13 COVERS: A MARSHALL ROGERS Birthday Salute

Marshall Rogers was born Jan. 22, 1950.

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UPDATED 1/22/17: I kept going back and forth about whether I wanted to put together a fresh set of 13 COVERS to salute Marshall Rogers this year. Thing is, I love these covers so much, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. These are among my very favorite comics covers of all time and they hold tremendous meaning for me. I want to celebrate them again and again. So enjoy them. And make sure you check out those links at the end, where you can find Steve Englehart’s tribute to his late collaborator, as well as artist Kelley Jones’ moving tributes.

Marshall Rogers’ art means a lot to me and I know it does to a lot of other people too.

But at the same time, I get this nagging feeling that his name is slipping further and further into obscurity. Not with guys like me who are pushing 50. But as the years go by, fewer and fewer Batfans are exposed to his work and Rogers, who died too young in 2007, isn’t around to keep his own flame alive at the zillion comics shows there are across the country.

Now, I have said this before: It is a crime against comics that DC does not have in print the entire Steve Englehart, Rogers, Terry Austin, Walt Simonson and Len Wein run on Detective Comics that ran from Issues #469  to #479 in the late ’70s. They used to publish it as a trade called Strange Apparitions, but it’s been out of print for a long time now. (Also out of print is Legends of the Dark Knight: Marshall Rogers, a 2011 hardcover that collected all of Rogers’ Batman work.)

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Hell, that Detective story should be an Absolute Edition, given how enormously influential it was.

Sigh.

Normally when I do a 13 COVERS salute, I pick from a wide selection. In this case, there isn’t a wide selection from which to pick. But it turns out when you add up the original covers Rogers did during his run, along with the five covers he did in the ’80s when DC reprinted the storyline as Shadow of the Batman, you get … 14.

So here they are: 13 COVERS (Plus 1) by one of the most brilliant Batman artists in history.

Hell, I’m even gonna put them in order from my most favorite to my least. (Mind you, even the 14th cover on this list is right on the money.)

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My God, look at that fire escape. Look at that architecture.

Terry Austin inks

Terry Austin inks

Terry Austin inks

Terry Austin inks

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Terry Austin inks

Terry Austin inks

Terry Austin inks

Terry Austin inks

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13139

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Austin inks

Austin inks

Giordano inks

Giordano inks

Dick Giordano inks

Dick Giordano inks

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For more Marshall Rogers birthday celebration:

Steve Englehart’s appreciation. (Click here.)

Kelley Jones talks about how Rogers directly influenced his career. (Click here.)

The moment Marshall Rogers passed the torch to Kelley Jones. (Click here.)

Chip Kidd discusses Rogers’ design brilliance. (Click here.)

Cover images and credits from the sleek and moody Grand Comics Database.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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3 Comments

  1. Marshall Rogers is probably my favorite Batman artist (it’s really hard to choose one when you have artists like Neal Adams, Irv Novick, Jim Aparo, Don Newton, Alan Davis, Kelley Jones, Jason Fabok, and more to choose from). He made the Darknight Detective aspect of Batman come alive.

    I hope DC will at some point publish an Absolute edition that is a combination of the complete “Strange Apparitions” story, the “Legends of the Dark Knight: Marshall Rogers” volume, and the rest of his DC art including pinups (I remember one that was published in “All-Star Squadron” in the ’80s). I guess that’d be nearly a 1,000-page book. Hey, a man can dream!

    Thanks for the great tribute to Marshall Rogers.

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  2. I’m in total agreement with the sentiments expressed here. Marshall was the artist who best captured the mystery of The Batman. And let’s not forget his version of the one, true Robin. He brought back the old hairstyle Robin first wore in the ’40s, differentiating him from Dick Grayson. Brilliant! Why didn’t other artists follow suit? He was also, arguably, the first artist to make Gotham City a “character” in its own right, making it mysterious without the crutch of the odd Gothic designs used in the Tim Burton movies. It would probably take a couple of Absolute editions to collect all of his Batman art, including the lesser known works like his portfolio, the comic strip, and so on. You’re right. It IS a crime to ignore this man’s stunning work, and DC should be ashamed of themselves (for this and other incomprehensible decisions they’ve made in recent years.

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