Michael Fitzgerald Troy: Can you tell us a little about the Dave Cockrum's Futurians resurrection you are spearheading?
Clifford Meth: Dave Cockrum co-created the revamped X-Men that included Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Storm. But, shortly thereafter, he also created the Futurians, which, frankly, were just as cool and just as well designed and written. But, Dave owned those characters, and Marvel only did a one-off graphic novel under their “creator-owned” line. So, the title floated about from publisher to publisher, and I came into possession of an unpublished issue written and drawn by Dave. That’s what we’re building a new Futurians graphic novel around.
MFT: Why are you so passionate about getting the Futurians project out?
CM: It’s just a terrific set of characters that are smartly developed and beautifully designed. Other than Jack Kirby and perhaps John Romita, Cockrum was Marvel’s most important and prolific character designer. The fact that various Hollywood producers have optioned this intellectual property several times is something of a statement about how valuable they anticipate it being. Dave Cockrum was comics incarnate—he understood, instinctually, what made a good comic.
MFT: Everyone (should) know what Dave Cockrum's contribution to the comic history cannon is. What did he mean to you?
CM: I was a huge fan, of course. How could you not be? But, Dave was also my very dear friend. He was among the first professionals to give me a chance as a writer, and I enjoyed our collaborations very much.
MFT: I think Futurians was a little ahead if its time as far as a big-name creator striking out on his own and would have faired better in the "Image era." Any thoughts on that?
CM: Oh, I fully agree. Had Dave launched the Futurians alongside the initial Image creators and their creations, it would have made him very wealthy. Rob Liefeld showed an early interest in taking the project in those days, and, in fact, he’s promised to help us with this re-launch.
MFT: You are also the writer of Comic Book Babylon, a dishy, behind-the-scenes tell-all of the comic book industry. Can you whet our appetite with a little nugget perhaps?
CM: Comic Book Babylon is currently trending on Amazon as one of its best-selling graphic novels for the Kindle. It’s not a graphic novel, though—it’s an insider’s look at the ugly business of comics publishing and how men like Dave Cockrum and Herb Trimpe and many others were mistreated by Marvel. But, there’s a happy ending.
MFT: Aside from putting together the Futurians, are there any other projects you are working on that you want us to know about?
CM: I’m involved with several projects with the artist Michael Netzer, who is truly a startling artist. I’d suggest people visit my blog or visit me at Facebook to see what I’m up to.
Thanks for the interview, Cliff!
Make sure to pick up Comic Book Babylon and be on the lookout for the Kickstarter project that will lead to the release of the unpublished issue of Dave Cockrums's Futurians.