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Brush with Passion: The Art and Life of Dave Stevens Hardcover – December 1, 2008
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"It's been more than 30 years during which I have stood in hang-jawed wonder and delight at Dave Stevens' singular beautification of the universe."
"Dave Stevens' brush is an alembic, distilling the essence of the past with the edge of the future, never allowing the authenticity of his nostalgia to succumb to imitation or pastiche. In other words: Hubba-hubba! We likes!"
The Wachowski Brothers
"[Dave Stevens] is my best friend in the whole world, bar none!"
"Dave is not only a stunning craftsman but is also a master of design and form. He has an intuitive ability to capture sensuality with a few delicate lines, to make the complex and elusive look simple, yet impossible to imitate (believe me, I have tried). It is this ability to see a little deeper, this sensitive and unique vision that makes Dave Stevens a true artist among artists."
About the Author
Before his untimely death in 2008 from leukemia, Stevens had been working closely with Spectrum's Arnie and Cathy Fenner on his definitive career retrospective. Featuring art, comics covers, photos, and Stevens' own commentary spanning 35 years--including many previously unpublished drawings and paintings--Brush With Passion also boasts essays by William Stout, Jim Steranko, Michael Kaluta, Richard Hescox, Todd Schorr, and a host of others. More than an art book, more than a biography, Underwood Books is proud to be the publisher of this landmark collection, both a celebration of and a tribute to a remarkable talent.
Top customer reviews
Brush With Passion: the Art and Life of Dave Stevens collects all those covers, a generous sampling of Rocketeer art, and much, much more. In addition to Stevens' published and familiar work this book has a generous sampling of Stevens' early samples, animation work, commercial art, and commissioned pinups and other drawings. Almost every page is a visual treat, offering something you haven't seen before or a familiar Rocketeer page reproduced from the original art as you never seen it before.
Stevens provided the often illuminating narrative for the book. We learn of Stevens kind of stumbled into doing the Rocketeer and what was supposed to be a quick fill-in job grew grew into something that defined Dave Stevens for many of readers, who always clamored for more. But the conditions of the comic market at the time, and Stevens' drive for doing the job right made his output seem sporadic and never enough for his eager fans. Brush With Passion details what Stevens was doing all that time: working with the Rocketeer movie, trying to do jobs that would earn him a living and challenging himself as an artist. And toward the end, taking oil painting classes and battling leukemia.
I got to meet Dave Stevens once in the early 1990's at one of John Hitchcock's comic shows in Greensboro. I probably asked him when the next Rocketeer was coming out and he patiently and graciously answered my questions. I bought a couple of prints from him and as he signed them I commented how his cover for the Sheena in 3-D comic was one of my favorites by him. He commented, "Apparently someone else liked it too, it's been stolen." There's a happy ending to that story in this book.
One more Stevens story. The drawing on page 181, "Charity." I was over at a friend of mines house who sold original comic art. He had a polaroid of that piece he passed around. At this time, Dave was "just teasing" with his Eclipse covers and just seeing a full on nude by Stevens was something. Even though I was an adult, seeing that drawing brought some of that some thrill one got when viewing their first Playboy magazine at the age of 12 or 13. That's what Stevens' art always did for me, whether it was a drawing of the Rocketeer, the Shadow, or one his pretty girls, it always felt like seeing something new, but something you always wanted to see but just didn't know it yet.
In real life I never met Dave. But through this wonderful book, I feel like Dave himself has introduced me to his family, his friends, and his favorite artists. Not only that, but he's taken me into his inner circle. It seems to me that I was there when he bought his first Marvel comic. I was there when his family moved to Portland, and then to San Diego. I was there when he met Michael Kaluta, and I sat in during his talks with Jim Steranko. I was there through the hopes and disappointments of the Rocketeer movie. I was there with him in the 1990's when the comics industry bottomed out and he was struggling financially, and trying to find himself artistically. I was there for the oil painting classes, and when he finally broke through. And thanks to the outstanding editorializing of Arnie and Cathy Fenner, I was there during the days of Dave's sickness, all the way through to his recent death. This is, by far, the most personal and touching artist's monograph I have ever read. Well done, on all counts. God bless all of the contributors, and especially you, Dave. Thank you for this book. I think I know you pretty well.