Wednesday, 12 March 2008
Some thoughts on the life of Dave Stevens from Brendan:

I'm sorry to hear that Dave Stevens has died. He was a very nice guy and was personally very helpful to me when I first went to California, many years ago.

I was about 23 years old, trying to make a living in London as a comic book artist and subsisting on scraps from 2000AD. I really liked Dave's Rocketeer strip published by Pacific Comics. It made me think about getting a new comic going, with Pete Milligan and Brett Ewins and maybe in the USA. The British scene was too small. I wanted to break out of the 2000AD waiting line and make a splash somehow!

The Rocketeer came out just as the 80's revolution in comics was starting to build and was a big inspiration for me. It was different and it was good.

I called Dave cold when I got to LA. He was friendly and invited me over to his studio. I decided to walk to his place from my cheap motel in Hollywood, along Beverly Boulevard, which looked not too far on my tourist map... I had no idea that streets in LA can go on for days... And nobody walks! I got totally lost and even though I was about 2 hours late, he was really kind and funny - and he was the first comic book artist I met who actually knew people, like Steranko, Wrightson and Eisner.

He was also a very good looking, handsome guy and there were plenty of glamorous women hanging around (usually those Betty Page "rockabilly" look-a-like gals). This, I thought, was what the life a comic artist should be, instead of getting vomited on by sweaty drunkards back in England!

Dave was kind enough to give a good reference to a Pacific Comics' editor up on my behalf and eventually, Strange Days was born. Dave was a big fan of Paradax! but really hated Freakwave and later, SKIN and didn't mind telling me, either. He tended to go for 50's and 60's comic book art, and loathed anything too chaotic. We shared an enjoyment of Carmine Infantino's DC work and Royer-inked Kirby. He introduced me to the work of bondage artist Eric Stanton, which explained to me the elusive 'kink' feel in Ditko's Dr. Strange.

I bumped into Dave now and then over the years, whenever I attended the San Diego Comic Con. He once turned up in London and called me up to meet him at the Raymond Revue Bar in sinful, rainy Soho, of all places. He had accompanied some gorgeous lady over to London, who was dancing at the Bar on a touring floorshow. That was the last time I saw him in person.

Dave was one of the first people to get a creator-owned character onto the silver screen ( but sadly The Rocketeer movie was less than a triumph, being somewhat corny). But he was philosophical about how it all turned out though.

I thought he really was a "star" comic book artist, that rare breed with cool looks, a great attitude and talent to burn!

Dave Stevens, thank you!


james corcoran said...

This is really sad news I still remember being blown away by Rocketeer comics that had the Kaluta back ups.As a spotty teen I had no idea comics could be that stylish or beautiful!

Brendan McCarthy is one of Britain's most talented comic book creators and designers. His unique and distinctive style has influenced a generation of artists and writers. He has produced some classic UK graphic novels, written and designed some ground-breaking TV series and worked on many successful Hollywood movies

The Strangeness of Brendan McCarthy site was created in 1999 by John Kirkham and aims to provide a comprehensive guide to the work of Brendan McCarthy. This website is the official fansite and is put together with the cooperation of Brendan. So we will be bringing you the latest news, exclusive artwork and all things McCarthy related


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