Dave Cockrum, 63, passed away after a long illness on Nov. 26th. As an artist growing up, he was one of my many inspirations that I look up to. His engaging artistic style, motion, realistic and dramatic expressions on the comic books he drew on electrified me when I was growing up reading all sorts of comic books, his stuff really stood out for me. An Internet poster close to the Cockrum family posted this release:
With a heavy heart, I regret to inform you that Dave Cockrum passed away this morning. After a long battle with diabetics and its varied complications, Dave died in his sleep early this morning.
Dave’s many creations—including some of the X-Men’s staple characters—brought tremendous joy to his legion of fans. For three decades, he was a beloved fixture at comics conventions across the country where he would sketch for a pittance and encourage would-be creators. Those of us who knew Dave personally will remember him as one of the sweetest, jovial, most generous individuals in the comics industry. I’ll miss my friend very much.
There are no details of services at this time. Dave asked to be cremated, and his widow Paty is burdened with the news, so well-wishers are asked not to call.
Dave Cockrum was an American comic book artist who, alongside with Len Wein, then Chris Claremont (both comic book writers), truly redesigned and redefined the characters of the Uncanny X-Men in 1975. This is what Dave, along with the late Gil Kane, did with the most famous introduction to the world of these characters: Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Thunderbird, with Cyclop as leader. A copy of Giant Size X-Men #1 comic book, in mint condition, recently sells for $3060 on eBay.com.
The last three X-Men movies we saw on the big screen are truly the reflections of Dave Cockrum’s artistic inspirations of those internationally-casted characters. Before 1975, the Uncanny X-Men were a team of five young American mutants: Cyclop, Jean Grey, the Beast, the Angel and Iceman. In 1975, Dave Cockrum and Len Wein gave the world an international team of young mutants: Storm (Africa), Wolverine (Canada), Nightcrawler (Germany), Colossus (Russia), Banshee (Ireland), Sunfire (Japan) and Thunderbird (Native America), truly the first global cast that became the inspiration for many others to come from the comic book, TV, fiction book and film mediums.
It has been said that it was Dave Cockrum’s stint with a D.C. comic book, the Legion of Super Heroes that gave him the inspiration to create a global team of mutant heroes in the Uncanny X-Men. Although, the Legion of Super Heroes actually composed of super-powered beings, including Superboy, from many different worlds in the Milky Way Galaxy to fight for justice and peace in the 30th century futuristic Earth.
I had a good opportunity to meet Dave Cockrum in person last year at the Mid-Ohio Con, at long last. He was really that jovial, friendly and eager to show off his artworks, in spite of his declining health. So many people came to see him to pay their respects and admiration for this man.
UPDATE – 11.30.2006: CNN report: X-Men illustrator dies in Superman pajamas