Dave Cockrum, legendary artist and co-creator of such characters as Storm, Nightcrawler, the Starjammers and many more, died on Saturday of complications from diabetes. He was 63.
Cockrum had been in ill-health for years, but continued to appear at conventions as a popular guest. Despite his lasting achievements in comics, Cockrum lived in poverty for a while, until the comics industry (incuding Marvel) rallied to allow him to spend his last years in a bit more comfort. We haven’t the facilities to link to the number of tributes on the web, but Clifford Meth, who was a great friend of the Cockrum family in later years, has a fine remembrance here.
Following the settlement, Daveâs last three years were spent in South Carolina. He and his wife Paty moved there, from upstate New York, to get away from the cold. Dave spent most of his days in a wheelchair watching television, rarely drawing, reading when he could. He had dialysis on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridaysâa four- to five-hour affair that always left him drained and exhausted. He knew that a new kidney might change his life, but hoping for one at his age (and in his condition) was like hoping to win the Lotto, and the odds were just about the same. So he had no illusions.
Despite the ailments and the lack of funds, Dave stayed happy. Not to say there werenât bouts of depression, but following the comicsâ industry tribute that all of you out there in comics land gave him, Dave felt somehow fulfilled. He knew he hadnât been forgotten. Indeed, Dave discovered an entire new generation of fans on the web who were only too eager to talk with him. So when he could, heâd answer questions and make new e-mates across the i-planet. He refused to be bitter about anything. The nastiest thing I ever heard him say was, âI wish I had John Byrneâs money and he had my feet.â?