Wednesday, November 29, 2006

RIP, Dave Cockrum


I figure everyone else has done a comic-themed post... Why not?

I just wish mine was under happier circumstances.

If you've seen any of the X-Men movies, you've enjoyed his work without knowing it. In 1975, Dave Cockrum, along with writer Len Wein, revived and reinvented a failed Marvel Comics franchise from the 1960's called "X-Men". In doing so, he created a handful of characters that live on today in comic books and movies. Without his work, there might have been no Mystique, no Storm, no Nightcrawler, and no Colossus as featured in the recent X-Men trilogy.

He passed away after a long illness earlier today at age 63... Wearing a pair of Superman pajamas. A family friend told CNN that he made it clear that he wishes to be cremated while wearing a Green Lantern t-shirt.

The best quote from the article about his death on CNN:

Cockrum received no movie royalties, said family friend Clifford Meth, who organized efforts to help Cockrum and his family during his protracted medical care.

"Dave saw the movie and he cried -- not because he was bitter," Meth said. "He cried because his characters were on screen and they were living."

8 comments:

Brassmask said...

Dang.

I remember buying that comic and loving it and buying many hundreds after it.

Cockrum was never my fave but I knew from whence the X-Men flowed.

Very depressing

Blinders Off said...

This is sad news...it would have been nice for him to live to see the "Green Lantern" on the big screen.

I held on to several of his Green Lantern comic books dating back approximately 30 years because I was crazy about the Green Lantern when I was younger.

Freedonian said...

I never really enjoyed the aesthetics of his artwork. I compare him to Black Sabbath--- While I never actually enjoyed the work either of them did, I recognize the value inherent in their contributions to the medium. Cockrum's imagination was what made him special.

Brass, if you still have that Giant Sized X-Men #1, hang onto it--- By the time your little guy is ready for college, it will be worth enough to take care of tuition, books, and beer.

Blinders,

I had no idea there was a GL movie coming anytime soon--- The last I heard was that Jack Black wanted to make it a screwball comedy, but that plan seems to have been mercifully killed.

On a side note--- I used to have the entire Denny O'Neill/ Neal Adams run of "Green Lantern/Green Arrow". Magnificent work. They had this great interplay between the characters--- GA was a hippie liberal, GL was a conservative, and GL found out he was wrong at the end of nearly every issue.

Good times...

Timewalker said...

I never had a chance to meet Dave, although we did correspond via e-mail once or twice. I'm lucky in that I got to meet Len Wein a couple of years ago. They brought so much to comics in that era, along with Wolfman and Perez at DC, it can never be truly measured.

Blinders Off said...

Freedonian,

I do not know of one anytime soon, it is wishful thinking someone will finally bring GL to the big screen, like they did my other comic book favorites such as X-Men, Spiderman, and Superman.

The studios did the right thing canning Jack Black's version for the Green Lantern.

Brassmask said...

A couple of things.

Freedonian,

I agree with you about Cockrum's work. It never really floated my boat but he was drawing some of my faves and so...It always appeared to me that his characters were leaning away from my eye. His feet were always in the foreground.

That X-Men GS #1 is LONG gone. In 1986, I had about 6,000 comics including a majority of every Fantastic Four and nearly every CEREBUS and every X-Men from that revamp on. I hadn't really been living on my own for very long and I was desperate for rent money (and food money and alcohol money and so forth) and I took the whole collection to MEMPHIS COMICS and they rooked me for $750. UGH. It still hurts. Live and learn, huh?

That Green Lantern/Jack Black story turned out to be false. I remember his saying in an interview that he had no idea what the guy was talking about. Can you tell me who in the hell has decided that he is a leading man? His street cred is in the dumper. How did he get in King Kong much less that new thing with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet (mrowr!)?

Comics to Film.

I am ecstatic that they are turning comics into movies. The most satisfying of which, for me, has been the Spider-Man movies. As close to the aesthetics of the comics as I can imagine. The stories haven't been exactly faithful but not too terrible. I wasn't exactly happy with that Green Goblin outfit in the first one, but DAMN, Doctor Octopus? Perfection.

The newest Batman was a great movie though they just HAD to have that train crash at the end that looked like a Burton film. And Batman probably killed a lot of people with that building top car chase. But very frightening.

The worst of the films were the X-Men's. That last one was near worthless. I had expectations, I guess of the whole Phoenix saga and all I got was a doped up Famke in a red duster. I've never bought that audiences won't buy the costumes. That's just horse crap. If it is done in the context of the world with realistic setups, it will work fine. Superman and Spiderman, no one flinched for a second. So, the leather things in X-Men were worthless, not to mention Storm's wig. I DID however love that scene with Nightcrawler at the beginning of the second one. Awesome. More of that.

But SUPERMAN was pretty damned good. If the whole movie had beent the action parts with him catching the airplane and pickingup the boat and all that, it would have rocked utterly. But I didn't like *SPOILER ALERT* deadbeat dad side of it. Just dreck. But the action stuff more than made up for it.

God I'm rambling now.

Freedonian said...

And Batman probably killed a lot of people with that building top car chase. But very frightening.

Why do they keep doing things like that? Tim Burton had him waste two bad guys in "Returns" so blatantly that it looked like the Punisher dressing up as Batman for Halloween. Batman has such a strong ethic against killing that there's no way that would have happened. Shoved one down an elevator shaft, set another on fire with the Batmobile's afterburners... WTF?

And as good as "Batman Begins" was, I was watching it with a friend. When the rooftop chase came up, I said "There's no way he would do anything that reckless". That act was so out of character that they may as well have rewritten the character altogether. And face it--- Batman WOULD have saved Ras Al Ghul. "I can't kill you... But I don't have to save you." Right...

I didn't even see the last X-Men movie. Spiderman 2 might have got the Doc Ock costume right, but man, that was one painfully boring movie. It was just poorly written--- Rather than the deeds defining the character, they had him go through five minute long soliloquies that destroyed the pacing. I'm already concerned with S3--- They've already had to retcon the origin story after telling only two stories. That's pretty weak. It turns out that Sandman killed Uncle Ben instead of the "random burglar".

Fantastic Four was dreadful, but I knew it would be. A friend and I sat down to do a F4 screenplay a few years back when they first started soliciting it. You couldn't include the origin and have a decent story involving Dr. Doom. They were two separate stories. We did a draft that skipped the origin altogether, and had F4 as a fully functioning team in the beginning. Ours wasn't great, but it was a far sight better than the shooting script.

I read the other day that they're soliciting Captain America scripts. Unfortunately, they're sticking with Marvel continuity--- Super Soldier frozen during WWII that is thawed out today. It would work much better if they went with a modern story--- It plays on the general distrust people have in their government, and makes a government plot to create the "Super Soldier" more believable, if only slightly.

Some friends and I did some work a while back--- We were going to try to do an animated Sandman series and pitch to HBO or Showtime (Both Time Warner properties, which owns DC/Vertigo). Our scripts were based tightly on Neil Gaiman's work (As if anyone could improve on it), with the exception of not using Batman or Martian Manhunter in the opening story arc. Even though we were using the same Renderman program used at Pixar, it was so difficult without a full renderfarm that it ended up taking us weeks to animate a couple of seconds and get it to look halfass right. I should show you our work sometime, though--- Not bad for a bunch of amateurs.

Freedonian said...

BTW--- Everyone has a story like that involving Memphis Comics. I saw Kendall a few months ago. He seems to be doing okay. The store is gone, but by the end, they were making more selling on eBay anyway. I think he's just working out of his home now.