Dave Cockrum

David Emmett Cockrum (/ˈkɒkrəm/; November 11, 1943 – November 26, 2006)[1] was an American comics artist known for his co-creation of the new X-Men characters Nightcrawler, Storm, and Colossus. Cockrum was a prolific and inventive costume designer who updated the uniforms of the Legion of Super-Heroes. He did the same for the new X-Men and many of their antagonists in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Dave Cockrum
Dave Cockrum
Dave Cockrum by Michael Netzer
BornDavid Emmett Cockrum
November 11, 1943
Pendleton, Oregon
DiedNovember 26, 2006 (aged 63)
Belton, South Carolina
Area(s)Writer, Penciller, Inker
Notable works
Legion of Super-Heroes
Uncanny X-Men
AwardsInkpot Award 1982

Early life

Cockrum was born on November 11, 1943, in Pendleton, Oregon. His father was a lieutenant colonel of the United States Air Force, resulting in the Cockrums frequently transporting their household from one city to another for years. Cockrum discovered comic books at a young age; an early favorite was Fawcett's Captain Marvel, especially Mac Raboy's Captain Marvel Jr.[2] Other artists whose work the young Cockrum admired were Wally Wood, Gil Kane, Murphy Anderson, and Joe Kubert.[2]

As a young man, Cockrum was a dedicated "letterhack," who had many letters printed in comic book letter columns[3] such as Fantastic Four #22 (Jan. 1964), The Amazing Spider-Man #12 (May 1964), The Atom #1 (June 1962), and Fantastic Four #36 (March 1965) (return address "YN 'A' School, USNTC"). A letter from Cockrum in Fantastic Four #34 (Jan. 1965) led to a correspondence with Andrea Kline, who later became his first wife.[2][4]

Cockrum's ambition was to become a comic-book creator himself. Following his school graduation, Cockrum joined the United States Navy for six years.[5] During this time, Cockrum married Kline[6] and had a child with her, Ivan Sean.[6][7] He created the character Nightcrawler during this time, though the character would not be used until years later.[8]


Despite serving during the Vietnam War, Cockrum found time to contribute artwork to comics fanzines such as Star-Studded Comics and Fantastic Fanzine.[9]

After leaving the military, Cockrum found employment with Warren Publishing.[8] He was then hired as an assistant inker to Murphy Anderson,[2] who was inking various titles featuring Superman and Superboy for DC Comics. At the time, Superboy featured a "Legion of Super-Heroes" backup strip.

When the position of artist for "The Legion of Super-Heroes" was left vacant, Cockrum sought the job and was rewarded with his first assignment drawing a feature.[10] Cockrum's work on the feature, beginning with a backup story in Superboy #184 (April 1972) and recurring in several following issues "established an exciting new vibe".[11] He remained the artist on the Superboy series after the Legion of Super-Heroes became the main feature of the book with #197 and his art redefined the look of the Legion, creating new costumes and designs that would last until artist Keith Giffen did a similar revamp in the 1980s. Cockrum drew the story wherein the characters Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel were married in Superboy Starring the Legion of Super-Heroes #200 (Feb. 1974).[12] Cockrum eventually left DC and the Legion in a dispute involving the return of his original artwork from that issue.[2][9]

Prior to his departure, Cockrum had been preparing to be the regular artist on an ongoing Captain Marvel Jr. back-up strip in the Shazam! series for DC.[2]

Marvel and the X-Men

Moving over to a staff position at Marvel, Cockrum and Len Wein under the direction of editor Roy Thomas created the new X-Men, co-creating such characters as Storm, Nightcrawler, and Colossus. Storm and Nightcrawler were directly based on characters which Cockrum had intended to introduce into the Legion of Super-Heroes storyline had he remained on the title.[13] These characters made their debut in Giant-Size X-Men #1 ([July] 1975),[14] and then in a relaunched Uncanny X-Men (beginning with issue #94).

Journalist Tom Spurgeon wrote,

Cockrum's penciled interiors on those first few issues of the "new" X-Men were dark and appealingly dramatic . . . . Cockrum gave those first few issues of X-Men a sumptuous, late-'70s cinema style that separated the book from the rest of Marvel's line, and superhero comics in general. Reading those X-Men comics felt like sneaking into a movie starring Sean Connery or Sigourney Weaver, not simply like flipping on the television. Uncanny X-Men really felt new and different, almost right away, and Cockrum's art was a tremendous part of that.[6]

Cockrum stayed with the title until 1977 (as main penciller on issues #94–105 and 107), when he was succeeded by penciller John Byrne with issue #108.[15] The final issue of his original, regular run introduced the Starjammers, a spacefaring superhero team he had originally intended to debut in their own series.[8] Issue #110, which Cockrum co-pencilled with Tony DeZuniga, was an inventory issue.[16]

