Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Face-Off: Cockrum vs. Grell

Karen: Since we've been reviewing the Legion, let's talk about two important Legion artists: Dave Cockrum and Mike Grell.

Cockrum came to the Legion in the early seventies and his spectacular artwork was largely responsible for reviving interest in the team. He did a number of costume redesigns that have stood the test of time -these include Lightning Lad, Timber Wolf, and Star Boy, among others. He created or co-created Wildfire, and he also modernized the look
of the Legion cruisers and HQ.

Grell followed after Cockrum and his slick style helped the Legion continue to find new readers. His tenure on the book was longer than Cockrum's. He also redesigned some costumes -some fabulous, some infamous (Cosmic Boy, we're looking at you!). So who do you prefer?

Just for fun: this cool shot of the Legion cruiser from Superboy and the Legion #217!


Britt Reid said...

Better anatomy and storytelling.
Grell had a slightly "slicker" look, especially when he inked himself, but everybody tended to look anorexic and his foreshortening was awful.

david_b said...

Cockrum, Cockrum, Cockrum. Agreed on the anatomy and storytelling, very clean and well-told stories.

Grell's art made all the torso's and heads look alike, especially with heroes flying or running. I liked him on GL/GA's return issue, but grew very tired of his art quickly. I was disappointed when he did GA's 'Longbow Hunters'. Deluxe format, but same terrible art.

There's a few Marvel artists I grew tired of quickly (Milgrom, Robbins, Kane).. Grell was my least favorite DC artist (along with Heck and Gil Kane's 70s work).

Doug said...

Heresy, I say, David! You didn't like Longbow Hunters? Man, I love Grell's art in that book.

Now, my take on Grell runs somewhat parallel to the complaints raised here. However, if you click on the Cosmic Boy link in the post, you'll see a way-cool pencil commission of ol' Rokk that is spectacular. I thought his work really matured as we moved through the Bronze Age and into the Reagan era.

I would probably vote Cockrum as well, due to his reworking of the look of the franchise. But again, Grell was "my" Legion artist as he was on the book when I started reading it.


Dougie said...

Cockrum is the better designer and storyteller but I have the same fondness for Grell as my namesake. The two Tabloid covers are wonderful. Then there's the establishing shot of the "Villainaires" in SLOSH 208 (a story I read during my latter schooldays and of which I'm inordinately fond.) How eeeevil do Roy, Spider Girl and Nemesis Kid look, slouching in their chairs?

Edo Bosnar said...

I'm going to go with Grell just for sentimental reasons; like Doug, Grell was the artist in the first few issues of Superboy & the Legion that I ever had. His slick art defined how the Legion was supposed to look to me, and it wasn't until Giffen took over the art chores that I started to appreciate a different style in that book.

MaGnUs said...

Cockrum's the better artist, Britt is right. Not just a matter of preference, Grell was good, but Cockrum was technically superior.

Still, that cruiser is such a Star Trek rip-off... :)

joe ackerman said...

I was never the world's greatest Legion fan, to be honest, but I'm gonna go with Mike Grell, for no other reason than that I just enjoyed his stuff more than Dave Cockrum's.

Steve Does Comics said...

I have to go with Dave Cockrum. He totally reinvented the Legion as far as I was concerned at the time. Grell's work was fine and I liked it but it always looked a bit liquidy to me. No I don't know what "liquidy" means as regards art but I sort of know what it means.

dbutler16 said...

I like Iron Mike, but I have to go with Cockrum. Not only is he a great artist, but a great designer. His Star Boy costume is my all time favorite superhero costume!

Anonymous said...

No comparison -- Cockrum!

Grell's first issue (SLSH 203) was possibly his best. I'm guessing that was due to inking one of Dave's stories for SLSH 202, but that's just a hunch. Grell was pretty rough in the 70s. He didn't come into his own until the 80s.

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