‘Rocketeer’ Creator Dave Stevens: 1955-2008
A variety of sources are reporting that Dave Stevens, creator of The Rocketeer, passed away yesterday after a long battle with leukemia.
Stevens’ resume also included work on the Russ Manning Tarzan comics and newspaper strip, as well as Marvel Comics’ Star Wars series in the mid-’80s. Stevens provided storyboards and layouts for the Super Friends and Godzilla cartoon series while working at Hanna-Barbera, but is best-known for his work on The Rocketeer, which he created. The series was published at various points by Eclipse Comics, Comico Comics and later by Dark Horse Comics, and eventually made into a feature film by Disney.
His widely praised style of pin-up art, featuring 1950s-era models such as Bettie Page, is credited as igniting a renewed interest in the fashion and beauty of the period.
Mark Evanier, who reported on Stevens’ passing, had this to say about the illustrator:
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.