"The Uncanny Dave Cockrum...A Tribute" is a new hardcover book containing the final work of comics' legendary artist, Dave Cockrum. Devised and produced by journalist and fiction writer Clifford Meth, the hardcover replaces the unimpressive 2004 soft-cover edition, updating the production aspects while adding new artwork from not just Cockrum himself, but that of a stellar array of his peers. Walt Simonson, Neal Adams, Jim Lee, Traves Charest and Joe Quesada are just some of the talents contributing to the book with their own versions of Cockrum's characters. Writers like Neil Gaiman, Marv Wolfman, Alan Moore and Roy Thomas also provided touching written tributes and well-wishes to the much-admired Cockrum.
Meth was not just the architect of this tribute, he was also one of Cockrum's dearest friends. It was at Meth's insistence that "The Uncanny Dave Cockrum...A Tribute" be reproduced so as to properly honor Cockrum, and he provided for CBR News this history of the project and his late friend's involvement with it.
|Wolverine by John Cassaday|
Despite ongoing ailments, Dave Cockrum remained happy to the end. His wife Paty assured me that following Aardwolf Publishing's release of "The Uncanny Dave Cockrum...A Tribute" in 2004, Dave's spirits were forever lifted. He felt somehow fulfilled in knowing that he hadn't been forgotten. Seeing this book – which contains renditions of his characters by his teachers Neal Adams and Johnny Romita, tributes by Stan Lee, Harlan Ellison, Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, and well-wishes from Will Eisner, Gene Colan and Sergio Aragones-- touched Dave more deeply than I could have imagined.
Still, I was disappointed with the original soft-cover edition. The layout was uninventive, the font was a horsy 12-pt. ComicSans, and the paper was coloring book quality. You don't look a charity project in the mouth, especially when all efforts, including typography, are donated, but my aesthetic conscience gnawed at me long after Dave had left the hospital. So, a year later, I suggested to Jim Reeber, Aardwolf's long-suffering publisher/martyr, that we revamp the book and add a section of Dave's art. I was also seeking projects to keep Dave busy, so I suggested that he add remarques to the end sheets. Dave loved that idea, so he worked on the project whenever he felt well enough, creating sketches to be inserted into the book. But the sad truth is it took Dave nearly eighteen months to do 220 sketches. Not exactly Kirby speed, but these were his last sketches. The work was finally done and we were putting the book together when Paty called to say that Dave was gone.
"The Uncanny Dave Cockrum...A Tribute" hardcover, which is currently available only at Aardwolf's website is a special project. It's the last time I got to work with my friend Dave. The book is a living testament to his importance and influence on the industry. As for its content, the book has everything the original paperback of 2004 had, but better. The new hardcover is laid out better, has better paper, better design, better everything. Additionally, the new book features a number of new artists who were left out of the first edition for any number of reasons. Terry Austin, whose work was accidentally left out last time, is in there. George Perez, who had tendonitis at the time of the first publication, is in there. We've also added new writers to the already austere line-up. Tom Spurgeon-the Hunter Thompson of comics journalism-is in there. And there are twenty pages of rare and never-before-seen Dave Cockrum art.
"The Uncanny Dave Cockrum...A Tribute" can be ordered from Aardwolf Publishing now.