Time for another of my Stripper/Burlesque posts, methinks?
If you're a comic nerd like me.. Then you already know that the San Diego Comic-Con 2008, has just ended. I didn't get to go, this year.. And I'm not that sure that I'll ever go, again. I keep hearing how crowded it is. And how it's changed for the worst, lately..
To be honest, my main reason for attending the convention in 1999, 2001, and 2003.. was to meet my favorite artist: Dave Stevens!
I had been e-mailing with Tom Ranheim for many years.. He's the webmaster of the official Dave Stevens website.. And, also a good friend! We decided we'd go make the trip to San Diego together, in '99. And again, in 2001..
By the 2001 trip, we'd gotten to know Dave quite well.. Gone out to dinner with him. And we were invited to his home/studio, too. It was quite a revelation, seeing all of his Original Art up close.. Intimidating, too!
In any case, Dave & I shared a passionate interest in 50's-era Striptease/Burlesque. And as it happened,-- I'd just acquired a slew of great stuff off eBay: the personal photos & scrapbook clippings of "IRMA The Body"; one of Burlesk's top performers, back in the day!
I picked them up in California, during the trip.. Fortunate for me, the Seller lived just north of San Diego!
Well, Dave couldn't wait to dig thru my cache of goodies.. And decided then-and-there, that he would love to do a painting of "Irma" (her real name was: Mary Goodneighbor). For reference, he borrowed the 2 candid photos, shown below:
"Irma" was a real looker, don'tcha think?!!
The one on the Left, was taken during a photoshoot celebrating her engagement to a man attending a Naval Academy. The relationship didn't last, and they never ended up getting married..
I prefer the photo on the Right.. I think she really looks great, in that pose! Hard to believe the photo was taken in 1970.. She still looks so young. And I'm pretty sure she had "retired" from performing, by then.
Dave sent me back the photos thru the mail, once he'd made copies.. I honestly dunno if he ever got 'round to painting "Irma". I guess we'll find out when his big 'Art Of' book gets published, sometime next year..
Today, would've been Dave's 53rd birthday.. When he passed away from Leukemia earlier this year in March.. It didn't hit me quite as bad, as it does now. I guess I associate him so closely to the San Diego Comic-Con.. A convention that he volunteered at long ago, way before he ever became a professional artist..
Here's one of the last illustrations that Dave completed before he died.. It was a commission for fellow CFA-APA member: Wally Harrington. A great guy & a personal friend of Dave's, over many years..
I've been trying to find some online reports about the "Dave Stevens Memorial" panel at SDCC '2008, without much luck.. If anyone knows where I can read about how that event went.. Please post a weblink, in my Comments section.. I'd love to see some photos & read what was said!
It's sad for me to think that there won't be anymore "new" Dave Stevens artwork to anticipate.. Hopefully, there'll be a ton of unseen gems in the Arnie Fenner -produced hardcover, due in 2009!
I picked up the most recent issue of 'The Comics Journal'.. There's an excellent Dave Stevens memorial piece in there, written by his dear friend: Bill Stout.. I was surprised to learn that Dave had been diagnosed with his cancer, back in 1999. A terminal diagnosis, that generally means the patient has only months to live.. Dave hung on, for a full 8 years longer!
I'll cherish the memories of "hanging out" with Dave, the few times I did. I'll miss his e-mails especially.. He had a very witty writing style, even when he didn't write often..
I hope that he's up there somewhere, without pain.. Sitting in the Front Row of the best dang Girlie-Show that ever was!!