The Legion Files > Library > Creators >
10th Jun 2001
The then youthful new-comer gave the Legion a face-lift. Enthusiastically, he provided most of the Legion with new costumes many of which continued to be used for many years afterwards. (which only he could interpret well – witness Tinya’s bell bottoms), and the Legion cruisers and HQ were redesigned to give a newer more futuristic feel.
Ever inventive, he was responsible for the introduction Wildfire, the first of a "new wave" of heroes (and my personal favourite - sorry guys) distinguished by having lame or overly complex powers (MatterEater Lad or Chemical King), nor lame code names (MatterEater Lad).
Unfortunately, the stories were still total pants for the most part, illogical, inconsistent, dull and pointless. On one occasion, Superboy was rendered so weak by Green Kryptonite that he doesn’t have the strength to talk, but happily inhales and then expels the Green-K with super-breath, which is inexplicably immune to Kryptonite exposure (a precedent that allowed the TV Superman to pick a lock with nothing more than a tie and super-breath when similarly exposed). Still, with art like this who cared. Not the readers, with revived popularity, the Legion once again took over the comic eventually replacing the Teen of Steel permanently and completely.
Throughout his stay his work exhibits a rich vibrancy which brought the Legion a visual freshness, which even now, over 20 years later, makes it seem new all over again.
Dig Dave's funky alien landscapes
His alien landscapes had a disturbing organic feel well before Giger’s Alien with none of the latter’s disturbing sexual overtones. Sadly while Cockrum’s alien landscapes were unique among his peers they were similar if not identical to each other.
Machinery, too, benefited from the Cockrum touch. He had a way with depicting any metallic object, rendering it sleek and desirable. The Legion now had ships of a majesty to match their prominence.
Contrary to popular opinion not everything he did during this period was solid gold, he was young and raw, and it often showed with ill-proportioned figures and awkward postures. Still, there is no denying the richness and energy he brought to his work, and his run on the Legion showed a steady improvement.
During his stay at Marvel he did some excellent work on the Avengers, but, I feel he reached his peak with X-Men #107, which introduced the Shi’ar Imperial Guard a rather blatant copy of the Legion. Indeed some costume designs had been originally intended for the Legion. Sadly, after this his work steadily declined, and although he contributed 5 pages to LSH #300 it wasn’t up to his highest standards.
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