Superman Through the Ages! Forum

The Superman Family! => The Legion of Super-Heroes => Topic started by: Super Monkey on November 27, 2006, 12:05:46 AM

Title: Dave Cockrum RIP
Post by: Super Monkey on November 27, 2006, 12:05:46 AM
According to several sources, legendary X-Men and comic book artist Dave Cockrum passed away in his sleep last night, his death a result of diabetes and its resultant complications. He was 63 years old.

Cockrum, a fixture of the American Comics scene in the ‘70s was born in Oregon to a father who was a lieutenant colonel in the US Air Force. As a result, Cockrum traveled frequently as a child, which allowed comic books to provide some semblance of stability from city to city.

Following his father into the military, Cockrum served in the Navy for six years following high school, and then entered comics and publishing, first at Warren Publishing, and then as an assistant inker to Murphy Anderson at DC Comics. It was during this period that Cockrum’s art became known with the Legion of Super-Heroes, helping them to move from their Silver Age roots into a more modern look.

While his Legion work is widely known to Legion fans, Cockrum will forever be known as the artist who, with Len Wein, and later with Chris Claremont, created the new X-Men, and redefined both the existing characters and revitalized the world of the mutants and the franchise for Marvel. Cockrum had two major stints as artist on Uncanny X-Men, from Giant-Size X-Men #1 in 1975 through 1977, and then from 1981-1983.

Though he had worked less and less in comics in recent years, Cockrum had never left the hearts of his fans, as they rallied around him when it was announced in 2004 that he was seriously ill due to complications from diabetes and pneumonia. A benefit book and action was held, while Marvel Comics announced that it would pay Cockrum retroactively for his work in design and co-creation of the new X-Men.

According to Clifford Meth, a family friend of Dave and his wife, Patty, there is no information about a funeral service at this time. According to his wishes, Cockrum will be cremated, and those wishing to send messages to Patty are asked to e-mail them to: rather than calling.


Title: Re: Dave Cockrum RIP
Post by: TELLE on November 27, 2006, 09:45:35 AM
Sad news.  Still young, really.  Rest in Peace.

I'm glad we talked about Cockrum here recently (on the occasion of his last birthday, as I recall) and his impact on the Legion and X-Men, especially costume design.

The Comics Reporter has a nice obit that also talks about his early fanzine days and rumours of a Futurians project that was in development.

I think Mark Evanier also had a short memoir at

For my part, I came to Cockrum late --decades after his runs on X-Men and the Legion, so his artwork never had a formative impact on me or my love of superheroes.  His designs for those characters, especially the X-Men that I read when drawn by Byrne, are what will remain memorable for me.  I know that Jaime Hernandez was influenced by his design sense as well and I love Hernandez's versions of some of the Legion ladies that appeared in the DC Who's Who books back in the 80s.  I look forward to going back and revisiting those Cockrum Legion stories now and absorb his fresh take on a future filled with handsome, fashionable heroes. 

Title: Re: Dave Cockrum RIP
Post by: TELLE on November 27, 2006, 09:58:37 AM
Our most recent discussion was about Ferro Lad:

Title: Re: Dave Cockrum RIP
Post by: nightwing on November 27, 2006, 10:37:57 AM
Very sad news.  I know Dave had been in poor health for a few years now, but I was kind of hoping the lack of news recently was a good thing.

One of the first comics to make a big impression on my young mind was the phenomenal Superboy (starring the Legion of Superheroes) #198, wherein the Fatal Five and assorted Legionnaires come back in time to Superboy's Smallville and Superboy ends up seemingly killed by the Persuader's axe.  So many great images in that book, like Superboy and Lana on a date at a visiting carnival, the Legionnaires showing up in a time bubble, Superboy's body being released from a statue in the middle of town.  And of course in those days an axe was still a very shocking and scary thing to see in a comic book.

I only got in one or two more Cockrum issues after that, then it was Mike Grell's turn on the book (at the time I preferred him...with hindsight I see he was never as good).  In recent years I've tracked down most of the rest of Dave's run and I have to say it was better than his X-Men work. 

I also dug Dave's run on Blackhawk back in the 80s, and that one terrific team-up between Earth-2 Batman and the war-era Blackhawks in Brave and the Bold.

If it's possible to be a "fan favorite" and be somehow under-appreciated at the same time, I think that's how I'd describe Dave Cockrum.  I'd say "he'll be missed," but some of us have been missing him already for years.

BTW, I didn't remember that Superboy issue number so I looked it up on the Grand Comics Database.  Imagine my disappointment to find an announcement there that we've also lost Dr. Jerry Bails!  :'(

Title: Re: Dave Cockrum RIP
Post by: Permanus on November 27, 2006, 12:30:32 PM
I first became aware of Dave Cockrum at the age of ten or so, when the Spider-Man issue introducing the Black Cat first appeared; her costume had been designed by Cockrum, or as I then thought he was called, Dave Cockru the Third, because in his signature, he wrote the M as three sharp strokes. It's been nearly impossible for me to think of him any other way ever since.

Once I had noted it, his name seemed to appear everywhere; he seemed tireless and prolific. I'm sorry to learn he was so ill and that died at such a relatively youthful age.

Title: Re: Dave Cockrum RIP
Post by: TELLE on November 28, 2006, 11:59:51 PM
Heidi MacDonald's blog at Publisher's Weekly, The Beat (, has a link to an obit by Clifford Meth at the Silverbullet site.  It talks about how Cockrum didn't have any money for medical treatment and basically died for lack of a kidney (surprising to me since I thought he was a veteran and entitled to what passes for health insurance in the U.S.).  He did get a settlement/royalties for X-Men, based on the movies or something, although neither Marvel or DC posted a notice on their website about his passing.  CNN covered it, though.
Following the settlement, Dave’s last three years were spent in South Carolina. He and his wife Paty moved there, from upstate New York, to get away from the cold. Dave spent most of his days in a wheelchair watching television, rarely drawing, reading when he could. He had dialysis on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays—a four- to five-hour affair that always left him drained and exhausted. He knew that a new kidney might change his life, but hoping for one at his age (and in his condition) was like hoping to win the Lotto, and the odds were just about the same. So he had no illusions.
Despite the ailments and the lack of funds, Dave stayed happy. Not to say there weren’t bouts of depression, but following the comics’ industry tribute that all of you out there in comics land gave him, Dave felt somehow fulfilled. He knew he hadn’t been forgotten. Indeed, Dave discovered an entire new generation of fans on the web who were only too eager to talk with him. So when he could, he’d answer questions and make new e-mates across the i-planet. He refused to be bitter about anything. The nastiest thing I ever heard him say was, “I wish I had John Byrne’s money and he had my feet.” (

Title: Re: Dave Cockrum RIP
Post by: DoctorZero on January 01, 2007, 09:24:41 PM
He also did some excellent issues of Giant Sized Avengers.  His run on the Legion was a brief one but is still membered today by many fans.