Dave Cockrum, legendary artist and co-creator of such characters as Storm, Nightcrawler, the Starjammers and many more, died on Saturday of complications from diabetes. He was 63.

Cockrum had been in ill-health for years, but continued to appear at conventions as a popular guest. Despite his lasting achievements in comics, Cockrum lived in poverty for a while, until the comics industry (incuding Marvel) rallied to allow him to spend his last years in a bit more comfort. We haven’t the facilities to link to the number of tributes on the web, but Clifford Meth, who was a great friend of the Cockrum family in later years, has a fine remembrance here.

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.â€?


  1. I bitched about this elsewhere, excuse me whilst I bitch some more:

    Where’s the memoriam for Dave Cockrum on the Marvel Comics website?

    The man co-created one of their biggest franchises and there’s not one word of his passing on their clunky, obnoxious website.

    Another sad reminder that the industry will never recognize what drives it.

    (hopefully as the day or week progresses, I will be proven wrong)

  2. This is extremely sad news. Cockrum’s work on the Legion knocked my socks off when I was 12. The current cartoon series could have used all sorts of designs–guess who they took most of their inspiration from? I never met the man, but his legacy will never fail to impress me.

  3. Not to take away from Matt D.’s point. It is a fine one. But does DC’s site have anything in that regard either?

  4. As the news spread around Mid-Ohio-Con, where Dave had been a guest a few years back, dozens of fans, pros, and members of our con crew, came over to tell me how much they liked Dave personally. He only appeared at the show once, but he made a lasting impression.

    Evanier and I talked about him a lot. Dave was one of my first fandom pals. We “met” when we were all contributing to The Yancy Street Gazette, a Marvel fanzine of the late 1960s. The first time we met face-to-face was when he invited me to visit him at Murphy Anderson’s studio, Dave being Murphy’s assistant. So I got to meet two of the classiest and nicest guys in comics on the same day. I’m gonna miss Dave a lot.


  5. Justin,

    Nope, nothing on the DC site either.

    I hate to add typical internet bitching and moaning to such heartfelt personal remanences, but both companies should be deeply ashamed of themselves.

    It reminds me of that Comics Journal article from way back, where they printed Jim Shooter’s testimony saying that The Company was the true author of the work.

    It’s very sad to go to both companies websites and see them feverishly hawking their latest wares with no mention of Mr. Cockrum.

    Ah well.

  6. Don’t expect too much to be made of this by the mainstream media – it’s not their bag.

    The relationship between Dave and his fans was special and personal, and his passing was like losing a member of the family.

    How many other people in the spotlight can make that claim?

    That’s what I thought.

    It would be disrespectful to Dave to have his name blasted all over the same medium that never gave him a moment’s mention before his passing. Let some other story boost their ratings since that’s all they care about anyway.

    Thank you, Dave and thank you Paty for sharing him with us. He DID make the world a better place – another quality not shared by 90% of the people mentioned by the status quo.

  7. I spent most of the New York Con 2 Saturdays ago talking to Mercy Van Vlack and her husband about how much I loved Dave Cockrum.She regaled me with some of her personal experiences with Dave.The man was responsible for so much he never got credit for.I WOULD HAVE GIVEN HIM A KIDNEY.I WOULD.Especially if it meant he would keep drawing.I’ll never forget how much I looked forward to his Legion, even calling DC when I thought my copy of the AMAZING WORLD of DC Comics was lost(it was just late)!I also called DC when I thought their reprint of Daves work was inferior print wise.And its because of Dave that at the age of 47 I am enrolled at the Kuberts school.RIP Dave you have given us so much!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Dave Cockrum touched my life with his great work when I was growing up in the seventies,and his passing along with some recent personal losses has left me sad and nostalgic all at once.I found out about Dave this evening on my MSN homepage,and I immediately went to the Marvel site where I ,too was more than disappointed that there was zero mention of Mr.Cockrum.This is an outrage.
    I’m a 43 year old father of two girls who has been out of the comic loop for many years.I very occasionally buy a modern Marvel or DC publication,but I’m always disillusioned by the “brevity”of the content and the price that went with it.I do try to buy reprints from my day,and in recent years I have immassed a decent collection of Marvel Legend figures that I enjoy having,yet all of this reinforces the fact that those wonderful days of the Marvel and DC comics,along with so much else that folks like me grew up with, now belong to a by-gone era.What a great era it was though.I still remember being blown away by Giant-Size X-Men#1 at the age of 12,and I was a huge fan of the original uncannys.I plan on honoring Dave by finding some of the stories he was involved with,and sharing them with my 8 year old daughter.We both now share a love of the classic heroes genre(X-Men,Avengers,Justice League,etc).Thank you Mr.Cockrum,and rest in peace.You’ll never be forgotten in my house.

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