He and Paty Cockrum were married on April 28, 1978.[17] Cockrum quit his staff job at Marvel in 1979 and his angry resignation letter was printed in Iron Man #127 (October 1979)[18] but he continued to work for Marvel as a freelancer. Cockrum was Marvel's primary cover artist during this period,[13] and also penciled and/or inked a number of other titles for DC during this time. Although not a regular artist on the series, he re-designed the costume for Ms. Marvel.[19] When John Byrne left the X-Men in 1981, Cockrum returned to the title with issue #145 but left again with issue #164 (Dec. 1982) to work on The Futurians.[2]

He returned to the X-Universe in 1985 with a four-part Nightcrawler limited series that he wrote as well, a two-part Starjammers limited series in 1990 and an X-Men short story for Marvel Holiday Special #1 in 1991. Two unpublished fill-in issues that Cockrum pencilled in the early 1990s for X-Men and New Mutants respectively were released together posthumously as the one-shot X-Men: Odd Men Out in 2008.[20]

The Futurians

In 1983, Cockrum produced The Futurians, first as a graphic novel (Marvel Graphic Novel #9), and then as an ongoing series published by Lodestone Comics. Though it did not last past issue #3, a collected edition was published by Eternity Comics in 1987 that included the "missing" issue #4. In 1995, Aardwolf Publishing printed the "missing" issue as Futurians #0, with a new five-page story by Cockrum and author Clifford Meth.

Claypool Comics

In 1994, Cockrum was recruited by Claypool Comics to produce work for them, resulting in several stories for Claypool's Elvira, Mistress of the Dark series beginning with #7. Cockrum was put into rotation on Peter David's Soulsearchers and Company, beginning with issue #13-14, becoming the series' penciler with #17 and penciling most issues through #43. Cockrum contributed a short feature to Richard Howell's "Deadbeats" comic issue #18.[10]

Illness and death

In later years, Cockrum worked less frequently in comics. In 2004, he became seriously ill due to complications from diabetes and pneumonia,[21] and a number of fellow artists and writers led by Clifford Meth and Neal Adams organized a fundraising project. The auction, run by Heritage Auctions at the WizardWorld Chicago show in August, raised over $25,000.[9] Marvel eventually provided an undisclosed amount of financial support in exchange for Cockrum agreeing to terms protected by a nondisclosure agreement. Cockrum said publicly he was "very happy that so many people cared about my work and about me. ... I'm enormously grateful to Clifford Meth and Neal Adams for having moved this forward. ... I'm very happy with what everyone has done, including Marvel."[21]

Cockrum was due to draw an eight-page story in Giant Size X-Men #3 (2005), but a recurrence of his health problems prevented this. Adams filled in.[22]

Cockrum died at his home in Belton, South Carolina,[6] on the morning of November 26, 2006, due to complications from diabetes. He was survived by his wife of many years, Paty Cockrum, a longtime member of Marvel's 1970s production staff, and by his son and two stepchildren.[9]


The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art bestowed the first annual Dave & Paty Cockrum Scholarship to a promising artist in 2008. The scholarship, which was organized by Meth, continues each year and is funded by sales of comics from Cockrum's personal collection.[23]

In the novelization of X-Men: The Last Stand, the President is named "David Cockrum." Cockrum's longtime associate Chris Claremont created a character in homage to Cockrum in Exiles who eventually "moved on" at the end of X-Men: Die by the Sword, which ended with a full-page tribute to Cockrum.[24]


Dave Cockrum received an Inkpot Award in 1982.[25]


Comics work (interior pencil art if not stated otherwise) includes:

Aardwolf Publishing

  • Aardwolf #1–2 (1995)
  • Futurians #0 (also writer) (1995)
  • Heroes and Villains: The William Messner-Loebs Benefit Sketchbook (2005)
  • The Three Tenors: Off Key (2005)
  • The Uncanny Dave Cockrum... A Tribute (2004)

Broadway Comics

Claypool Comics

  • Elvira, Mistress of the Dark #7, 27–29, 39–43, 45–48 (1993–1997)
  • Soulsearchers and Company #13, 15, 17–22, 26, 28, 32–33, 42–43 (1995–2000)

Defiant Comics

DC Comics

Harris Comics

Lodestone Comics

Malibu Comics

Marvel Comics

Marvel UK

Valiant Comics

  • Harbringer Files #1 (1994)
  • Turok, Dinosaur Hunter Yearbook #1 (1994)

