Monday, October 15, 2012

Dave Stevens: Covers and Stories

I'll interrupt the Countdown to Halloween to do a quick review of the newest arrival: Dave Stevens Stories and Covers. This handsome hardcover from IDW is a fit companion to their volumes The Rocketeer: The Complete Collection and Dave Stevens: Complete Sketches and Studies.

If you're not a Dave Stevens fan, then, well, I'm sorry. My post here best describes what makes Dave's art special for me.
I'm reviewing this book under the assumption you have the Rocketeer stories, and have tracked down most if not all of Stevens' more accessible work. For you, the question is, what is in this 272-page book?

As expected, it contains all of Stevens' covers for Pacific Comics, Eclipse, Dark Horse, Comico, and other assorted publishers. These are all presented in black and white, shot from original art, and often with detailed closeups and pencil thumbnails and studies. "The Stories" section also includes, again as expected, Dave's "Aurora," "Princess Pam," and "Fair Play" stories from Pacific's Alien Worlds comic book. This book also contains some oddities and more obscure items for the discerning collector. First among these is the 12-page story "Cosmo Cat" from Quack #1, published in July 1976, this funny animal style story is claimed to be the artist's first professional published story. There's 1977's two page "My Greatest Adventure" from Fear and Laughter #1. There's also a cover and three sample pages of his work on British Tarzan comics (the book says he did eighty-one pages total)and a couple of pages showing Stevens' inks on some Star Wars comics. A couple things I didn't know about: Stevens inking Tom Yeates on a couple pages from Jonny Quest #4 and some inks on Will Meuginot for a Marvel kiddie comic.

This is all rounded out with Bettie Page pinups, Marvel T-Shirt Designs, and artwork for San Diego Comic Con programs and badges. The Complete Sketches and Studies contains some of Stevens' other commercial work, like a greeting card design and some Michael Jordan comic. So you still need that book too.

Whether you're a long-time Dave Stevens fan or a neophyte, there's something in here for you. The book opens with a heart felt introduction by Adam Hughes, who sadly reminds us there's not much Stevens' art left out there. Hughes also reminds, while we mourn the loss of an artist, others mourned a true friend and family member.


Weird WWII said...

A true master of his skill and a great lose to the genera.


Twirler said...

Just read your fine review and checked my door and guess what was in it? The book!

It is amazing. A stunning work.

RIP Dave Stevens

Chuck Wells said...

During production of Disney's "The Rocketeer" in 1991, Dave Stevens tooka break to appear at a small weekend con in North Carolina. I drove a few hours specifically to see him and am damn glad that I did, it was the only time that I got to chat with him and he drew me a neat sketch of "Unk" from that Aurora story that you mentioned. The other guests weren't too shabby either: Joe Orlando, Marie Severin, Murphy Anderson, Al Williamson, Angelo Torres, and Will Eisner; plus a few more. Stevens great illustrations sure screamed for attention, and i certainly wish that he had produces more comics work.

tom said...

I was at that show too Chuck. Great memories. That was one of the Acme Comics or Parts Unknown shows. They always had top-notch guests.