X-Men's Dave Cockrum Dies at 63Nov 28, 6:01 PM EST
The Associated Press
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Comic book illustrator Dave Cockrum, who in the 1970s overhauled the X-Men and helped popularize the relatively obscure Marvel Comics title into a publishing sensation and eventually a major film franchise, died Sunday. He was 63.
In his Superman pajamas and with his Batman blanket, Cockrum died in his favorite chair at his home in Belton, S.C., early Sunday morning. He had suffered a long battle with diabetes and related complications, his wife, Paty, said Tuesday.
At Cockrum's request, there will be no public services and his body will be cremated, according to Cox Funeral Home. His ashes will be spread on his property.
At Marvel Comics, Cockrum and writer Len Wein were handed the X-Men. The comic had been created in 1963 as a group of young outcasts enrolled in an academy for mutants, but the premise failed to capture fans.
Cockrum and Wein took the existing comic, added their own heroes and published "Giant-Size X-Men No. 1" in 1975. Many signature characters Cockrum designed and co-created Â such as Storm, Mystique, Nightcrawler and Colossus Â went on to become part of the "X-Men" films starring Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry.
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 Â not because he was bitter," Meth said. "He cried because his characters were on screen and they were living."
Cockrum was born in Pendleton, Ore., the son of an Air Force officer. He set aside his interest in art while serving in Vietnam for the U.S. Navy. He moved to New York after leaving the service and got his big break in the early 1970s, drawing the Legion of Super-Heroes for DC Comics before moving to Marvel.
In January 2004, Cockrum moved to South Carolina after being hospitalized for bacterial pneumonia. As his diabetes progressed, his drawings became limited. His last drawing was a sketch for a fan, who attended a small comic book convention in Greenville, Paty Cockrum said.
Meth said Cockrum, who will be cremated in a Green Lantern shirt, will be remembered as "a comic incarnate."
"He had a genuine love for comics and for science fiction and for fantasy, and he lived in it," Meth said. "He loved his work."
Those of you that know me well know that I have always been a comic book junkie, specifically for X-Men and really for the whole Marvel Universe. So when I saw the headline "X-Men writer dies in his Superman pajamas" I knew I had to read the article. Here is a man who helped to make the greatest comic books what they were today. He wasn't just associated with the X-Men, but even was a part of making the greatest DC comics happen as well. What caught my attention though was the part of the article that talked about they way he was when he died-"under his Batman blanket and in his Superman pajamas." Now that may seem a little bit funny, but here was a man that was dedicated to his life's work. Even after retiring he stayed connected to the comic book world. He even cried when he saw his characters come to life on the big screenNotnot because he wasn't getting paid, but because they were alive. What would it be like if we had the same dedication to Jesus. How many times are we guilty of Sunday and Wednesday Christianity or just simply being satisfied with status quo Christianity. God wants us to be totally dedicated to Him. Now I am not saying go out and get your "Jesus is my homebotshirtirt and your Jesus bobblehead to show your devotion, but we can take a lesson learned from this man in the fact that if someone can be so devoted to what they did as a career what can we do if we are totally devoted to Christ? It's just something to think about. Jesus gave His all for us, can't we do the same for him?