Anticipation, excitement, and anxiousness–I don’t think I was alone in feeling this way as I awaited my copy of The Life and Art of Dave Stevens: A Brush with Passion. The book is edited by Arnie and Cathy Fenner and published by Underwood Books. I had high expectations for this book, all of which were delivered.
As a passionate Stevens fan I collected any and all of his art that I could find beginning with his Pacific Comics work. So how much new art could there be for a hardcore fan that thinks he’s seen it all, like me? Plenty. And the art contained that I have seen is reproduced beautifully from the original art. This book is over 300 pages and stuffed with art. It also has clean and elegant design work by the Fenner’s. Simply put, it is stunning.
Here’s what really set this collection apart as one of my favorite books in the last few years. Dave Stevens is notorious for his guarded privacy. Due to this, I was not aware of the circumstances and history behind much of his art and lifestyle. Besides all of the great art, this book has meaty text. Dave opens up about his life, meeting and befriending Bettie Page, his self-doubts and depression, the circumstances towards the creation of The Rocketeer, his focus on oil painting later in life, his not wanting to be typecast as a pin-up artist–all told in a open and inviting manner. In areas where Dave did not get a chance to finish his writing, the editors of the book, Arnie and Cathy Fenner, would fill in the blanks. Based on the tributes sprinkled throughout the book, it is obvious how much Dave meant to his friends and how sorely he is missed.
The combination of Dave Stevens’ gorgeous art, and the story of the man himself, makes this book a significant addition to anyone’s library. More information can be found at the Spectrum website. To purchase this book, visit Bud’s Art Books or Stuart Ng Books. They have the limited signed edition available.