sketch he did was a simple Rocketeer helmet. He had personalized it for me and signed it. I freaking love it.

    It most likely only took him a couple of minutes... but the fact he took the time to do it meant the world to me.

    I've heard a lot of things about Dave over the years, (especially from his ex-wife horror scream queen Brooke Stevens) but I will always rememeber him as a great and personable guy who created something that touched me and a guy that gave me the single greatest comic-book related item I own.

    Rest In Peace Dave. The world is a little darker without you.

  2. Oh no! I'm a big Dave Stevens fan, too. This news sincerely sucks and has put a damper on the day.

    And The Rocketeer is a very underrated gem of a movie, with spirited performances and a cool retro-heroic feel. Perfect for memorializing Dave. I'm going to look at some of his work for Pacific Comics now and mourn.

    I wish I'd brought back to Japan the issue of Comic Book Artist featuring his interview and sketches. I really want to read his words now, too.

  3. Wow. Sad news. In my opinion, he was one of the best artists ever.

  4. The Rocketeer was one of my favorite comicbook characters of all time. Between the graphic novel, the film, the Indianna Jones movies and Roy Thomas's All-Star Squadron my love of all things Golden Age was pretty much sealed for life. The fact that he passed at such a relatively young age is a damn shame.

  5. It's been hours since I first read this and I'm still at a loss for words. Rocketeer Adventure Magazine #1 was one of the titles I picked by almost twenty years ago, when I began to seriously collect comics. Like many others, I'm sure, this was also my introduction to Bettie Page.

    The world is a poorer place with his passing.