Christmas is a time of looking back at previous Christmases and remembering where you were and what you were doing when you were a younger version of yourself. Last Christmas was a very memorable one for me. It was the second COVID Christmas for everyone, and like most other people, I was staying home, but I wasn't doing nothing. The whole month of December I had been making inquiries of art collectors as I was rounding up artwork for The Life and Art of Dave Cockrum (with production scheduled to begin in January), and about a week before Christmas a thought occured to me: the first chapter of the book covered his work in fanzines, and all of that artwork was in black and white.
Well, that wouldn't do! It was supposed to be a color book, and if the first chapter started off in black and white, that was a bad start. So I used my infinite power as editor to appoint myself colorist and began coloring all of that artwork. Marvel characters, DC characters... it didn't matter. Color was better than black and white, a point which Dave Cockrum himself had stated on more than one occasion.
I hadn't colored anything before, but I knew it didn't have to be fancy coloring with multiple shades and hues. That's not the kind of coloring that I grew up on, and it also wouldn't be authentic to the period if I used it here. So I wasn't worried -- all I had to do was put in solid, flat colors, and anyone could do that. Red goes where red goes, green goes where green goes... etc.. I took a perverse kind of pride in doing it since, if I asked, Marvel and DC wouldn't exactly let me color their characters in their books, but in my book, I was the boss.
It was on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day that I colored the two John Carter pictures that appear in the "An Artist of Mars" section. I remember that, and I went all through the holidays -- and beyond! -- coloring pictures for the rest of the book. I just didn't see the point in running artwork in black and white in a color book if it could be avoided. Sometimes it couldn't (pencil artwork is a great example of that), but if it was finished, inked artwork... honestly, it would just be laziness if I didn't do it. And you can call me a lot of things, but lazy isn't one of them.
What you don't know is that before I started all of this, I banged up my right elbow. I'm right-handed, so at the end of a long day of coloring I would have to grab my right wrist with my left hand when I got up off the couch so my whole right arm wouldn't just flop down when I rose. And the couch was my workstation during Christmas, with many a picture colored by the light of the Christmas tree. I celebrate all twelve days of Christmas (remember, Christmas starts on Dec 25th, it doesn't end then), and all twelve of them were spent with Christmas music playing as I colored the artwork of Dave Cockrum. What a great way to end the year!
The irony here is a lot of the things I colored didn't make it into the book. I didn't know what Eric Nolen-Weathington (the designer) would choose, nor did I realize when I started how little space we would actually have to work with. I was used to books with 222 pages, and this one topped out at 160. It was like being in a movie where the bridge crumbles behind you as you move forward, and you just keep on going and hope that the bridge will still be there when you get to the end. But I wanted my bases covered, so if I could color it, I did. And now I get to share some of that unused artwork with you!
That's what I'm thinking about this year as I look forward to Christmas 2022.
November 28, 2022
The reviews are in! Here's what the Midwest Book Review had to say about The Life and Art of Dave Cockrum:
"Profusely illustrated in full color throughout, "The Life & Art of Dave Cockrum" is a 'must' for the legions of Dave Cockrum fans and will hold a special interest for all dedicated comic book buffs. Informed and informative, "The Life & Art of Dave Cockrum" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library American Graphic Art & Comics History collections."
That's pretty high praise! And they weren't the only ones with something nice to say. Turns out, longtime Marvel Executive Editor & Senior Vice President Tom Brevoort wrote this in his Substack newsletter, back when the book first came out:
"I also put a big dent in THE LIFE AND ART OF DAVE COCKRUM from TwoMorrows Publishing this afternoon, a very fine volume on the life of the best super hero character designer of the 1970s. It's packed with behind-the-scenes artwork and photographs and includes a detailed section on the creation of the All-New X-Men, as you'd expect that it would. But it also covers all of the other facets of Cockrum's career, including his fan press days and his time designing models for Aurora and so forth. I bought it in the Hardcover version containing a few extras (and in typical fashion, I've wound up with two copies) but the more affordable Softcover is equally fine. I think Dave's work is a bit underrecognized for the impact it had on the field, so it's nice to see him and his work spotlighted in this manner. And author Glen Cadigan totally gets across that Dave was a huge fanboy."
