5. DAVE COCKRUM

X-Men fans owe basically everything to Dave Cockrum. Due to low sales in the late '60s, Marvel had stopped publishing new X-Men stories and instead just put out reprints of older material. In a last ditch effort to drum up interest, the company put writer Len Wein and Dave Cockrum in charge of introducing a new team of mutants to audiences. Cockrum co-created and designed new mutants such as Nightcrawler, Storm, and Colossus to lead this new class along with Wolverine, a character Wein had created earlier.

Giant Size X-Men #1 was released in 1975 and was a hit among fans. The new team added some memorable dynamics to the book and all of Cockrum’s characters instantly became classics. His offbeat designs and knack for crafting pulse-pounding action scenes helped X-Men come off the chopping block and transformed the title into a pop culture juggernaut.