DAVE STEVENS and the Greatest BATMAN Cover There Never Was

The late artist was born 67 years ago…

UPDATED 7/29/22: The late, great Dave Stevens was born 67 years ago on July 29, 1955. Perfect time to re-present this piece from 2021. Dig it! — Dan

The things you find when you’re plumbing the depths of the internet for no particular reason.

Dig this Dave Stevens commission of a Golden Age Detective Comics cover that never existed:

That’s just plain too good and I’m gobsmacked that DC has, as far as I know, never used it for a Detective Comics variant cover.

You got your serial-era Batman, your Conrad Veidt-looking Joker and what certainly could be a Hedy Lamarr Catwoman. (The Batman could be either Lewis Wilson in 1943 or Robert Lowery in 1949, but the belt is closer to Wilson’s version and the trade dress certainly gives it an early-’40s feel. But no matter, all things considered.)

Veidt in The Man Who Laughs

I’ve not been able to trace much info on it other than it dates back to 2002 and that Adam Hughes colored it (that’s a Dynamic Duo). If you’ve got good info, post it in the comments.

Meanwhile, last week we ran a quartet of stories about the seminal ’80s series Who’s Who, by Robert Greenberger, who was deeply involved in the project. (The Who’s Who Omnibus came out last week.)

In any event, the late Stevens’ Catwoman entry was listed among Bob’s 13 FAVORITE PAGES (click here).

I’m posting it here again because in my cybertravels, I also found a fully colored version:

Not sure who the colorist is — there are pros Frank Martin and Laura Martin out there, but it also could be the work of a talented fan. Again, if you have info, I wanna hear it. (UPDATED: Check out Doug Hazlewood’s comment below!)

And if you’re wondering whether Stevens indeed based his Catwoman on Hedy Lamarr — who is said to be an inspiration for the original — check out these pix and judge for yourself.

I vote yes.


— The Curious Case of When SUPERMAN Met the ROCKETEER. Click here.

— How NEAL ADAMS Opened the Door for DAVE STEVENS. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Gary Martin is an inker who does recreations and has a book about comic book inking (I have it). That is his recreation. That is definitely his signature. He’s my Facebook friend.

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  2. Is that real? I know there are a couple artists doing reinterpretations of covers in Steven’s’ style, but I’m sure that the Stevens Estate would have publicized this if it, indeed, was a Dave Stevens drawing. There was a rejected Wonder Woman cover he did draw, because I owned the original art for it a few years ago.

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  3. Hedy Lamar was somewhat less famous for developing the frequency-hopping method of electronic communication that WIFI, Bluetooth and GPS are based on. She created it in 1941.

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  4. Would have loved a Batman-Rocketeer story set in 1939. The Stevens Detective cover is Bat-tastic

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  5. The black & white version of the faux cover is in one of the Dave Stevens sketchbooks, but I forget which one.

    As for the Who’s Who piece, I’ve always thought the Selina face and the Catwoman face didn’t match. Dave’s ex-wife, scream queen Brinke Stevens, often complained that Dave drew her body and stuck someone else’s head on it. On the who’s who pic, I think the Catwoman face looks a lot like Brinke and the figure resembles hers as well. You may be right on the Selina face.

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  6. DC should’ve used his Detective Comics cover as a variant for Detective Comics #1000. Then again, this is the same company that shot down Dave Stevens’ proposed Superman/Rocketeer team up because they wanted him to use Modern Day Superman and Steve wanted to set it in 1938 using, naturally, 1938 Superman.

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  7. It’s real. I colored it FOR Dave Stevens, so it’s 100% the real deal.

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    • Awesome! Thanks for confirming, Adam! I know there are a couple artists right now who can ape Dave’s style almost perfectly, so I was a little concerned this was one by one of them. Thank you!

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  8. That’s a Gary Martin recreation of Dave’s Catwoman Who’s Who piece. NOTt Dave’s original. And that’s not the correct colors either. Laura Martin colored it for Dave Stevens: Brush With Passion. I can provide corrected images if desired.

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  9. This Detective Comics cover was original done by Dave as a private commission for a collector. Adam’s colors were originally done for a proposed limited edition print to be sold through ACME that didn’t work out. The colored version does appear in Dave Stevens: Brush With Passion tho.

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  10. If you look at the figures of Batman and Catwoman that Dave drew, those are pretty much the same as on a cover for Spicy Adventures pulp magazine cover from August 1940 by H. J. Ward…here’s a link to the image:

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