Monday, March 26, 2007

Marshall Rogers Dies

As I've said many times, the first comic book I ever read was JLA 150. But the first comic I ever got was the Detective Comics issue with the Laughing Fish Joker cover. I think it was issue 475. It scared me so much, I was terrified to read it. And so I read JLA instead. It took me years before I read that Detective issue -- and all because of Marshall Rogers's amazingly scary and wonderful art. It was so real, so detailed...he was the true precursor to Perez. Last year at NY Comicon, I told him how much I loved his work. I didn't tell him I worked for DC. I was just one of his fans. So sorry to see that man go.

B

http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=106531

MARSHALL ROGERS DIES
Comics have lost another luminary. Details are still sketchy, but word came earlier today that Marshall Rogers died yesterday or Saturday. The cause of death was not immediately disclosed.

Rogers was born on January 22nd, 1950 in Flushing, New Jersey.

From "DC Profiles #26" which appeared in 1978 (courtesy of the Marshall Rogers fan Site):

Of all DC's rapidly rising new stars, Marshall Rogers' ascent has been swiftest of all. In less than a year, Marshall has gone from back feature artist to first-stringer on Detective Comics and Mr. Miracle.

Marshall almost didn't make it to comics. His studies in art school concentrated on architecture, but after two years of studying designing parking lots and shopping centers, Marshall decided "the world wasn't ready for another Frank Lloyd Wright" and left school seeking fame and fortune in the comic field.

Unfortunately, the comics world was not yet ready for Marshall Rogers. For the next two years, he worked in a hardware store while doing occasional illustrations for mass circulation magazines and sharpening his artistic skills.

Apparently, those two years did the trick. Marshall broke into comics, landing a stint pencilling for Marvel's Britain weeklies.

Not long after, Marshall showed up at DC Comics, portfolio in hand, and was given his first assignment: a two part Tales of the Great Disaster story for Weird War Tales. That was followed by some mystery stories, a Tales of Krypton piece and a four part feature in Detective Comics featuring a new villain named The Calculator. His work on the latter led Editor Julie Schwartz to hand Marshall a real plum for a newcomer: pencilling the book length Batman versus the Calculator story in Detective Comics. What came next surprised even Marshall. The powers that be assigned Marshall to Detective as the regular penciller. And he almost immediately picked up the art chores on the newly-revived Mr. Miracle book as well.

"What I try to do," Marshall told DC Profiles, "is first think of what's been done before and then I discard that and try to approach it from a completely different angle." After looking over Marshall Rogers' work, we'd have to say he's found his different angle.

Beginning in the late 1970s, Rogers' career covered many different characters, Rogers is best known for his Batman work when collaborating with writer Steve Englehart. The two first worked together on the character in Detective Comics #471-#476, and for years, their version of the character was considered to be the definitive one – a dark, brooding hero who stayed to the shadows and flowed with a natural grace.

An architect by training, Rogers work always stood out for its attention to detail, from the cityscapes of Gotham and articulated (and realistic) muscles of the heroes, to the different techniques he would employ, from bold blacks and zipatone to a wide array of others.

Rogers work was seen in many other comics from the major publishers including brief runs on Marvel's Silver Surfer, and Dr. Strange as well as a wide variety of independent titles: Detectives, Inc., Coyote (again with Englehart), his own Capt. Quick and the Foozle, and Scorpio Rose.

Rogers left comics for a period in the early '90s to work in videogames, but returned later in the decade, where his work was seen in projects such as Green Lantern: Evil's Might and most recently, Marvel Westerns: Strange Westerns Starring The Black Rider, and Batman: Dark Detective a continuation of his and Englehart's story from Detective Comics two and a half decades earlier.

2 comments:

spyscribbler said...

"What I try to do," Marshall told DC Profiles, "is first think of what's been done before and then I discard that and try to approach it from a completely different angle."

I'm sorry to heart about his passing. The above quote is pretty darn good writing advice, methinks.

Rory Murray said...

Marshall's illustrations were exquisite! He was one of the 5 Best BATMAN Artists on the planet. And although I never had the priveledge of meeting him, he is sorely missed.