Thanks, Tom! I only discovered Tom's newsletter, Man With a Hat, recently, and spent the following week catching up on his archives. (The first day I found it, I didn't get anything productive done for the rest of the day!) Tom knows his comics history, and he's lived it, being employed by Marvel for over the last thirty-plus years. He can speak firsthand on things that have happened while he's been there, and it's a fascinating newsletter to read. If you like mine, you'll love his!
November 27, 2022
Hey, hey! Look what showed up at my door today! My contributor copies of the latest issue of Back Issue! magazine, which features two articles with my byline attached!
The first is about something that Dave Cockrum pitched to Aurora Models back around the time he would've been working on The Legion of Super-Heroes. The second features his Captain Marvel, Jr. tryout pages -- done unsolicited -- from even before he was working regularly at DC. Think of them like a coda to The Life and Art of Dave Cockrum, which came out recently. Both are in Back Issue! #140, which is available now!
November 17, 2022
It was roughly this time last year that I reached out to John Morrow and pitched a biography of Dave Cockrum. A shorter version of a longer story is that he said yes, and the book was greenlit just before Thanksgiving for June of the following year.
If you're bad at math, that's seven months later. Unfortunately, due to supply chain issues, it actually came out about nine months later, but still, that's amazing. Things aren't supposed to happen that fast in publishing, but I had a few things in my favour: it wasn't my first book, it was already written, and a spot opened up on the schedule. It's like when there's a cancellation at the dentist's office; suddenly, there's an opportunity for you.
So thanks to John for saying yes, Paty Cockrum for not only giving her permission, but being the biggest contributor of artwork to the book, Alex Ross for writing the introduction, and Eric Nolen-Weathington for being a total pro and getting everything done when it was supposed to be done. I think we disagreed twice about how something should look, and every time it wasn't a big deal and we figured it out.
November 16, 2022
Here's something that has my fingerprints all over it! As mentioned a couple of months ago (or a half dozen posts further down this page), I have an article in this month's Back Issue! magazine. There's also a short feature on Dave Cockrum's Captain Marvel, Jr. tryout pages, and 13th Dimension has a preview of them on their website. When you go there, here's a tip: right click -> open image in new tab -> then click on it again to make them big enough to read.
Of course, you can buy the issue -- print or digital -- here.
November 8, 2022
There's been a lot of talk lately about people leaving Twitter, and every so often one of your Facebook friends will announce that they're leaving Facebook. None of this really matters -- Facebook and Twitter aren't going anywhere.
That being said, I can understand their frustrations, even if my own aren't for the same reasons. With me, it comes down to algorithms. Both sites are fueled by them, and these algorithms decide what you see. If I make a post there, chances are, most of my followers won't even see it. It's like a snowball rolling down a hill; if enough people like it initially, then the algorithms will allow others to see it. But in order for the first people to see it (the early responders, let's call them), the algorithms have to decide to let them see it first.
To get this whole train moving along, that means it is expected of me to like and comment on other people's posts in the hope that they will be shown mine and reciprocate. This is what Facebook wants: engagement. In exchange, you get potential likes and Facebook makes money. You don't get money -- Facebook does, even though you're now effectively punching in a clock.
(And keep in mind, you don't necessarily get anything past that point. If I have a book coming out, maybe people will become aware of it, but that doesn't mean they'll buy it. So I have to effectively work a part-time job just to knock on their doors, and more often than not, that's as far as I get.)
That's a very poor return on investment. It would be one thing if there was something tangible to show for it, but there's not. That's why I'm starting a newsletter (glencadigan.substack.com). It won't come out that often, but at least I'll be guaranteed that subscribers will actually see it. I assume that if someone friends me on Facebook, it's because they've read something I've written before, and are therefore interested in upcoming projects. But if friending me doesn't tell them about those projects, then what good is it?
A catalyst for this move is a cartoonist newsletter I follow in which the owner says he has over 100,000 followers on Instagram, but because of their algorithms, most of his followers don't even see what he posts. I don't come close to that many people, so the odds are really against me. (And Instagram and Facebook are both owned by Meta, so they have the same algorithms.) A newsletter is really my only option.
The irony here, of course, is that I have to promote it on social media. So I'm not quitting, but if you think you're getting the goods over there, you're wrong. The goods are going to be at Substack. I'm not wasting any more time on big long posts that people either don't see or don't bother to read. And posting pictures for likes doesn't really work for me; I don't want people to respond to the pictures, I want them to respond to the words.
