Dave Stevens 1955-2008
Dave Stevens, illustrator known for his “good girl” art and comic strip The Rocketeer, died Monday, March 10, 2008 after a long illness of Leukemia. He was 52 years old.
Stevens was born on July 29, 1955 in Lynwood, California. His family eventually settled in San Diego where he attended San DiegoCityCollege. He was involved in the early days of the San Diego Comic Book Convention, known now as Comic-Con International. Stevens’ artistic skills were immediately evident to all who met him. During those early cons he was encouraged by many professional artists, including Jack Kirby and Russ Manning.
In 1975 Stevens got his first professional job working on Tarzan comics with Manning. This was followed by a few projects with Marvel and many underground comics. In 1982 he created The Rocketeer and modeled many characters after his friends, including making Peevy the sidekick look like veteran artist Doug Wildley. The Rocketeer made his reputation, though it was a struggle. Due to his meticulous work the strips were produced slowly and he sold the rights to The Rocketeer to Disney, which was made into a movie in 1991. Stevens served as co-producer on the film and even made a cameo appearance.
Most of what he did after this falls into the category of “glamour art”. He did many illustrations of Bettie Page, who he found out lived near him and the two formed a close friendship. Stevens wanted his illness to be kept a secret over the past few years, though he still tried to make public appearances and spend time with friends. Recently he had been producing oil paintings of Hollywood glamour queens.