Groovy comics
November 30, 2012 10:08 AM   Subscribe

Belts, boots, collars, gauntlets and flared, flared shoulders, a treasure trove of Dave Cockrum art, the artist who made the X-Men popular, all from 1975 to 1985.
posted by MartinWisse (28 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
tee-hee. (slightly NSFW)
posted by kbanas at 10:17 AM on November 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know, it's weird.

The first comic I bought that got me into reading comics was Classic X-Men (the series that was just a reprint of X-Men starting with the ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT X-MEN!! issue), uh, maybe 36? Anyway it was the second issue of the Dark Phoenix saga. It was on the spinner rack at a convenience store in my town and I'd just seen Pryde of the X-Men on TV - my first exposure to the X-Men at all - and loved Nightcrawler, and this issue happened to have him in it, so I bought it and took it home. I was hooked. I loved it. I bought subsequent issues for a long, long time and also filled in the blanks by saving up my allowance and going to my local comic shop and picking up the previous 35 issues.

Whenever I hear the name "Dave Cockrum," what I mostly think of is how very used to John Byrne's art I'd gotten - the guy's personal opinions are kind of gross in a lot of ways but his art, oh, his art. I loved his art. There was something about it that made Claremont's overwrought prose tolerable. Some weird alchemy. I still couldn't really tell you what it was about Byrne's art that I loved so much.

Anyway, I think of that and I think of how the back issues had Cockrum's work and then how he took over when Byrne left. For whatever reason, I remember Cockrum's work as being just really stiff; kind of old-fashioned in some weird way compared to Byrne's whole dynamic thing.

Now that I'm much older and looking at a cross section of Cockrum's art for the first time in a really long time, I can safely say I have no idea what the hell was wrong with me at that age, because his art is fantastic.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:21 AM on November 30, 2012


That brings back a lot of memories I didn't know I had of X-Men back issues I read in college. Thanks.
posted by immlass at 10:25 AM on November 30, 2012


Well looky here, alternate Phoenix costumes...
posted by the painkiller at 10:43 AM on November 30, 2012


Cockrum's stint on the X-Men overlaps almost exactly with my primary and secondary school years. As a kid, I paid no attention to artists, but now I see that Cockrum's art more or less forms exactly what my idea of comic books look like. This is the Platonic ideal, of which all others are shoddy variations (some much shoddier).
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:44 AM on November 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


> (some much shoddier)

I knew that was going to be a Rob Liefeld link.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:49 AM on November 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


When drawing Nightie from the front, DO NOT connect the tail directly to his crotch. You'll give the Code fits and John Romita ulcers.

Loving this.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:52 AM on November 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Here's a neat article showcasing a batch of character designs Cockrum made as a fan and pro that made their way into the X-Men.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:07 AM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


ALL NEW GIANT SIZE X-MEN THREAD?

I'm in!
posted by Artw at 11:24 AM on November 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I love Warren Worthington III flipping a massive bird.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:26 AM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cockrum's art more or less forms exactly what my idea of comic books look like.

Looking through the blog yesterday I had that exact same feeling, especially as I discovered a great many familiar pieces I didn't know where Cockrum's. I only started paying serious attention to American comics in the late eighties, but thanks to local licencees being years behind and loads and loads of cheap back issues, I read a lot of seventies stuff as well. His art must've been a large part of it.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:34 AM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Flubba? Flubba!

This is not even remotely the sound that breasts hitting a face sounds like.

Not. Even. Remotely.
posted by Faintdreams at 11:52 AM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Interesting art though :)
posted by Faintdreams at 11:52 AM on November 30, 2012


I knew that was going to be a Rob Liefeld link.

Liefeld is the Platonic ideal of shoddy comics art. Where are the feet? Why all the pouches? How could she bend her back like that? So many questions...
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:14 PM on November 30, 2012


Cockrum's art more or less forms exactly what my idea of comic books look like.

