Dave Stevens was born in Lynwood, California on July 29, 1955. His
career in comics began in 1975, assisting veteran artist Russ
Manning on the syndicated Tarzan newspaper strip. Stevens
went on to toil as a storyboard artist for Hanna-Barbara,
DePatie-Freleng and Filmation animation studios, working on such
programs as Super Friends and The Godzilla Power
Hour. Later, Stevens was asked by Steven Spielberg to create
presentation boards for Raiders of the Lost Ark. During the
same period, Stevens storyboarded the groundbreaking music video
Thriller for Michael Jackson and did production design for
Jackson's Victory Tour.
In 1982, Stevens debuted the feature for which he is best known, The Rocketeer. Initially appearing as a back-up feature in the second issue of an independent comic, the pulp-inspired story of Cliff Secord, a daring stunt pilot who finds an experimental rocket pack, became an instant sensation. The Rocketeer went on to star in his own comic book series, and in 1991 would become a well-received major motion picture from Walt Disney Studios.
Stevens' lush figure work, particularly when rendering the female form, coupled with his elegant brush line, brought him much acclaim farbeyond the confines of comic books. In particular, his breathyportrayals of Cliff's girlfriend Betty, inspired by famed pin-up queen Bettie Page, helped revitalize interest in the '50s icon, a fact openly acknowledged by Page, who became close friends with Stevens in her final years.
On March 11, 2008, Dave Stevens lost a long battle against leukemia.