Time is a commodity, and honestly, I'm wasting too much of it for too little in return. This is the only thing that works, so hopefully I'll see you over there!
October 31, 2022
I usually write silly stuff, but I do have a collection of serious stories (well, one of them is silly, too) and it's the latest of my collections to become an audiobook! What's more, today is Halloween and there are ghosts and zombies and other scary things (like clowns) inside!
You can get it at Google Play or Kobo. And don't forget to say, "Trick or Treat!"
October 10, 2022
Apparently, all the cool kids are getting their t-shirts made at TeePublic these days. I want to be a cool kid, too, so I've uploaded some of my designs to their site. Available in white and black (and any other color you can imagine), if you want to hang with the cool kids, head on over to TeePublic and check it out!
October 3, 2022
A few years ago there was a short film based upon my first pro fiction sale, a story that I sold to Mark Waid back when he was an editor at BOOM!. (If you followed me on social media back then, I talked about it a lot. If you didn't, it's all archived in the News section here.)
Long story short, it went around the world and was seen at various festivals. 4 continents, 14 countries, 28 festivals, 3 awards was the final tally, and then it was released online. For reasons that are too complicated to go into right now, it didn't get the promotional support that it should have received when it hit the Interwebs, but still, thousands of people saw it and liked it.
This summer, it was picked up by Dust, a popular Sci-Fi channel on YouTube. In a little over two months, it has 184,407 views. Not too bad, all things considered. If you add the 68,000 views the original upload has accumulated on YouTube, the 40,000 views on Facebook, plus the 10,200 views over on Vimeo, that's 302,607 views in total.
Most comic book pros are embarrassed by their first sale. Me, I'm pretty proud of mine. It was adapted into a film that over a quarter of a million people have seen.
If I could just get those kind of numbers on my books!
September 29, 2022
It's been a little over two weeks since my book Tall Tales, Fairy Tales, and Bedtime Stories (For Former Children) was released, and now I'm pleased to say that the audiobook version is available for purchase!
It's currently on sale at Kobo and Google Play, with other outlets to follow. It's six hours long, and you can hear free samples if you click the picture above!
September 25, 2022
So you're all snug and have read your copy of The Life and Art of Dave Cockrum. What do you read next?
Why, Back Issue! # 140, of course! It contains my two-page article on the comic that wasn't, featuring "T. Rex -- The Man with the Dinosaur Brain!" It was something that Dave pitched to Aurora Models back when he was designing kits for them. You can even read the first page of the article (that's 50%!) in the preview over at the TwoMorrows webpage, so just click the picture below if you can't wait until November!
But there's more! There was a lot of artwork collected for the book that didn't make it in, and that included Dave's three-page, uninked, Captain Marvel, Jr. samples. They were what got him the Cap. Jr. assignment (which, if you've read his bio, you know he lost when he left DC for Marvel) and as luck would have it, they feature Cap. Jr. fighting a dinosaur!
Since BI! # 140's theme was dinosaurs I passed the artwork onto Michael Eury, hoping he could use them there. And he did! And full page, at that! So if you want to read my two-page article about a comic that never got past the cover and see three pages of unpublished Dave Cockrum artwork from around 1972, all you have to do is head on over to the TwoMorrows site or get your local retailer to reserve you a copy!
September 13, 2022
Today's the day! Tall Tales, Fairy Tales, and Bedtime Stories (For Former Children) is officially available now!
And I suppose I should mention the blurb from R.L. Stine on the cover...
September 8, 2022
Now that The Life and Art of Dave Cockrum is in the hands of all the pre-orderers and contributors, I guess it's okay to show a picture from the book not by Dave Cockrum, but by Alex Ross!
The painting you see here was a complete surprise when it arrived. Alex had very graciously agreed to write the introduction for the book, and he delivered in every way possible! I wanted an essay that explained why Dave Cockrum mattered, but from an artist's perspective. I knew that Alex was a big fan of Dave's work, so he was at the top of my list. But not only did he deliver with words, he threw in -- without being asked -- a great painting of one of Dave's unpublished characters, Quetzal!
