There was a time when no one liked X-Men. The comic book that told the story of the plight of outcast mutants recruited to attend Professor Xavier's school just didn't appeal to the masses.
That was before Dave Cockrum took on the fledgling project with comic writer, Len Wein. That was before Dave Cockrum drew the shadowy Mystique, the weather-shifting Storm, and the devout Nightcrawler. That was before the Fox-cartoons and Hollywood trilogy, which may never have come to be if not for Mr. Cockrum, who loved the genre so much that his wishes include cremation in a Green Lantern T-shirt.
Mr. Cockrum died Sunday of complications due to diabetes. He was 63 years old.
Surrounded by adventure at a young age, Mr. Cockrum was in born Pendleton, Oregon to an Air Force officer. His art aspirations were on hold while he served in the United States Navy during Vietnam. He returned from war in the 1970s and set to work for DC Comics and later went to Marvel where he took on the X-Men.
The comic series he saved has spawned three major and high-grossing Hollywood blockbusters with a fourth movie about the character Wolverine, set to release next.
Mr. Cockrum, however, received no royalties from the film companies or from Marvel, despite the fact that four characters he created, Storm, Mystique, Nightcrawler and Colossus, were used in the films. One cannot help but speculate that if Mr. Cockrum could afford better medical care to manage his condition, his death may have been averted.
In the meantime, the world goes on with one less Superhero.