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  • The Muse and the Artist


    While thousands of sites will be talking about the passing of Bettie Page, I have to say it really just makes me all the sadder that Dave Stevens is gone. Like anyone with eyes I thought she was gorgeous of course, but I was never that enamored of her. I didn’t have to be- Dave was wowed enough by her all by himself that whenever she was his subject he could make art you could not just walk by. And his art propelled her back into the public consciousness. Here’s a nice bit from BettiePage.com that touches on the two after they became friends…

    First, Dave Stevens created a comic book hero called “The Rocketeer,” with a love interest clearly inspired by Bettie Page; Disney adapted it as a big budget, same-named motion picture vehicle for Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Connelly. Stevens, recently deceased, became one of Page’s most devoted friends, one of the few she could trust. It was Stevens who escorted Bettie Page to the Playboy Mansion for a private 35mm screening of THE ROCKETEER in 1994. She had never seen the film before. She loved it.

    Skews things a bit to call Rocketeer a Jennifer Connelly vehicle, but it’s still nice that Dave is singled out. I think the power of his renditions and how it kicked off a Bettie revival owe to Dave coming from a place with her that wasn’t exploitative- it was more him showing us ‘look at the power this girl from the past has over me’ with all the talent at his disposal. And when the Bettie bandwagon started up again, Dave was there for his muse, finding her for one, and running errands and driving her around. So in all the places you see praising Page online in the next few days, if they don’t mention Dave, see that it gets done in the Comments. Because it’s likely that without him most of those fans would never have known about her.


    Comment from Johnny B
    Time: December 12, 2008, 5:18 am

    Right on.

    Comment from Bret Bernal
    Time: December 12, 2008, 6:02 am

    Classy post, Jeff. Thanks.


    Comment from Marc Hodge
    Time: December 12, 2008, 7:18 am

    My sentiments exactly. It’s strange how life is, that both Dave Stevens and Bettie Page die in the same year.
    God Bless them both.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: December 12, 2008, 8:29 am

    Yeah, it’s hard not to make that connection isn’t it?

    Comment from jackmarlowe
    Time: December 12, 2008, 12:17 pm

    I saw the film when i was child and enjoy all the time. I think later i saw another time. It was a good film and make feel glamour to character of Betty Page and respect.

    Years later i read the comic-book that was very different to the movie but i liked it. The script and art was very good. In Dolmen, spanish magazine, do a memorial article and little sketchbook of Dave Stevens.

    Rocketter was very cool in the movie and comic, the design was perfect and the poster amazing.