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Love, laughter, passion

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By Michelle Malkin  •  November 29, 2006 12:06 AM

Two simple, little reminders about the things that matter most.

The first is from the Times of London: “Mother in coma laughs at her children’s jokes.”

A mother of two who has spent two years in a coma has started chuckling at her children’s jokes. It was the first sound Andrea Brushneen, 31, had made since suffering severe head injuries in a car crash.

The laughter started when her son, Mark, 7, began cracking jokes to see if he could get a response. Since then Mark and his sister Shaunagh, 11, have been trying different jokes to get her to chuckle again, and her 34-year-old husband, also called Mark, is hoping that she can spend her first Christmas at home since the accident in October 2004.

Although Mrs Brushneen is still in a coma, her family have raised £75,000 to convert their house to allow her to spend time at home.

Mr Brushneen, 34, said: “The kids and I were sitting around the bedside and Mark just began cracking jokes . . . they were just childish things and little family in-jokes but, amazingly, she began to laugh. We couldn’t believe it. It has lifted everyone’s spirits.

“We had only really ever communicated by nods and smiles before and we hadn’t heard her voice in two years. It was a very emotional moment.”

Mr Brushneen, a former postman who has given up his job to care for his wife, said: “Technically, Andrea is still in a coma but she is responsive . . . the children are always looking for new jokes and running around like clowns to make her laugh.

If you’re like me, you won’t be able to get through the rest of the article without choking up–and wanting to hug your kids extra hard when they chirpily, tirelessly, giggly bombard you with the same 10 knock-knock jokes they’ve been telling for the last two months.

Second item: “X-Men illustrator dies in Superman pajamas.”

Wearing Superman pajamas and covered with his Batman blanket, comic book illustrator Dave Cockrum died Sunday.

The 63-year-old overhauled the X-Men comic and helped popularize the relatively obscure Marvel Comics in the 1970s. He helped turn the title into a publishing sensation and major film franchise.

Cockrum died in his favorite chair at his home in Belton, South Carolina, after a long battle with diabetes and related complications, his wife Paty Cockrum said Tuesday.

…At Marvel Comics, Cockrum and writer Len Wein were handed the X-Men. The comic had been created in 1963 as a group of young outcasts enrolled in an academy for mutants. The premise had failed to capture fans.

Cockrum and Wein added their own heroes to the comic and published “Giant-Size X-Men No. 1″ in 1975. Many signature characters Cockrum designed and co-created — such as Storm, Mystique, Nightcrawler and Colossus — went on to become part of the “X-Men” films starring Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry.

Cockrum received no movie royalties, said family friend Clifford Meth, who organized efforts to help Cockrum and his family during his protracted medical care.

“Dave saw the movie and he cried — not because he was bitter,” Meth said. “He cried because his characters were on screen and they were living.”

“He had a genuine love for comics and for science fiction and for fantasy, and he lived in it,” Meth said. “He loved his work.”

To love your work and to be loved, rather than scorned, for your passion is truly a blessing.

R.I.P., Dave Cockrum. Your passion lives:

xmencover.jpg

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NYTimes has an obituary here.

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