I read with a bit of sadness that Bettie Page died this morning, at the age of 85. She had been quite ill with pneumonia, for a number of weeks.. Before succumbing to a heart attack. I never met or knew this woman.. But enjoyed seeing her images, in many of the vintage Men's magazines I've collected over the years..
It seems (to me, anyways) a rather ironic coincidence, that she should pass away in the same year Dave Stevens has.. And during the very week that also saw the release of the much-anticipated Stevens coffee table book: 'Brush With Passion'.. An artist whose work in the early 1980's, was likely most responsible for her re-emergence as a Pop Culture icon?
While it's true that his 'ROCKETEER' comic-book, had a character modelled after Betty Page.. And re-popularized her, with a wider audience.. It wasn't the 1st time, that Stevens had featured her in his artwork. That distinction, is held by his spoof of Frank Frazetta's 'THUN'DA' comic-book cover. An illustration that Stevens drew on a lark, as a Portfolio piece!
How odd it must've been for him, to later meet & become friends with Ms. Page in real life? And to then use that Portfolio piece as the cover for a comic-book, featuring fictionalized stories of Bettie?! haha
While there were long lines of unscruplous ne'er-do-wells exploiting Bettie's newly-rediscovered popularity, for their own interests.. It was Dave Stevens that made a point of personally trying to "repay" Bettie, for his use of her image in his comic-book. And generally, because it was a decent thing to do!
So, besides the "Bettie Page Comics" project.. Dave also created (or served as Art Director on) a variety of Dark Horse merchandise.. Licensed items, designed to ensure that Bettie made a little bit of money on her own image, as well!
The Jim Silke books, come immediately to mind.. And Dave also designed a really nice Kitchen Magnet Set, featuring Ms. Page.. Which I think was the last "Bettie Page" merchandise he worked on, if memory serves..
In her most recent interviews, Bettie always referred to Dave as "my best friend.." And if you've seen any of the many Bettie images that Dave has created over his career.. Then you're probably already aware that he must've thought she was pretty special, too!
Here's one of my favorite images of Bettie.. A signed print that Dave gave me, many years ago..
That's all for now.. TTYLater!