|Does not compute!|
|Written by Eric Reynolds | Filed under Gary Panter||13 Mar 2008 9:41 AM|
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Sean T. Collins interviews Gary Panter for... Marvel.com?! Everything I thought I knew to be true in this world is suddenly in question.
When I heard the news of Dave Stevens' passing this week, at the much too young age of 52, the first two people I thought about were my pals Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez. I knew they were close to Dave so I sent them my condolences. Gilbert wrote me the following email, which I thought some of Dave's fans might enjoy, so he kindly consented to let me share it. R.I.P., Mr. Stevens.
Dave was always Dave. No matter where I saw him, at the premiere of THE ROCKETEER in Hollywood, or when he was mobbed by fans at GLAMOURCON, he would turn his head to me and ask "what do ya think? " Jaime and I met Dave at his studio in 1984. It was next to a gas station that was later used in David Lynch's LOST HIGHWAY. The studio that Dave shared with Bill Stout and Richard Hescox was a matress outlet by then. Right away we hit it off having similar interests, most notably the subject of curvy women. That's one thing he never outgrew. God bless him.
He was neurotic as any perfectionist when it came to finishing an art project, but when he delivered, he delivered. One of the few pieces of original art I own and cherish is the one he did for GIRL CRAZY #1, and not because he did it for free, either. Actually, he refused payment for it because he said he did it for fun. That was Dave and he lived for fun. That's the way I like it.
- Gilbert Hernandez, March 2008
This week's free preview is a downloadable 20-page excerpt from The Clouds Above, the all-ages classic from Jordan Crane which is being released in a new softcover edition this spring. These previews are exclusive to registered Fantagraphics.com users, so sign up and/or sign in to view. As a free bonus for everyone, the two images above, taken from the interior of the all-new cover flaps, are available for download as desktop wallpapers!
(As a reminder, 20/20 Club members receive these previews two weeks before we post them on the website... usually, except the past couple of weeks when we accidentally switched them around!)
We've put the entirety of Gary Groth's introduction to Explainers, the forthcoming collection of Jules Feiffer's Village Voice strips (due in June), here on the website for your reading pleasure. The feature includes a sideshow preview of 11 strips selected by Groth as standouts from the collection. Read it now!
I really enjoyed this CBR feature on Wilfred Santiago's forthcoming graphic novel, 21 (which is still many months away), a biography of baseball legend Roberto Clemente. I'm a big baseball nerd, and was already looking forward to this book, but after reading this feature I'm even more sold. Santiago's clear grasp of Clemente's place not only in baseball history but also the Civil Rights movement and Puerto Rican history is palpable, and is sure to make for an engaging, important read. And the images I've seen, including those in this piece, are dazzling.
The news of Dave Stevens' passing today was as sad as it was unexpected. It's difficult to appreciate today how special The Rocketeer was when it came out. I'm not going to pretend that it was a totally brilliant comic book or anything, but when it first came out during my formative years in the '80s, it really was something else. Its retro chic style was, paradoxically, ahead of its time, and there's little arguing that Stevens was one of the very best craftsmen of the post-Frazetta school of illustrators (see above). I haven't re-read any of The Rocketeer in close to 20 years, but I think I will have to dig them out tonight and rectify that.
For a warm remembrance of Mr. Stevens, read Mark Evanier's blog.