I just found out yesterday that Dave Stevens died last Saturday at the age of 52 from leukemia. Anyone in the comic biz knows who he was, and any comic fan as well. For everyone else he was the creator of Rocketman, which was made into a movie in 1991 with Bill Campbell in his first starring role. He was also the artist who started doing the paintings of Betty Page that made her famous and got her a movie as well a few years ago.
I didn't know him well, only met him a couple of times at the San Diego Comic Con but I worked with some of his art through Bob at Graphitti Designs. I knew his art very well, he was one of the best in the business, and I've never heard anyone in the biz have a bad thing to say about him. A while ago Bob told me that Dave was trying to learn how to paint in the computer and wanted to know if he could give me a call for some advice. Of course I said yes, and I waited for a call that never came. A few months later Bob came by with a disk of a painting Dave did that blew me away. In 15 years of comic coloring I never did anything as good that piece.
Right now I can look up and see the signed, limited edition print of Vampirella painted by Dave that my wife bought me several years ago. The name of the painting seems quite bizarre at this moment - “Back From the Grave.” I have #4 of 850.
“Well, I do expect a lot of myself. I'm a harsh critic because I know what I'm capable of. I have hit those occasional peaks amongst the valleys, but the peaks are so few-things like genuine flashes of virtuoso brush inking, like I've never executed before or since-I can count on one hand the number of jobs where I've been able to hit that mark. The same with penciling. Sometimes it just flows, but more often than not, it's pure physical and spiritual torment just to get something decent on paper. I often get very discouraged with the whole creative process.“ – Dave Stevens