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Dave Stevens, 1955-2008

Dave Stevens

Comic artist Dave Stevens, creator of The Rocketeer, has passed away after a battle with leukemia. An extensive obit can be found at The Comics Reporter. Early in his career, Stevens worked on Hanna-Barbera action-adventure cartooons like Jana of the Jungle and Super Friends. Background painter and fellow comic artist Bill Wray has written some nice personal memories of Dave Stevens on his blog, and writer Mark Evanier is also sharing memories on his blog.

  • galacticadude

    Dave was a great talent and will be missed. I have most of his comic work and a Rocketeer tin sign from the early 90’s. Too bad he didn’t work as an animator though he did work as a storyboard artist. His designs will influence many future artists.

  • Dave Stevens did work in animation. I worked with him at Hanna-Barbera as part of Doug Wildey’s crew.

    Dave might be happy to know that his Rocketeer Helmet is on display up at ILM on the LucasFilm campus.

  • droosan

    The Rocketeer comic-book was a major influence on me at the ‘golden age’ of 12, and is still among my favorite comics ever. The movie is quite excellent, as well. His works spawned my lifelong love of the pulp-adventure genre, as well as vintage ‘pin-up’/cheesecake illustration. I was fortunate enough to meet him a few times, and was able to thank him personally for the great entertainment and inspiration he’d provided me in my youth. I had heard he was ill for the past couple of years, but I’d had no idea it was this serious. I will miss him greatly. -_-

  • I met Stevens at a Chiller Con in New Jersey back in the ’90s and he struck me as a very nice and modest guy. He was selling prints of the Rocketeer and I wondered at the time how he could do that since this was after Disney had bought the character and made the movie. But God bless him, he was doing it and I bought one which remains a prized part of the collection.

    He was interested in the fact I was from Springfield MA the home of the GeeBee planes that play a prominent role in the Rocketeer story.

    What really impressed me is that among the many people who made money off of Bettie Page, Stevens was one of the few who actually helped her out. That action says a lot about the guy.

    He was a great talent and I’ve re-read his stuff many times.

  • J. A.

    I had no idea he was ill. I was just recently wondering what he was up to. For being such an amazingly talented artist, he was a very humble person. When I met him he was an incredibly nice guy. He signed a few things for me and I have a signed copy of ‘Just Teasing’ I inherited from his former landlady.

    BTW- Disney really pulled a fast one on Dave concerning The Rocketteer. He didn’t recieve any of the money from the licensing, but he was promised a percentage of the SEQUEL– which is why there was never any Rocketeer II.

  • Steve G

    Dave also worked at Filmation in layout on The Lone Ranger— we shared an office along with Russ Heath and he also worked briefly on Bakshi’s Fire and Ice as we were trying to develop the look of Teegra (he seemed like a natural choice).

    Great guy – always positive and friendly.

  • I was driving from DFW Airport, my passengers were Dave Stevens, Burne Hogarth, and Frank Miller- I was on call to assist Frank with anything while he was in Dallas for 4 days, Dave was hitting strides with Rocketeer, but still, every bit a fanboy at heart, salivating at Frank (who he was friends with, yet still in awe of his work), to the front of him, and Dynamic Tarzan Master Artist Hogarth to the right of him. “Man, this is cool, huh?Not to mention, Jack Kirby, Gil (Kane), and Doug (Wildey) are supposed to be here, too.” They were- he was smiling the whole 4 days. Frank is still here- but all those other guys were there to greet Dave, upon his arrival. I bet he’s smiling, much the same way he was, that day, years ago, in Dallas.

  • The Obvious

    Of all the artists I’ve ever met at a convention, Dave Stevens was by far the kindest and the most generous with his time. He offered words of wisdom and encouragement that I remember to this day. Wherever he is, I hope he knows what a wonderful contribution he made to sequential art.

    Thanks for everything, Dave.

  • Rookie

    Much too talented, much too nice and much too young…it just isn’t fair. Dave will be sorely missed.