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The Creator!
Who was Dave Cockrum? Dave Cockrum created (among other things) The Futurians.
He is also listed as being the co-creator of the New X-men. Of designing Wolverine's iconic unmasked look. And injecting new life into the Legion of  Super-Heroes with  innovative, spectacular designs for their costumes and their world.
 
That's the "official" statement. The "legal" statement approved by lawyers, coroporate execs and the like.
 
To my mind, Dave Cockrum created a whole lot more that that. He was greatly involved in the first Wildfire story and designed his costume. So I'm counting that as a co-creation.
 
He created the look of  the Star Jammers who have had their own mini-series and are an integral part of the X-men franchise.
 
Like-wise, the Imperial Guard (who I'm surprised have never spun off into their own series).
 
The Black Cat's look sprung from his voluminous sketch book.
 
And most notably, redesigning the costume of  Ms. Marvel. A design that far outlived her actual series.
 
These are only the things I'm aware of. I'm sure he's responsible for much more behind the scenes.
 
While these accomplishments are enormous and their effects on the comics industry cannot be calculated, they are not his greatest achievement.
 
To my mind, Dave Cockrum's greatest achievement was remaining a nice man in a not-so-nice business. In an industry that seems to value cynicism and rewards contempt Dave Cockrum owns a legacy of decency. And that's something no one can take away.
 


Cockrum Memories
 
This web-page wouldn't exist if not for Dave Cockrum. And I mean that in more ways than one.

You see, up until I was 10 years old I wanted to be a scientist when I grew up (like Spock!) But then I picked up Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #197 in a D.C. 3-pack.

And that was it for me. In that instant I simultaneously became a fan of The Legion, Cockrum and consumed with the desire to work in the comics' industry.

This is the Panel that did it: The Timber Wolf costume. No one other than Cockrum ever did that hairstyle in a way that didn't look ridiculous.


And that same issue introduced the coolest Villian I'd ever seen: Tyr!


Sure, it could be said that Cockrum swiped from the best: Wally Wood's influence was there ...


as well as Gil Kane's and Neal Adam's.


And I always had a suspicion that Murphy Anderson inked those legion tales, not Cockrum. But the end result was still galvanizing for me. And while Cockrum had his influences, he definitely had his own expression.

At Marvel there was Giant Size Avengers #2. The climax to the Celestial Madonna storyline. A wonderful job with an uncredited inking job by The Crusty Bunkers (Neal Adams and friends).

And then there's the X-men. What can I possibly say about Cockrum's contribution to the Marvel stable of character's that would be even remotely adequate? Is it even possible to think about Marvel without the All New, All Different X-men? The title took a company that was on top and pushed them waaaaaaay over the top. I can't even begin to imagine what Marvel would look like without the X-men franchise.

As much as I liked Cockrum's initial run on the book, I really liked when he took over Ms. Marvel and re-designed her costume. I think the reason she keeps coming back is because everyone loves that costume. I think if Cockrum had come on a little earlier to that book, or if it was after Claremont became a superstar writer, Ms. Marvel would have never been cancelled.

Behind it all, I think I always wanted to do something that Cockrum would approve of. I met him several times over the years and the closest thing I came to a compliment from him was "I almost want to like this"

My favorite Cockrum moment was when Bob Downs and I were up at Defiant comics for some reason and he was there. He had done a Warriors of Plasm Graphic novel for the company and was doing corrections on a page. I took that moment to really let him know how much I loved his work. He looked really, honestly, happy and flattered to hear my words. He reached out and grabbed my hand and shook it. And then we parted company. It was a great moment for me.

And now he's gone. And I feel the last of a great era is going with him. I hope the end brought him some peace and relief from the "thousand shocks that man is heir to". I guess there's no more else to say.