I was very surprised and very happy when I received it, so consider this a public thank you to Alex Ross for going above and beyond. I've been very fortunate with all my various TwoMorrows projects when it comes to getting the cooperation of Hall of Fame talent, and Alex Ross certainly qualifies!
September 6, 2022
I got back last night after being away for a few weeks and look what was waiting for me when I arrived!
And let me just say that after months of looking at this book on my laptop screen, boy, is it weird to finally hold it in my hands!
August 11, 2022
What's 9.5 hours long and available for download right now?
My first audiobook! (And my second, too!)
This is something I've been working on in secret for a while. Both of my Bedlam & Belfry collections (conveniently titled The 1st Dozen and The 2nd Dozen) are now available for your listening pleasure! If you click the picture above, you can hear the entire first story (all 19 minutes and 46 seconds of it) for free! You just have to push "Play sample" and turn on your speakers.
I debated waiting a while to release The 2nd Dozen, but like Guns N' Roses in the early '90s, I decided to put out both at once! Hopefully, people will like the first one enough to get the second one while the iron is still hot. Sometimes when you wait, people forget.
This is a brave new world for me, so I hope people at least listen to the free sample. It's the closest these characters will ever get to live action, or having actors in their roles. If you can listen to a podcast, you can listen to this!
So while you're waiting for The Life and Art of Dave Cockrum to arrive in the mail, or for Tall Tales, Fairy Tales, and Bedtime Stories (For Former Children) to come out next month, you can spend what's left of summer (especially if you're traveling) listening to a comedy series about lawyers in the future. If you think they're bad now, wait until hundreds of years from now -- they'll be even worse then!
August 8, 2022
THE LIFE AND ART OF DAVE COCKRUM UPDATE!
The eagle has landed! Copies have finally shown up at TwoMorrows HQ. Over the next few days they'll be wrapping 'em up and mailing 'em out, then it's in the hands of the Post Office. The U.S. Postal Service is not exactly known for being quick, so set your expectations accordingly.
Copies have also arrived at Diamond. I don't know how fast they turn things around, but I would be amazed if they were in stores this Wednesday (Aug. 10th). A better guess would be Aug. 17th, and even then, I don't work there, so for all I know, it could be longer.
Basically, it took a month for the books to get through Customs and be shipped to their destinations stateside, and that's not counting the time it took for them to be printed in China and shipped (literally) to America before that. So it's been a long wait, but the light at the end of the tunnel grows nearer!
June 21, 2022
In a perfect world, The Life and Art of Dave Cockrum would be out tomorrow.
Well, the world isn't perfect, and due to supply chain problems, the book is delayed. I can't say for how long, just that it'll get here when it gets here. Hopefully, we're only talking about weeks.
Until then, there's a preview of it up at the TwoMorrows site. To see it, head on over here.
(Clicking on the picture takes you there, too!)
May 13, 2022
Four months from today, on September 13th, 2022, my next big project goes on sale!
Tall Tales, Fairy Tales, and Bedtime Stories (For Former Children) is a storybook for adults who grew up on Harry Potter, Goosebumps, and Bone and are nostalgic for the tales of their youth. Written in a traditional storytelling style, the ten episodes within cover topic matter of interest to adults in a format reminiscent of their childhood stories. It's a synthesis of old and new, aimed at people who have grown up but who haven't grown old. Ghosts, graverobbers, aliens, astronauts, witches, and tooth fairies are some of the characters found in the collection designed to appeal to the young at heart, but written for those old enough to drink.
Here's the full version of the quote that appears on the cover:
"These witty fantasy stories kept me turning pages, wondering what could possibly happen next. I also laughed out loud! Very entertaining." -- R.L. Stine, author of the Goosebumps books
Pretty cool, huh? I guess he'd know what his former readers might like.
(Contains mild language. Not for kids -- they'd probably find the grown-up situations boring, anyway.)
March 4, 2022
This is the fourth (and final... for now) sneak peek at the contents of The Life and Art of Dave Cockrum, coming in June 2022 from TwoMorrows Publishing! The last major project of Dave's life was T.H.U.G.S.. Here's how he described it:
"T.H.U.G.S. is an acronym, stands for Tough, Huge, Ugly, GoonS. It's about a repo agency that uses five monsters -- Thrasher, Basher, Slasher, Sungili and Bruce -- for their repo men. They work for a petite blonde named Lucrezia Louise Pillage ( and don't call her Lulu) of whom they are constantly intimated. The big problem is that they'll totally demolish a house in order to repossess a TV set. It drives Lulu crazy. These guys were like her uncles when she was growing up, and she loves them dearly -- but they're ruining her business. There's a lot of loud and obnoxious, socially inacceptable fun."