Warren Publishing


  1. ^ David Emmett Cockrum at the Social Security Death Index via FamilySearch. Retrieved on June 22, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Cooke, Jon B. (Fall 1999). "Dave "Blackhawk" Cockrum: The Marvel Days of the Co-Creator of the New X-Men". Comic Book Artist. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (6). Archived from the original on October 24, 2012.
  3. ^ Smith, Stephen Scott Beau (May 15, 1983). "The LOCsmiths". Amazing Heroes. Fantagraphics Books (23).
  4. ^ Jacobson, Aileen (August 16, 1971). "Serious Comics Fans". Washington Post. p. B2.
  5. ^ "Dave Cockrum". Lambiek Comiclopedia. 2010. Archived from the original on July 6, 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d Martin, Douglas (November 29, 2006). "Dave Cockrum, 63, Comic Book Artist, Dies". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Cockrum, Dave (writing as "Dark Bamf") (September 10, 2002). "How Did Nightcrawler Come to be Created?". Nightcrawlers v2.0. Archived from the original on September 25, 2012. Retrieved April 25, 2009.
  8. ^ a b c Meth, Clifford (August 1993). "How a Typhoon Blew in Success". Wizard: X-Men Turn Thirty (1). pp. 50–52.
  9. ^ a b c d Spurgeon, Tom (December 1, 2006). "Dave Cockrum, 1943-2006". The Comics Reporter. Archived from the original on August 10, 2013. Retrieved April 25, 2009.
  10. ^ a b Dave Cockrum at the Grand Comics Database
  11. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. After more than a year as Murphy Anderson's background inker, Dave Cockrum landed his big DC break as the 'Legion of Super-Heroes' artist." "Cockrum's debut story, which was written by Cary Bates, quickly established an exciting new vibe for the super-team.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  12. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 159: "Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel became the first Legionnaires to tie the knot. The wedding planners were writer Cary Bates and artist Dave Cockrum."
  13. ^ a b Larsen, Erik (December 1, 2006). "One Fan's Opinion: Issue #65". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on November 7, 2012.
  14. ^ Sanderson, Peter; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1970s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 169. ISBN 978-0756641238. [Editor Roy] Thomas realized that if X-Men was to be successfully revived, it needed an exciting new concept. Thomas came up with just such an idea: the X-Men would become an international team, with members from other countries as well as the United States. Writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum were assigned to the new project and the result was Giant-Size X-Men #1.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  15. ^ Sanderson "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 181: "When 'new' X-Men co-creator Dave Cockrum left the series, John Byrne took over as penciler and co-plotter. In his first issue, Byrne and writer Chris Claremont wound up the Shi'ar story arc."
  16. ^ Nickerson, Al (August 2008). "Claremont and Byrne: The Team that Made the X-Men Uncanny". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (29): 4.
  17. ^ "Bullpen Bulletins," Marvel Comics cover-dated November 1978.
  18. ^ Cronin, Brian (April 13, 2006). "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #46!". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on July 31, 2013. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
  19. ^ Sanderson "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 186: "Ms. Marvel's...series was in the hands of Chris Claremont... and Dave Cockrum, a master of imaginative costume design. In this issue [#20], Claremont and Cockrum unveiled the latter's new stylish black costume for Ms. Marvel."
  20. ^ "Roger Stern - Working with Dave Cockrum, One Last Time". Newsarama. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  21. ^ a b Dean, Michael (May–June 2004). "Marvel Makes Dave Cockrum an Offer He Can't Refuse" (260). (excerpt) The Comics Journal. Archived from the original on May 13, 2008.
  22. ^ Zero, Nightcrawler (February 18, 2005). "Dave on the X-men Again?". Nightscrawlers.com. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012.
  23. ^ Meth, Clifford (February 22, 2008). "Own Dave Cockrum's and Gene Colan's Personal Comics and File Copies". Thecliffordmethod.blogspot.com. Archived from the original on May 12, 2013.
  24. ^ X-Men: Die By the Sword #5 (Feb. 2008) at the Grand Comics Database
  25. ^ "Inkpot Award Winners". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012.

External links

Preceded by
George Tuska
Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes artist
Succeeded by
Mike Grell
Preceded by
Sal Buscema
(in 1970)
Uncanny X-Men artist
Succeeded by
John Byrne
Preceded by
John Byrne
Uncanny X-Men artist
Succeeded by
Paul Smith

The Acanti are a race of fictional whale-like, extraterrestrial beings that have appeared in Uncanny X-Men within the Marvel Comics universe. They were created by writer Chris Claremont and artist Dave Cockrum. Many of them were enslaved by the Brood empire.


Bamf , originally Bampf, is an onomatopoeic term originating in comic books published by Marvel Comics, in particular those featuring the superhero Nightcrawler of the X-Men. The term is derived from the sound Nightcrawler makes when teleporting.

Black Tom Cassidy

Black Tom Cassidy (Thomas Samuel Eamon Cassidy) is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is usually depicted as an enemy of the X-Men, and of his cousin, Banshee. In addition to fighting the X-Men, he has clashed with Deadpool a number of times.

