Friday, February 18, 2011

Making a Splash: Marshall Rogers' Batman in Detective Comics

Ya know Ol' Groove's all-time fave hero is The Batman. During the Groovy Age DC was quite erratic about the quality of talent they'd allow to tell the tales of our Darknight Detective. We'd go from the highs of guys like O'Neil, Adams, and Aparo to lows like--well, I try to keep it positive around here, but there are some folks, talented as they might've been, who had no business doing Batman stories. You know who they are. Still and all, the great was really, really great, like the legendary Detective Comics run by Steve Englehart, Marshall Rogers, and Terry Austin (followed by a shorter, still top-notch run in which Len Wein and Dick Giordano joined Rogers--oh, and the one ish where Rogers teamed with Denny O'Neil). DC has reprinted most of these far-out features in many a trade paperback (Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told, Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told, and Strange Apparitions, just to name a few), so it's not really hard to track 'em all down. But it's still quite awe-inspiring to view all of Rogers' 'Tec splashes (from issues 471-479, and 481 plus his Batman debut from 'Tec #468) in one sitting. His background in architecture is put to fabulous use, and his unique Bob-Kane-meets-Neal-Adams take on The Batman, himself, goes a long way to show why Rogers will forever rank in the top echelon of Batman artists. Enjoy, Groove-ophiles!


  1. Groove, I bought (and still own) these issues reprinted in the Shadow of the Bat baxter reprint series from the 80's. I'd never seen Rogers' artwork before these reprints.

    I was blown away as a teenager. Not only was the interiors incredible, but the covers and colors were just as amazing. So it's nice to revisit some of the images online.

    Regarding that splash page for 'Battle of the Thinking Machines' - I i never realized, Batman's cap spelled out his name! Too cool.

    But my favorite splash presented here is THe Laughing Fish page. I still get that impression of a late-night, drizzle-ly atmosphere!

    Love yer blog, man.

  2. Hey Groovy one
    I agree 200% I feel the same way you do about the artists & writers on the Dark Knight. Marshal Rogers left us way too soon. I just wish he had stayed on Batman alot longer as well.Ironic you decided to post this today.

    I was just talking about him yesterday. Twomorrow's Back Issue's 50th issue will be a all Batman issue. For anyone who cares, also issue #47 mid-March 2011 issue. Those thrilling Days of Yesteryear issue. With Dave Steven's last interview. It also has a beautiful painted Rocketeer cover by Stevens also. It features a article on Man-God by yours truly also. Which can now be bought on the Twomorrows website. Thanks for yet another great blog!

  3. I'm still missing several of these. What collections or reprints could I get to finish it off? I already have the Greatest Batman and Greatest Joker TPBs. And the Strange Aparations is rather expensive on Amazon right now.

  4. Bat to the basics! I think Roger's was like the second coming of Bob Kane! His attention to details, use of shadows & black to create a eerie & creepy mood drew the readers into the world of Batman in Gotham city.

    The Laughing Fish is still one of the ultimate Joker vs Batman tales. I wish they had used it in the Batman: The Dark Knight movie. His Robin even looked really cool & powerful.

    Here's some interesting triva for you. Did you know in 1936 their was a pulp hero called "The Whisper". His alter ego was "Police Commissioner James "Wildcat" Gordon". "The Whisper" was a Shadow knock off that didn't sell very well. Ironic in 1939 National/DC had Police Commissioner Gordon, then in Jan of 1940 or 43? National created Wildcat! Concidence? In the immortal words of The Mask! I DOOON'T THINK SSSSOOOO!

  5. Ok, Wildcat was first published in Sensational Comics #1 in Jan 1942. For anyone who cares to know.

  6. These are some beautiful pages, and one of the reasons I put Rogers in my top 2 favorite Bat-artists (the other one's Aparo).
    Chimeradave, I can relate to your pain with reference to the Strange Apparitions collection - I would suggest doing occasional searches on Ebay and/or similar auction sites; I stumbled across a relatively inexpensive copy that way about 5 months ago.

  7. My apologies. The reprint series was "Shadow of the Bat-Man"

  8. Thanks for the advice Edo. I appreciate it.


  9. HEH, it might be best to try and get these reprints, thanks


  10. Chimeradave,
    I think you would appreciate this series as each issue featured a cover Marshall Rogers drew for the reprint series. I found some of the issues for sale at a comic shop online. They were very affordable, but the series was not complete. Wish I could recall the link.
    If I find it again, I'll send it your way.

  11. Chimeradave, The site is called mycomicshop . com.
    They have all 1,2,3, and 5, but no 4.

    For what it's worth, issue 5's cover is the one I always like best for its perspective, atmosphere and coloring.

  12. I remember reading old interviews strongly hinting that what you see on the printed page is more Austin than Rogers. Of course the inker always gets the last word, but here he had re-draw a lot of bad anatomy..



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