Dave put a lot of thought and work into it, and had high hopes for the property. His wish was that it would be another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with toys, games, cartoons, etc..
Unfortunately, only one issue was ever published. It was an independent, black and white comic given away for free in Deming, New Mexico by Mojo Pop Comics back in 2003. It has to be the rarest Dave Cockrum comic out there (not counting fanzines). Most people have never heard of it; there are a few copies available on eBay, and the seller is asking for a hundred bucks each.
The picture you see here is the original, unused cover. For the published comic, Dave went with a more action-oriented image.
February 18, 2022
This is the third sneak peek at the contents of The Life and Art of Dave Cockrum, coming in June 2022 from TwoMorrows Publishing! Back when Dave was working for Marvel in the '70s, he had an idea for an all-female group of super-heroes which would've included Moonfang. Here's what he said in The Unseen Art of Dave Cockrum (1993):
"Moonfang was to be a member of a new team I pitched to Jim Shooter (then editor-in-chief at Marvel) for a limited series entitled The Furies, which would group several existing female characters: Storm, Clea, Tigra, Moonfang, and Dragonfly (the red-skinned bug-lady from the Ani-Men, last seen in Uncanny X-Men # 95). Jim gave me the go-ahead, but I never found the time to develop the plot."
February 12, 2022
Like I said a few weeks ago, I have a few projects coming out in 2022. This is one of them: an anthology with an original premise and plenty of contributors! Edited by Peter David, this is the third time in my career I find myself in the position of being edited by someone whom I've interviewed in the past. (Roy Thomas and Mark Waid are the others.)
There's a Kickstarter to help cover some of the costs, which can be found here. If you're still on the fence, try reading the back cover to see if that helps you make up your mind!
February 7, 2022
This is the second sneak peek at the contents of The Life and Art of Dave Cockrum, coming in June 2022 from TwoMorrows Publishing! From the pages of Star-Studded Comics # 15, all the way back in 1969, shown here for the first time in COLOR, the first published appearance of Hammerhand & Miss (later Ms.) Mercury!
January 25, 2022
It's been over a week since The Life and Art of Dave Cockrum has been announced, and I figure the best way to keep the ball rolling is to gradually reveal some of the things that you'll find inside! So every so often I'll be posting a sneak peek of Dave's art from inside the book. It'll range from hardly seen to rarely seen to never seen, and here's the first selection: Werehawk from The Futurians!
January 18, 2022
When you're a writer, your published output doesn't necessarily reflect your work schedule. A year can go by with barely a peep, and then a flood of material comes out that's been gestating for a while. I had multiple things published in 2020; 2021, by comparison, was very quiet.
2022, on the other hand, will be a year with multiple projects released, the first of which I can now officially announce!
160-page FULL-COLOR Trade Paperback - by GLEN CADIGAN
From the letters pages of Silver Age comics to his 2021 induction into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame, the career of Dave Cockrum started at the bottom and then rose to the top of the comic book industry. Beginning with his childhood obsession with comics and continuing through his years in the Navy, The Life and Art of Dave Cockrum follows the rising star from fandom (where he was one of the "Big Three" fanzine artists) to pro-dom, where he helped revive two struggling comic book franchises: The Legion of Super-Heroes and the X-Men. A prolific costume designer and character creator, his redesigns of the Legion and his introduction of X-Men characters Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Thunderbird (plus his design of Wolverine's alter ego, Logan) laid the foundation for both titles to become best-sellers. His later work on his own property, The Futurians, as well as childhood favorite Blackhawk and T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents, plus his five years on Soulsearchers and Company, cemented his position as an industry giant. Featuring artwork from fanzines, unused character designs, and other rare material, this is the comprehensive biography of the legendary comic book artist whose influence is still felt on the industry today!
It also comes in a limited edition hardcover of 500 copies. And did I forget to mention that it'll have an introduction written by Alex Ross? On sale June, 2022!