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RIP: Dave Stevens

batgirl, comics, fangirl
It's funny, I was often annoyed with Dave during the time we knew each other because he'd often promise to call and then didn't. He was, however, an excellent over-the-fax correspondent and we'd sail them back and forth.

So, here I am, on my forty-fourth birthday, and I find out Dave has died from leukemia. I had no idea, as the joke goes, he was sick. So very, very Dave. He frequently fall of the radar, then suddenly reappear, so I got used to not hearing from him for long periods. The last time was in May 2006, a very nice exchange I was just re-reading. What a sweetie. I suppose now, until I know for myself if there is a great beyond, I may be in my longest wait to hear from Dave.

Dave encouraged me in my art. He gave me great critiques, from which I learned things I still use today and pass on to others. (#1, use as few lines as possible on women, so they look pretty and not mannish.) I felt I had arrived at the Big Show when I showed Dave my in-progress cover for Cathedral Child, and he was impressed.
Dave encouraged my photography, too. I gained my love for photography from Dave and another friend, Roger. The thing they had in common was that they loved women in every shape and size. For a while, I wanted to be like Dave's favorite photographer, Bunny Yeager.(Bunny took what were inarguably the best pictures of Bettie Page.) I never came remotely close, but I do I feel like I'm missing a hand and an eye if I don't have a camera. (I always carry one, because I might miss something!)
I have an album Dave bought me when I visited him in Long Beach, rescued from the fire, of my work and the work of friends.

I was his model more than once, and I'm gladder than ever I was. Like Bettie, I am preserved in my youth in Dave's work. As Mark Evanier has said today, "He was truly in love with every beautiful woman he drew, at least insofar as the paper versions were concerned."
Ah, at least. I never knew a man who made me feel more beautiful, no matter what stage of my life I happened to be in. Dave, for his part,  was an absolutely gorgeous man. Whenever I was with him, I felt I must be looking at him in a state of hopeless longing.

At a Dallas convention many years ago, on a Friday, I walked up to his table to say hello. Flanking him were 'Beto and Jaime Hernandez, and Dennis Kitchen. Dennis said to me, "Hello, how's the prettiest professional in comics?" I blushed, Dave smiled, and los Bros snorted and elbowed each other. One of them, still snorting, said, "She's the second prettiest.. Dave's the prettiest professional in comics." Dave kind of wheezed, and said, "Geez, you guys." The rest of us laughed.
Dave always made a little time for me (and my husband, when he was with me), and I'm so glad he did.
I'm also glad he finally found what I think was probably the one and only true love of his life, Bettie Page. For most of the time I knew him, he was trying to find her. Once he did, he made sure he was with her on her birthday, even if it meant missing a convention.

Somewhere, I can hear him making a disgusted sigh that I'm even writing this. I heard that disgusted sigh often, because I was exasperating him as often as he exasperated me. Here's to our times, then, Dave. I promise not to go cry in a corner because you've pissed me off yet again.

I'll work and take pictures. You shut up before I go drink your stupid soy milk, rearrange the chairs and mess up the perfect order of things in your bathroom.

Until next time.

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