Sunday, November 26, 2006

Dave Cockrum (1943-2006)

I was saddened to hear of the passing of a very important but widely unknown comics artist this weekend, Dave Cockrum.

I know, you've never heard of him. And, quite possibly, you've never read his work. But you know his creations. As the artist on the relaunch of the X-Men in the 1970s (after a time where the book was basically dead, publishing monthly reprints of old comics instead of new material), he co-created many of the series' most enduringly popular characters, and revitalized the concept in a way that is still being built upon today.

While writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne refined and defined what the X-Men were (and, in most ways, continue to be today), the "new" team of the 1970s was created by two men whose contributions are largely overlooked: Cockrum and writer Len Wein. The pair co-created most of the "new" X-Men including three characters that have appeared in myriad cartoon, videogame, and movie variations on the X-Men: Nightcrawler, Colossus, and perhaps most importantly (for a few reasons) Storm. This comic is one of the single most important of the last century, and this cover by Cockrum one of the most beautifully iconic.

Cockrum died after a long battle with diabetes. He will be missed and remembered.


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