Thursday, March 29, 2007

Marshall Rogers – 1950 - 2007

A celebration of the master artist and his work.

Marshall Rogers

It was on a very sad note that I heard via the Internet that the legendary American comic artist Marshall Rogers had passed away earlier this week.

I was never lucky enough to meet the man himself, but his work will live on and thus like all the true, great artists he will become immortalised through it.

Below is my tribute to him to commemorate this marvellous comic artist and his wonderful work.

Marshall studied architecture for two years before realising he wanted to work in comics. He left college to seek his fortune in the comic industry.

He began working in comics following work in a hardware store, where he honed his storytelling and illustrative skills at nights and weekends and produced occasional illustrations for various magazines.

Marshall Rogers worked on a great many comic characters for many different comics companies and is most famous for his run on Batman in Detective Comics, but I want to take a look at his work on Mister Miracle, following on from where Jack Kirby had left the character some years earlier.
When Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Series ended the fans were left with a great many unanswered questions. Now in Jack Kirby’s own words his stories tended to ask more questions than finding answers. In the case of the Fourth World stories, however, these questions remained unanswered due to the early cancellation of the titles.

In the late seventies DC comics decided to re-launch The New Gods and Mister Miracle, picking up the numbering from the issues they had been cancelled on, rather than starting afresh from number ones.

The New Gods had Don Newton on the art chores, following a test to reader reaction to a potential re-launch in a First Issue Special (a series of issues of number ones, including some earlier Jack Kirby comics), which was drawn by Mike Vosburg, and Mister Miracle had newcomer Marshall Rogers, fresh from his work on Batman in Detective Comics.

The New Gods had lots of changes to the look of the costumes and characters, but the Mister Miracle had all the old sensibilities and yet it was new and it was different.

Marshall’s run on the book was only four issues from issue 19 to issue 22, inclusively – although he did actually continue to produce the cover for issues 23 and 24.

Despite his short run on the title Marshall’s impact and his ability to capture the absolute essence of what made a Kirby comic work made the four issues immortalised in the eyes of the fans. He had given the fans Kirbyesque work as far as capturing the absolute of the characters and stories, but with his unique vision. This made for no jarring changes and made it a truly smooth transition from the earlier Jack Kirby issues. No mean feat following on from the King of comics and his own creations.

There will, I hope, be many such Blogs regarding this tremendous artist, covering the many other comics and characters touched by this great artist.

Please check out Charles Yoakum’s Blog (ink destroyed my brush) for his tribute.

There is a link to this Blog in my Favourite Fellow Bloggers (Friends of Mine) section at the left hand side of this Blog, under my About Me details.

And please check out Marshall Roger’s comic work for yourselves.

You will be missing something truly unique and beautiful if you don’t.

Until next time have fun!

Tim Perkins…
March 27th 2007

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