He shall be fire and life forever...
November 26, 2006 4:49 PM   Subscribe

David Cockrum has passed on. The cause of death was apparently complications from diabetes; he died peacefully, in his sleep. Comics fans would know him from a number of projects, amongst them Giant Size X-Men #1 where he helped introduce Colossus, Storm and Nightcrawler to the world, his run on the Legion of Super Heroes, and possibly his self-published work The Futurians. You can find some nice retrospectives on his career and what he did for Marvel and for DC Comics.
posted by mephron (27 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:57 PM on November 26, 2006

Dave Cockrum: Wiki. Tribute Site. Giant Size X-Men #1.
Man, I loved his stuff. I'm glad he left such a great body of work for us to enjoy. Thanks, Dave.
posted by Zack_Replica at 5:06 PM on November 26, 2006

posted by litlnemo at 5:09 PM on November 26, 2006

One of the greats. His X-Men character designs hold up today, in spite of Marvel's perpetual refitting. No one would know John Byrne's name if he didn't have Cockrum's groundwork to build from on Uncanny.
posted by EatTheWeak at 5:10 PM on November 26, 2006

posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:24 PM on November 26, 2006

posted by kalimac at 5:48 PM on November 26, 2006

I'm not a fan of Cockrum's art, but his utter professionalism is a guidepost for artists to follow.

To be a prick, I hope this means that his wife will be quiet now. She's kind of crazy, and not in the fun way.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 5:53 PM on November 26, 2006

His was the definitive Nightcrawler, in look and in attitude.
posted by grabbingsand at 6:14 PM on November 26, 2006

posted by cerebus19 at 6:17 PM on November 26, 2006

posted by DragonBoy at 6:31 PM on November 26, 2006

Back in 2004, The Comics Journal published a report of the deal Marvel was pressured into to help with Cockrum's medical bills. After initial reluctance, Marvel wound up doing the right thing, but only after the threat of a serious publicity black eye surrounding the creator of one of their most lucrative franchises, and only after getting Cockrum to agree to keep quiet about the details, probably out of fear that Marvel would then be forced to pay other creators for the work they did back in the day:

"When Clifford contacted me, I realized we had to do something dramatic," [Neal] Adams told the Journal. "We talked about the possibility of contacting Marvel. Dave talked to Joe Quesada, but Marvel passed on doing a [cash] donation."

...Another solution, suggested to Marvel by Adams, was to put Cockrum on a royalty plan that would compensate him over a period of time for his past creative work. The down side of this plan to Marvel, beyond its immediate cost, was that it would mean retroactively extending its "incentives" policy to cover creative work done by Cockrum during a period prior to the policy's implementation. If Cockrum were to receive royalty-like payments for that period, then what about Len Wein, who wrote some of the same comics that Cockrum drew -- or any number of creators who worked on and designed characters for Marvel comics during the same period? Adams pressed Marvel on the matter, armed with knowledge of other precedents, similar royalty-like arrangements that Marvel had extended to X-Men writer Chris Claremont and artist Michael Golden -- but Marvel was anxious not to slide any further down that slippery slope...

"Initially Marvel didn't want to talk about this stuff," said Meth. "It reached a point where Marvel wouldn't talk to Neal. Neal was the Bad Cop."

...At no time, according to Adams and Meth, was Marvel threatened with legal action challenging Marvel's copyrights over characters created or co-created by Cockrum. But the potential of that threat and the terrible publicity that would accompany a legal challenge to Marvel's X-Men franchise by a desperately sick and penniless creator was nevertheless hovering in the air when Quesada paid a personal visit to Cockrum and Meth at the veteran's hospital..."The VA is better than nothing, but it's a hell of a place," Meth told the Journal. "As we were leaving, I said to Joe, 'Wouldn't this be a terrific place for a press conference?' I think he understood the implications of that.

RIP, Dave. As a kid, I really loved Nightcrawler, Storm and Colossus, and resonated deeply with the X-Men relaunch. I can't thank you enough.
posted by mediareport at 6:34 PM on November 26, 2006

Man, I was never much of a fan of Dave Cockrum's work, but over time I realized that he was solid and consistant and provided the foundation of a bunch of stuff I really liked. His wife comes across as a complete nutbag... but I am sorry for her loss.
posted by squidfartz at 6:38 PM on November 26, 2006

posted by Faint of Butt at 6:50 PM on November 26, 2006

posted by spinifex23 at 6:54 PM on November 26, 2006

I liked Cockrum's Banshee from that era. There are not enough Irish mutants.
posted by meehawl at 6:55 PM on November 26, 2006

posted by econous at 6:57 PM on November 26, 2006

posted by Phlogiston at 7:45 PM on November 26, 2006

His wife comes across as a complete nutbag

Yeah, Paty has made a number of loud, irrational statements regarding anti-Semitism in comics and in X-Men in particular, when anything more than a casual reading of the comics and knowledge of the history of their creators indicates otherwise.

There are not enough Irish mutants.

They killed off Banshee earlier in the year, messily.
posted by solid-one-love at 8:10 PM on November 26, 2006

I always liked his work. More at Mark Evanier's site.

Rest in Peace
posted by Scoo at 8:11 PM on November 26, 2006

Not to overload the thread, but Mark Evanier's stories about his life are absolutely amazing... especially the old school comedy stuff. I met him once at a Comicon and he was really nice to me. I always appreciated that.

Evanier's life would make a great movie. Seriously.
posted by squidfartz at 8:26 PM on November 26, 2006

There are not enough Irish mutants.

I lived with one senior year of college. His ability was a Cypher-style freakish aptitude for Madden '96.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:28 PM on November 26, 2006

When Cockrum was active I was more into the illustrative artists: Kaluta, Wrightson, Williamson, etc. But as I got older I appreciated him more. Just good, basic visual storytelling. You could tell what in the heck was going on in his comics. He really was a pro. RIP
posted by marxchivist at 8:34 PM on November 26, 2006

Here's the splash page from X-Men 107. I really loved his stuff as a kid.
posted by doctor_negative at 8:52 PM on November 26, 2006

I was actually a Futurians fan there for a bit. Where as other comic book writers of that era came off as pretty full of themselves (Byrne) or so steeped in angst that you felt embarassed for them (Claremont), Cockrum seemed more like the bright eyed teenage fanboy, maybe just a touch too exhuberant about the superhero team and the universe he'd created. I mean, he did the graphic novel for Marvel and then Marvel passed on doing the series, but that didn't stop him. It was his superhero team and, damnit, it was gonna get published. Maybe things looked different from his perspective and at that time (the eighties), but can you imagine any artist/writer today giving up an enviable career at Marvel to go self publish with the equivelant of Lodestone (An outfit even most serious comic book geeks of that era had never heard of)?

RIP, Dave.
posted by Clay201 at 9:45 PM on November 26, 2006

Clay - I've got some issues of Futurians in an old longbox recently rescued from my parents! This might be a good night to go back and reread them!
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:58 PM on November 26, 2006

Oh, hell. That sucks. Cockrum was one of the first artists I was ever able to recognize immediately by style. Adios, man; you did good work.
posted by COBRA! at 7:00 AM on November 27, 2006

My heart broke just a little bit when I read that he died in his Batman pj's, covered in a Superman blanket, and he was to be buried (cremated?) in a Green Lantern shirt.

posted by msali at 6:46 PM on November 29, 2006

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