Read this and share it with a teenager you know …
Last year, during a series of interviews, Kelley Jones, one of the he most evocative artists in Batman’s history, told me a story about how Marshall Rogers, a certified Batgod, changed his life.
Not in the way most great artists change us — by moving us with their vision and talent — but by telling a teenage Kelley at a local comics convention in late-’70s California that if he put his mind to it, he had enough budding talent to become a Batman artist in the future.
Read the full story here, because it’s very much worth your time.
But the gist is that a friend surprised Kelley, who was all of 16 at the time, by showing his work to Rogers:
“It was like, “The storytelling’s good, the lighting is excellent, there’s an original look here.” All the stuff you’d want to hear! He gave me some pointers on how to go about doing certain things and then he finished it up with, “One day I can see you doing a really great Batman!” Kelley said.
Let that sink in for a second.
Anyway, I always thought it was cool, how in a very literal sense, one generation opened the door for the next.
Then today, an email popped into my inbox from Kelley with a spectacular postscript:
“After much digging in my ancient archives, I found the drawing Marshall Rogers did for me in ’79 when I was 16. This is what he did for me, explaining how he drew a figure (the nice touch was when drawing Batman, he added one head taller!). That’s when he looked at my primitive stuff and said that I would one day do a memorable Batman if I put my mind to it,” he wrote.
“That meeting with Rogers changed my life and it’s nice to have a physical object to mark that moment!”
I asked him right off if I could publish what he sent me and he agreed:
“We Marshallophiles gotta keep it alive!”
Cool story, right? If you want more, feel free to check out the whole interview series:
Part 1: How a meeting with Marshall Rogers sparked his career. Click here.
Part 2: The Secret Origin of Kelley Jones. Click here.
Part 3: Diving into the world of Red Rain. Click here.
Part 4: Making the leap to monthly Batman artist. Click here.
Part 5: How his art was collected in Graphitti’s Kelley Jones Batman Gallery Edition. Click here.