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Sunday, November 26, 2006

When dies a Dave

I just read over on Tony Collett's blog that Dave Cockrum has died, at the age of 63, from complications arising from diabetes.

This kind of kicks my ass, for many reasons. First, Dave Cockrum's artwork on Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes and early issues of the All New, All Different X-Men is a big, positive part of my adolescence. Second, I've actually met Dave Cockrum on one occasion, at a mini-con in Syracuse NY back sometime in the 1980s. (I also met Joe Sinnot and George Perez on that occasion, and got harangued by then Marvel Comics Direct Sales guru Carol Kalish.)

Somebody named Clifford Meth, who is apparently a close family friend of Cockrum's, has this to say about him:

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.

None of that reflects my experience of Dave Cockrum at the mini-con where I met him; I spent probably twenty minutes sitting across a table from him, listening to him bitch endlessly about George Perez getting all the attention when nobody would even care if Perez hadn't done New Teen Titans, which was an obvious rip off of Cockrum's X-Men. He also pissed and moaned no little bit about how various writers had done their best to ruin his art over the course of his career; one particular anecdote he told me, about Steve Englehart taking a pair of scissors to one particular page of pencils in GIANT SIZE AVENGERS #2 and physically rearranging Dave's panel sequence, has since been confirmed to me by Steve Englehart himself.

Overall, the impression I got was of a surly, petulant, whiney man-child -- something like the Simpson's Comic Book Guy, gone professional.

Still, Mr. Meth most likely knew Mr. Cockrum considerably better than I did.

I admired Mr. Cockrum's artwork enormously in the 1970s, and having actually met him, well, I'm deeply saddened to hear that he's gone from us.

Plus -- Dave Cockrum was 63 years old? Jesus Christ. Now I really want to just go stick my head in the oven...


At 11:27 PM , Blogger MJ Norton said...

Too busy out in the real world from late Saturday on through tonight, I hadn't seen this. I knew he was in bad straits due to diabetes, though, but he'd dropped off my screens.

I had no personal connection to him, and in the long run I came to appreciate his design and general storytelling skills but not much else, I'm a little sad to say. His line style never improved a story for me, and remained something for the writer to overcome.

Cockrum pencils showing up on a title were never something I was happy about. I suspect that if I were to search his credits and then look at each series to see who he took over from I'd find some instance where he was an improvement over the previous artist, but at the moment I'm unaware of such. I mostly recall that X-Men came alive visually for me when Byrne took over and it felt like a huge step backwards when he returned to resume the chores in issue 144.

Still, dying from diabetic complications, worse still at 63, that's a dreadful shame.

At 5:44 AM , Blogger Highlander said...

Cockrum's second run on X-MEN was disappointing to all of us, I think, even his diehard fans. By that point, he was, as so many artists do, 'simplifying' his style, which seems to me to have never worked out well for anyone. But his initial run, especially those issues leading up to #100, I remember very fondly... and his work on Legion back ups, and later, Superboy & The Legion of Superheroes features, is one of the things I remember most fondly from my childhood.

At 6:47 AM , Blogger Elayne said...

Darren, "somebody named" Clifford Meth is actually quite well known in comics. Cliff is the agent for lots of folks, including Dave, and a very good writer in his own right. He counts lots of folks in the industry among his friends, including Dave and Paty. Just thought you should know.

At 8:02 AM , Blogger Highlander said...

Well, thanks, Elayne. It's good to know who Clifford Meth actually is.

At 8:45 AM , Blogger Highlander said...

Okay, a quick Google search does indeed support that Cliff Meth is widely and well known in comics and other types of fandom. So, my apologies to whoever may require such for never having heard of the guy previous to now.

For more information on Dave Cockrum from Mr. Meth, one can go here:


For more info on Mr. Meth himself, one can go here:


Or, for a different viewpoint, one can go here:


As I've said, I know nothing about Mr. Meth. What I know about Dave Cockrum I've already mentioned. And there I'll let things stand.


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