By Jim BeardMarvel Comics mourns the passing of a true original, artist Dave Cockrum. Cockrum passed away quietly on Sunday, November 26 from diabetes complications, at the all-too-young age of sixty-three. The artist laid the groundwork for an unparalleled comic book success story when, in 1975, he launched the "new" X-Men alongside writer Len Wein and editor Roy Thomas. GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1 and the reinvigorated UNCANNY X-MEN grew to legendary status, the impact of which is still felt in today's comic world. Cockrum's first tour of duty with the characters was from 1975 to 1977, and he then returned to his creations from 1981 until 1983. Cutting his comic book teeth on such 1940s icons as the original Captain Marvel and the Blackhawks, the amazing artist's creative juices went into high gear upon the arrival of the Silver Age of comics and the return of super-heroes to the industry. After a stint in the United States Navy as a young man, Cockrum soon immersed himself in the world of his wildest dreams: comic book art. His contributions to such companies as Warren Comics and DC would serve to prepare him for his later good works at the House of Ideas. Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada comes right to the point when detailing Cockrum's work and legacy. "The recent passing of Dave Cockrum marks a time of great sadness in the comics industry and for all of us here at Marvel. He was one of the true legends and a creator of icons. Let's think about that for a second, a creator of icons, now that is an achievement that very few people on this planet can make claim to. It's like the few men who walked on the moon, it's a very exclusive club and Dave is right up there with the best of them. "While Dave will be sorely missed," Quesada adds, "we can all take solace in the fact that he will live on in immortality through all the wonderful characters and stories he helped create and all of us whom he has inspired and entertained over the years." Astonishing X-Men artist John Cassaday had this to say, "To call Dave Cockrum's contributions to X-Men considerable would be a serious understatement. His designs and art led to what many consider the greatest era of the title. If you've ever enjoyed an issue of X-Men in the last 30 years, you have Mr. Cockrum to thank. He'll be missed and he'll be remembered." "After GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1, everything changed," notes Editor Axel Alonso, director of Marvel's X-Office. "Dave Cockrum's seminal work on the UNCANNY X-MEN set the bar for decades of artists after him. For that, he will forever be a part of the X-Men family." "Although I knew Dave," says Senior Editor Ralph Macchio, "I never really worked with him, but I recall that he was one of the prime creative forces behind the rebirth of the X-Men in the '70s with his great art and the addition of characters such as Colossus, Storm and Nightcrawler. He was a nice guy and he helped get the ball rolling on what became the biggest franchise in comics." Executive Editor Tom Brevoort puts Cockrum's accomplishments into perspective. "Dave Cockrum's work-his character designs even moreso than his sequential pages-defined an entire generation of comic book art, moving ahead from the style of the '60s and early '70s and giving his characters an attractive and then-modern sheen that made them stand out from every other character on the stands. Beyond that, he remained a child at heart, with a child's enthusiasm for all of the color and action and monsters and jet planes and flying saucers that comics are chock full of-he very clearly loved what he did, even when he hated it." At the announcement of his death, the outpouring of feeling and love from fans for the man and his work has been nothing short of monumental. Reminisces and memorials for Cockrum have flowed freely, and admirers and followers are quick to expound on the artistic stamp the artist has left on their hearts and minds. He and his unique artistic vision will not soon be forgotten.