December 01, 2006

Dave Cockrum dies

Who? Just one of the most influential comicbook artists ever, that's who. Dave helped bring back a Marvel comics title from the brink of cancellation -- you might have heard of it. It's called "The X-Men."

Back in mid-70s, The X-Men was languishing in reprints -- until writer Len Wein and artist Dave came out with Giant-Size X-Men #1, and the rest, as they say, is history. Characters such as Wolverine, Storm and Nightcrawler (all featured prominently in the "X-Men" movies) became famous under Len and Dave (and a few issues later under the writing of Chris Claremont). Wolverine was already an invented character at the time of Giant-Size X-Men #1, but it wasn't until he joined the mutant team that his popularity soared. Storm and Nightcrawler, not to mention Colossus (no relation to us!) on the other hand, were created by Wein and Cockrum.

Unfortunately, Dave got no royalties from the "X-Men" movies. That's the way it was back in those days at Marvel (and DC). It was "work for hire," meaning that anything you created while working for the comics giants became their property. They were obligated to pay you nothing other than what you were contracted for. For instance, co-creator of Spiderman, Steve Ditko, didn't get paid any royalties from the Spidey movies (as far as I know, that is). This has since changed, as creators got miffed at the millions the cos. were making off of their creations. For instance, one of the featured villains in Spiderman 3 -- Venom -- was created by David Micheline, (below, right) and in a conversation I had with him years ago he informed me that he received "a very small fraction of a percent" royalty from anything Venom-related that was sold. The key, David says, is that the creation usually must be in a "feature" role. Thus, he says (in response to a recent e-mail from me) he probably won't get anything from "Spidey 3" since Venom is not a "feature" character -- this time out. But if he is in "Spidey 4," then David could be seeing some cash!

David, by the way, was also a writer of my favorite character, Iron Man, along with partner Bob Layton (who drew the "Micheline Iron Man" pic you see here). They are considered the Golden Avenger's premier creative team of all time. Ask any Iron Fan.

Posted by Hube at December 1, 2006 03:30 PM | TrackBack

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