Black Tom is a mutant who can manipulate, bond with, and project energy through plant life. He is also capable of issuing concussive blasts with a wooden object, usually a shillelagh. Tom was the black sheep of a prominent Irish family. He secretly raised Banshee's daughter Siryn, of whose existence Banshee was unaware, and conscripted her into his criminal gang. Black Tom was also a longtime criminal partner of the super-strong villain Juggernaut, until Juggernaut's reformation.

Black Tom Cassidy makes his film debut in Deadpool 2, played by Jack Kesy.

Caliban (Marvel Comics)

Caliban is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, commonly in association with the X-Men. The character was portrayed in film by Tómas Lemarquis in X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) and by Stephen Merchant in Logan (2017).


Ch'od is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is usually seen in the X-Men series and various spin-offs.

Corsair (comics)

Corsair (Major Christopher Summers, USAF) is a fictional character, a star-faring hero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He leads the Starjammers and is best known as the father of X-Men superheroes Cyclops and Havok, and the supervillain Vulcan. He first appeared in X-Men #104, and was created by Dave Cockrum.


Deathbird (Cal'syee Neramani-Summers) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. She is a supervillain, an adversary of the X-Men.

Deathbird is part of a segment of the extraterrestrial Shi'ar race that possesses talon-tipped wings. She is the hated sister of the Shi'ar empress Lilandra Neramani, the mother of the Shi'ar warrior, Deathcry, and constantly seeks to usurp her sister's throne. She is also a sister of D'Ken, the first depicted ruler of the Shi'ar.

El Aguila

El Águila (Alejandro Montoya) is a fictional mutant character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. El Águila is patterned after the literary hero, Zorro. His name is Spanish for eagle.

Giant-Size X-Men

Giant-Size X-Men #1 was a special issue of the X-Men comic book series, published by Marvel Comics in 1975. It was written by Len Wein and illustrated by Dave Cockrum. Though not a regular issue, it contained the first new X-Men story in five years. The issue serves as a link between the original X-Men and a new team. Chronologically it is placed after X-Men #66 and before X-Men #94. The 68-page book was published with a May 1975 cover date and distributed to newsstands in February of that year.

Gladiator (Kallark)

Gladiator is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.

Hepzibah (comics)

Hepzibah is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. She is a member of the intergalactic enforcers known as the Starjammers and currently a member of the Uncanny X-Men. The name of her species, Mephitisoid, is derived from the word Mephitidae, the scientific classification for skunks, which her species noticeably resembles.

Imperial Guard (comics)

The Imperial Guard is a team of fictional super-powered alien warriors appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The Imperial Guard serves the rulers of the Shi'ar Empire, both by enforcing Shi'ar Imperial law on all planets within the Shi'ar Galaxy and as the Emperor or Empress' personal guard. Appearing primarily in comics relating to Marvel's X-Men titles, the Imperial Guard has been both allies and opponents of the X-Men many times over the years.


Manphibian is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. It has some resemblance to the "Gill Man" seen in Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Raza Longknife

Raza Longknife is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is usually seen in the X-Men series and various spin-offs. He is the last known surviving member of his unnamed alien race (which chose to die en masse in one final battle against the Shi'ar empire as the culmination of their warrior culture), and a member of the Starjammers.

Shrike (comics)

Shrike is the name of multiple fictional characters appearing in publications from DC Comics.

Smasher (Marvel Comics)

Smasher is the name of multiple different fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.

Thunderbird (comics)

Thunderbird (John Proudstar) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum, the character first appears in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (cover-dated May 1975). Thunderbird was a short-lived member of the Second Genesis group of X-Men gathered together in this issue, as he died on their second mission.

An Apache Native American and Human Mutant, John Proudstar possesses superhuman athletic ability. Since his death, the character has been temporarily brought back to life in the Necrosha and Chaos War storylines. His brother, James Proudstar, known first as Thunderbird, and then as Warpath, is also a mutant and X-Men with similar capabilities.

In addition to his mainstream incarnations, Thunderbird has been depicted in other fictional universes. The most notable alternative version of the character is the member of the original Exiles team. In other media, Thunderbird is one of the main characters adapted to the live-action television series The Gifted, which debuted in 2017, portrayed by the actor Blair Redford.

Tyr (DC Comics)

Tyr is a fictional supervillain in the DC Universe. He first appeared in Superboy Vol. 1, #197 (September 1973), and was created by Cary Bates and Dave Cockrum. His name is taken from Týr, the one-handed Norse god of war.

Wildfire (comics)

For the Golden Age Quality Comics character, see: Wildfire (Golden Age).Wildfire is a fictional DC Comics superhero. Created by Cary Bates and Dave Cockrum, the character debuted in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #195 (June 1973). The story is set in a fictional universe's 30th and 31st centuries.

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