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.
Here's the fourth in a continuing series I like to call "Cool shit from my walls that will fit on my (very small) scanner."
This first one didn't scan so well, probably because I'm too lazy to take any of these pieces out of their frames before throwing them on the glass. But also because the detail in this Jim Blanchard portrait of motivational speaker Tony Robbins is enough to cause my scanner to melt. I don't seem to have an "inifinity DPI" setting. Jim gave my wife Rhea and I this as a wedding present; Tony keeps us on a righteous path.
This Mat Brinkman drawing is from an issue of Jordan Crane's NON. It didn't scan so hot, either, I should have beefed up the contrast to make it more readable. Oh, well. But it makes me laugh every time I look at it:
This is a portrait of yours truly by the great Steve Brodner, and it's the only piece of art on my walls that my dad has ever expressed liking. I love that.
I can't remember what the right term for this pinwheel animation thing is, but Al Columbia made it back around 1994:
Speaking of Al, this is the original art he made for a single cover by our old band the Action Suits recorded back in 1996. Al didn't play on the single, he'd moved out of Seattle by then, but he stayed in the family:
This has little to do with comics, but I was crestfallen to read on Pitchfork this morning that Dave "Day" Havlicek, the amazing electric banjo wizard for The Monks, passed away yesterday. The Monks were one of the most badass bands who ever lived; if you don't believe it, check this shit out (or any other clip on YouTube). A group of misfit GIs stationed in Germany during the mid-60s found each other, shaved their heads, and became the first proto-psychobilly/punk rock punk rock band, and they wrote killer songs. Anyway, Dave had long since settled just outside Seattle and I had the pleasure to meet him. In the mid-1990s my then-roommates Jeremy Eaton, John Ramberg, Andy Schmidt and I were rabid Monks fans, and one night we met Dave and his wife at a Young Fresh Fellows show at the Crocodile Cafe. They'd been invited by Scott McCaughey of the Fellows, and we were introduced though him because John and Scott were pals. The four of us were beside ourselves and couldn't believe we were getting face time with a legend like this. But the Monks hadn't had their big renaissance yet (they had domestic CDs reissued in the late-1990s and reunited for a few gigs over the last ten years), and we were amongst a very few folks talking to the Havliceks. In fact, Dave couldn't even believe that there was anyone in their early 20s who knew about the Monks. We told him we not only knew about the Monks, we routinely danced to the Monks. We all talked at the bar for what seemed like a couple of hours, and the Havliceks couldn't have been more gracious to us, and at the end of the night we all exchanged info and promised to get together again. My roomies and I talked about having them over for a BBQ and jam session, which Dave expressed interest in. But we never did it; I think we doubted that he could really have an interest in us stupid kids. This is sure to be one of my great regrets -- I could have jammed with a Monk! Anyway, a decade has passed, and a few months back, I was in the Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery one afternoon when Dave and his wife walked in; they were in the neighborhood for a motorcycle show and knew the guys from Georgetown Records (our retail neighbors). We talked for about 20 minutes - amazingly, they remembered me -- and exchanged info again, but that was the last I talked to Dave. R.I.P., Mr. Havlicek, you were a major inspiration to me, and a real sweetheart.
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