Friday, August 04, 2006

Marshall Roger: Batman's Greatest Artist

Art dealer Albert Moy, had the majority of Detective Comics #478, from 1978 I believe, the last regulary Marshall Rogers issue of Dectective. After his initial stint with on the book with Terry Austin, a 6 issue run if you ignore the Calculator issues, he did two more with Len Wein and Dick Giordano inking.

Rogers work at that time was stunning. He was all over the map with his layouts, in a good way, and his arcitectural background served him well in terms of his building design, beyond what most artists would put into their work. His vision, for that is the only thing that I can call it, of what the Batman's world should look like was so damn unique that I still can't quite get my head around it to this day.

Anyway, I apprears that Roger's entire share of the book is in Moy's hands, almost two thirds of the book, with a lot of Batman fighting the (at that time) new Clayface. Stuinning stuff that clearly hasn't been broken up and spread out all over comicdom in the 30 years since it was published. For that art to only have now surfaced gives us a great glimpse of that the collected book looked like when it arrived at DC in the spring of '78. How Paul Levitz could say, as he so famously did that, "Contrary to popular belief, a Marshall Rogers Batman does not sell better than an Irv Novick Batman." without their being some sort of other editorial criteria involved still floors me.

Lets turn this logic on its head for once: the Marshall Rogers Batman doesn't sell less than Irv Novick's version, and its hard for me not the see the DC staffers getting the pages from Marshall and going, "Oh yeah, we need more of this." Apparently, as time has told, they were not as floored as I was.

Marshall did do some more stories for DC before disappearing to do turn up with Detectives Inc. with Don McGregor and Scorpio Rose with Steve Englehart and then migrating over to Marvel. And they were quite good. Detective's Inc is years ahead of it's time, like many of Don McGregor's projects over the years. It's not a total success, but very strong in it's own right. And Marshall's vision is very strong from that time period, whether it's Detective's Inc. or his run on Dr. Strange.

But nothing is as good as his Batman. And Moy has non-Batman pages from the book for a song: $250 or so. Go over and buy some before he's all out. You'll thank me later.

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