I was privy to a few moments of sunshine last week when I introduced Paty Cockrum to Joe Kubert.

“Thrilled to meet you, sir,” said Paty in a voice I didn’t recognize as hers. Sir? Hell, this is the toughest old gal I’ve ever known, famous for dragging men out of burning buildings and pointing shotguns at strangers. The occasion was the initiation of The Dave & Paty Cockrum Scholarship Fund, which we’ve been planning for a number of months.

“You were one of the first comic artists that I was truly a fan of,” Paty said to the blushing legend. “You and Bill Everett were the only two who signed your work back then, but you were the only one who knew how draw horses. Everyone else bent the horse’s legs the wrong way.”

Joe, who always has an easy smile, had a good laugh from that. “I had great respect for your husband’s work,” he said. “I watched it very carefully.”

“Well, your Hawkman was formative in his design concepts,” said Paty. “He revered you as an inspiration.”

As for Mr. Meth, I’m proud to sit on the committee that will bestow the newly established scholarship. I’m not a big believer in ghosts. Paty is, but I’m not. Either way, I can’t help thinking that ole Dave would be very happy about this if his ether has any sense of happiness. Dave got his big break because Neal Adams had a generous spirit and sent Dave to Jim Warren with a note saying, “Give this boy work.” He spent his whole career paying that forward. I never saw anything other than a generous spirit on my friend?generous with his time, with his meager funds, and with his praise to burgeoning young artists who would come to him for advice.

But let’s not neglect Paty in this equation. As long as I’ve known the lady, she’s been going out of her way for anybody who needs a helping hand, giving away art, giving away art lessons, and now giving away cash.

A $1000.00 grant will be bestowed each year on a second- or third-year students at the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon Graphic Art, Inc. The school currently has about 120 students and has graduated more than 3,000 since its founding in 1976, including some of today’s leading artists and many of my pals.

The scholarship will be funded by the sale of Dave Cockrum’s personal comics collection, which you can see at my blog.

© 2004, Clifford Meth

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