O Say Can You See: The Greatest Patriotic Super Heroes of All-Time
While I still have a little bit of 10/10/10 left (well, somewhere in the U.S., at least), let me do a special Top TEN list – the Top Ten Dave Cockrum Costume Designs for Marvel and DC
Most of the Imperial Guard
For most of the Imperial Guard, Cockrum just did variations of Legion costumes. One or two of the Imperial Guard DID stand out, though, most notably Gladiator.
Good designs, and also ones that not many future artists would mess with. Then again, they didn’t exactly show up a whole lot.
Cockrum’s first Legion re-designs
The Shrinking Violet re-design is a good one, but not exactly special. I don’t like Chameleon Boy’s new costume. Karate Kid’s is probably the best of the three and it is probably more famous for just happening to be the outfit he wore when he got his own series.
Phantom Girl and Colossal Boy
I believe even Cockrum disliked the Colossal Boy design. The Phantom Girl one, I know, has a lot of fans out there, but I just don’t see it as much.
Wildfire’s costume is well-designed – nice and streamlined.
The Timber Wolf re-design is probably most famous for being the first appearance of the hairstyle that Cockrum would later give Wolverine. Still, Timber Wolf DID have a cool costume!
Another distinct look that is basically still used to this day (Cockrum did not draw the above first appearance of Mystique, though, Jim Mooney did – Cockrum still designed the character).
Out of a sea of fairly unmemorable designs for the Imperial Guard, Gladiator’s look stands out. It is certainly worth noting that the same look is used to this day, roughly 30 years after its introduction (without any real changes in the ensuing years). And really, giving the guy a MOHAWK? That’s brilliantly bizarre!
Honestly, the hair band is probably the most memorable aspect of the Storm design, but the rest of it is quite strong, as well.
8. Ms. Marvel
This is the design that is still used to this day, so you know it was a winner.
7. Element Lad
The arrow might not necessarily scream “elements!” And the dots on the sleeves are lame, but really, wow, what a costume in general. I saw Colleen Doran do a sketch of this costume on her site and even she remarked how cool the costume was. Cockrum sure did do “sleek” well.
6. Star Boy
What a great idea – the guy’s name is STAR boy, so his costume IS the stars! What an innovative idea for a costume.
Once again, sleek and streamlined, yet still capturing his Native American heritage beautifully. You know a costume is good when they pretty much use the same design for the character’s brother years later, which is what they did with Warpath.
A classic superhero design, this outfit works so well that outside of John Romita Jr.’s short-lived revamp of the costume, whenever other artists re-do Colossus’ uniform, they pretty much just use Cockrum’s original outfit as a guideline, with that original outfit SUCH an accepted part of Colossus that they just riff off of that accepted idea.
Nightcrawler’s outfit is so well designed that it outlasted every single member of the All-New, All-Different X-Men. Heck, except for one brief period where Nightcrawler had a shaved head in Excalibur, this costume has stuck with him from 1975 until his recent…problems. A remarkable achievement for a character who has appeared on a monthly basis for decades.
2. Lightning Lad
Again, sleek and streamlined are the name of the game. This design was so good that it was used by multiple reboots AND the cartoon series. That’s how far ahead of the game Cockrum was – he was designing costumes that would look modern in 2010! Only he was doing them many decades earlier!!! I believe this was one of Cockrum’s favorite designs himself.
Just a stunning outfit (Cockrum sure did love his sashes).
Well, that’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!
Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.