Totally. Not just Cockrum though. That whole era was great. I got into comics when John Romita jr was passing the torch to Ron Frenz on Spider-man and Mark Silvestri took up X-men and those artists really set my expectations for what I wanted a comic to look like. It's pretty much the style of comics from the mid 1970s to the late 80s. I also liked Art Adams, John Byrne and Walt Simonson. When comics stopped looking like that I lost interest. I kind of liked Todd McFarlane's art on Spider-man at the time but I've cooled on it since. Looking back on his style it kind of seems like his influence helped create the monstrosity of Rob Liefeld and others like him.

I miss good comics.
posted by wabbittwax at 12:18 PM on November 30, 2012


Man, that Liefeld image of Captain America is something else. Has he not ever seen a human?
posted by wabbittwax at 12:24 PM on November 30, 2012


Most of the superhero comics I see at the library where I work look like they're slapped together from clip art and computer graphics training manuals.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:27 PM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


At 43, I now know the name of the artist who drew my childhood.

Cockrum's art more or less forms exactly what my idea of comic books look like.

Cosign.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 12:36 PM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


The limited colors of the old comics, I think, really forced artists to think a little about anatomy and composition. Pick up Greg Horn's cover for Emma Frost (which was aimed at kids, mind) and it's a riot of computerized colors and weird anatomy. Shading and highlights don't do much if the anatomy's so-so.
posted by lineofsight at 12:41 PM on November 30, 2012


I used to dislike Cockrum's art. I even went through a phase of disliking Kirby.

But as I grew out of my single-digit years, I started to really appreciate what each of them were doing for the form. Cockrum is so sweeping and muscular, while Kirby is literally punching his way out of the page. And while I came to admire the precision of George Perez and Art Adams, the humanity of John Byrne and Neal Adams, there is something so human and wonderful about Cockrum. I think that came from the fact that he was a fan first.
posted by grabbingsand at 12:58 PM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is not even remotely the sound that breasts hitting a face sounds like.

I believe that the canonical onomatopoeia is "BLOUNGE!", if I remember my mid-'90s rec.arts.tv.mst3k.misc newsgroup slang correctly.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:48 PM on November 30, 2012


'SPUNG' if hit by nipple of course.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:09 PM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love this. Love, love.

Dave Cockrum had a splendid imagination and the skills to match. I remember talking with Alan Davis briefly at a con; he spoke of the happiness he felt when Cockrum told him he "got" Nightcrawler.

The end of Cockrum's story is sad; he died from complications of diabetes at only 63. When he was hospitalised in 2004, pressure from his colleagues, including artist Clifford Meth, finally induced Marvel to cough up a settlement for back royalties on the X-Men characters he created and co-created.

Tonight I'll dive back into the splendidly colourful land of the X-Men, and inwardly thank him once more.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:59 PM on November 30, 2012


Man, Dave sure loved Pirates, didn't he? The boots, the sashes,, the ridiculously large belt buckles, they all remind of Captain Blood and The Three Musketeers movies.
posted by KingEdRa at 8:37 PM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hulk want Dinah Shore.
posted by Spatch at 9:55 PM on November 30, 2012


Oh, Cockrum and Mark Silvestri are my two favourite X-Men artists, and probably that's because they were the first two I read, Cockrum in B&W Murray Comics bumper reprints of the rebooted X-Men, and that led me into seeking out the then (current-ish) X-Men. One of the first I got opened with a splash of Peter sketching the X-Men on a rock in downtown Glasgow(?) after battles with Cain Marko and, IIRC, the Mutant Massacre. They were a team crushed, and I lept on that.

Byrne's art... I've seen less of, and while I like it in other things (Alpha Flight, FF, and his West Coast Avengers run), but it never spoke to me as X-Men art in the same way.

I love the disco X-Men costumes, as impractical as they are.
posted by Mezentian at 11:27 PM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just love the faces in this sketch.
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:54 AM on December 1, 2012


Not to be a downer, but his Dr Who images are average to awful. That's Ben Franklin, not Hartnell.
posted by Mezentian at 2:56 AM on December 1, 2012


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