Friday, December 01, 2006

More Cockrum memories

I'm pleasantly surprised at the outpouring of affection shown to Dave Cockrum on his passing, especially from the media (except for those who play up the "he died in his Superman jammies" angle). Here are a few more remembrances:

Mike Grell:

Dave left an indelible four-color mark on the comic industry. I owe much of my own career to the fortuitous timing of Dave's departure from the Legion of Superheroes, which opened the door for me to make my big break. Dave was on to bigger and better things - among them co-creating X-Men characters Storm, Colossus and Nightcrawler - and his groundbreaking work has been an inspiration to generations of artists who followed.
...
They say you're never truly dead as long as there's one person who remembers you. Somewhere, someday, a kid is going to crawl into the attic and find his grandfather's stash of comics. When he opens his first Dave Cockrum book, he's going to be astounded.

And that, my friends, is as close as you can get to immortality.

David Miller (David Miller Studios at MSN dot com), in an email posted with permission:
Mike, here is my tribute to Dave Cockrum.

Well, as we all know, Dave Cockrum has passed on. And as we all know, I was a huge fan of his work.

Up until I was 10 years old I wanted to be a scientist when I grew up (like Spock!) But then I picked up Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #197 in a D.C. 3-pack.

And that was it for me. In that instant I simultaneously became a fan of The Legion, Cockrum and consumed with the desire to work in the comics' industry as an artist.

This is the Panel that did it: The Timber Wolf costume. No one other than Cockrum ever did that hairstyle in a way that didn't look ridiculous.


And that same issue introduced the coolest Villian I'd ever seen: Tyr!


Sure, it could be said that Cockrum swiped from the best: Wally Wood's influence was there ...


as well as Gil Kane's and Neal Adam's.


And I always had a suspicion that Murphy Anderson inked those legion tales, not Cockrum. But the end result was still galvanizing for me. And while Cockrum had his influences, he definitely had his own expression.

And at Marvel there was Giant Size Avengers #2. The climax to the Celestial Madonna storyline. A wonderful job with an uncredited inking job by The Crusty Bunkers (Neal Adams and friends).

And then there's the X-men. What can I possibly say about Cockrum's contribution to the Marvel stable of character's that would be even remotely adequate? Is it even possible to think about Marvel without the All New, All Different X-men? The title took a company that was on top and pushed them waaaaaaay over the top. I can't even begin to imagine what the company would look like without the X-men franchise.

And as much as I liked Cockrum's initial run on the book, I really liked when he took over Ms. Marvel and re-designed her costume. I think the reason she keeps coming back is because everyone loves that costume. I think if Cockrum had come on a little earlier to that book, or if it was after Claremont became a superstar writer, Ms. Marvel would have never been cancelled.

Behind it all, I think I always wanted to do something that Cockrum would approve of. I met him several times over the years and the closest thing I came to a compliment from him was "I almost want to like this"

My favorite Cockrum moment was when Bob Downs and I were up at Defiant comics for some reason and he was there. He had done a Warriors of Plasm Graphic novel for Shooter and was doing corrections on a page. I took that moment to really let him know how much I loved his work. He looked really, honestly, happy and flattered to hear my words. He reached out and grabbed my hand and shook it. And then we parted company. It was a great moment for me.

I saw Cockrum a couple of years ago at Heroes Con. Watching him confined to a wheel chair, on Oxygen . . . it just seemed so unfair. I showed him my Legion cartoon I made. But in his condition, I couldn't tell if he could enjoy it or not.

And now he's gone. And I feel the last of a great era is going with him. I hope the end brought him some peace and relief from the "thousand shocks that man is heir to". I guess there's no more else to say.

David Miller

Brad Parnell reminded me of an article he wrote for Fanzing in 2001, which goes into more detail about the Legion's transition from the Silver to Bronze Age with the arrival of Dave Cockrum.

You have to dig into the Daily Bugle to see that Marvel Comics has a nice tribute from Joe Quesada and the X-office. It would have been nice if DC put something on its page, but it's been a week and nothing yet.

Finally, to end this installment, here's the famous 2-page Legion wedding spread (click to enlarge):

1 comment:

Garth Ranzz said...

DC has mentioned it, just not publicly. In their Direct Channel newsletter they gave a very brief mention to Dave. "Pete Ross" posted it over at Legion World, taken from a Yahoo Group.