Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Jetpacks, pulp heroes, and Bettie Page: A word about Dave Stevens

Image Hosted by

I don't catch much news from the comics industry these days, so I completely missed the announcement of the death of comics writer/artist Dave Stevens, whose best-known creation was The Rocketeer.

Most people are only familiar with the 1991 movie. Stevens went a lot more in-depth to create a compelling story inspired by the pulp magazines of the 1930's, along with serials like King of the Rocket Men all the while incorporating believable characters instead of the stock cardboard cutouts that populated most such stories.

And then, of course, there's the art. Now don't get me wrong: I loves me some Jennifer Connelly. But going back to the source material, it's hard to imagine anybody on Cliff Secord's arm other than "Betty", lovingly modeled after the famous 1950's fetish model Bettie Page (pictured above; some of you might not recognize her with the gag, and some of you might not recognize her without it).

Add to the mix slickly disguised appearances by Doc Savage and The Shadow, plus a bevy of subtle film references from the era, and a Rocketeer story was a little piece of four-color heaven for me.

So long, Mr. Stevens. Sorry to be one of the last people to tell you that you'll be missed.

No comments: