. . . was when I read the Rocketeer by Dave Stevens, who used Bettie Page as the visual model for his main character's girlfriend. So I knew what she looked like before I knew who she was, thanks (once again) to comic books. And Dave Stevens, who died of leukemia this past week, at the way-too-young age of 52.
Stevens was one of those rare pencillers who put the art in artwork; when the first issue of Rocketeer came out, I had no idea what it was about, so I opened it up to see whether the art was any good. (This has always been my routine. I'm a sucker for good drawing; I'll buy a crappily written comic any day if it's visually appealing. What makes it visually appealing? Style, mostly.) So imagine my delight when I opened up Rocketeer and saw pages like this:
And the story lived up to the art. Uncredited appearances by The Shadow and Doc Savage; Bettie Page as the heroine. How could I not love it?
And Rondo Hatton as the thug.
The one good thing about the 1991 movie (besides Timothy Dalton's Errol-Flynn-as-Nazi-spy part)? They got Jennifer Connelly to play Jenny.