Monday, March 26, 2007

R.I.P. Marshall Rogers (January 22, 1950 - March 25, 2007)

Nobody drew a better Joker than him...


Comics have lost another luminary. Details are still sketchy, but word came earlier today that Marshall Rogers died yesterday or Saturday. The cause of death was not immediately disclosed.

Rogers was born on January 22nd, 1950 in Flushing, New York.

From “DC Profiles #26” which appeared in 1978 (courtesy of the Marshall Rogers Fan Site):

Of all DC's rapidly rising new stars, Marshall Rogers' ascent has been swiftest of all. In less than a year, Marshall has gone from back feature artist to first-stringer on Detective Comics and Mr. Miracle.

Marshall almost didn't make it to comics. His studies in art school concentrated on architecture, but after two years of studying designing parking lots and shopping centers, Marshall decided "the world wasn't ready for another Frank Lloyd Wright" and left school seeking fame and fortune in the comic field.

Unfortunately, the comics world was not yet ready for Marshall Rogers. For the next two years, he worked in a hardware store while doing occasional illustrations for mass circulation magazines and sharpening his artistic skills.

Apparently, those two years did the trick. Marshall broke into comics, landing a stint pencilling for Marvel's Britain weeklies.

Not long after, Marshall showed up at DC Comics, portfolio in hand, and was given his first assignment: a two part Tales of the Great Disaster story for Weird War Tales. That was followed by some mystery stories, a Tales of Krypton piece and a four part feature in Detective Comics featuring a new villain named The Calculator. His work on the latter led Editor Julie Schwartz to hand Marshall a real plum for a newcomer: pencilling the book length Batman versus the Calculator story in Detective Comics. What came next surprised even Marshall. The powers that be assigned Marshall to Detective as the regular penciller. And he almost immediately picked up the art chores on the newly-revived Mr. Miracle book as well.

"What I try to do," Marshall told DC Profiles, "is first think of what's been done before and then I discard that and try to approach it from a completely different angle." After looking over Marshall Rogers' work, we'd have to say he's found his different angle.

Beginning in the late 1970s, Rogers’ career covered many different characters, Rogers is best known for his Batman work when collaborating with writer Steve Englehart. The two first worked together on the character in Detective Comics #471-#476 (inked by Terry Austin), and for years, their version of the character was considered to be the definitive one – a dark, brooding hero who stayed to the shadows and flowed with a natural grace.

An architect by training, Rogers' work always stood out for its attention to detail, from the cityscapes of Gotham and articulated (and realistic) muscles of the heroes, to the different techniques he would employ, from bold blacks and zipatone to a wide array of others.

Rogers work was seen in many other comics from the major publishers including brief runs on DC's Mr. Miracle, Marvel’s Silver Surfer, and Dr. Strange as well as a wide variety of independent titles: Detectives, Inc., Coyote (again with Englehart), his own Capt. Quick and the Foozle, and Scorpio Rose.

Rogers left comics for a period in the early ‘90s to work in videogames, but returned later in the decade, where his work was seen in projects such as Green Lantern: Evil’s Might and most recently, Marvel Westerns: Strange Westerns Starring The Black Rider, and Batman: Dark Detective, a continuation of his and Englehart’s story from Detective Comics two and a half decades earlier. The two were reportedly considering a third installment of the larger "Dark Detective" story.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

No Alarms And No Surprises

This is strange to write on a blog but…

I miss the comic book universe pre-internet.

One of the biggest reasons I was pro-kill Captain America was not so much because I wanted him to die (I would rather Superman die and stay dead long before I would choose Cap) but because I was impressed with Marvel’s ability to keep this a well guarded secret. Any time Marvel or DC can actually surprise me, no matter what it is, I’m on board.

I love surprises.

I remember the *plink* of the bullet going through Kitty Pryde and hitting the thought to be dead Colossus.

I remember Xorn being revealed to be Magneto.

I remember not knowing that Robin was going to die. (Imagine how that would have played out today. A 10 AM Wednesday post - interviews Geoff Johns about "A World Without Robin")

Call them cheap tricks. All I know is I read those comics multiple times.

There didn’t used to be so many options. I never fucked with the newsgroups because it was so unorganized and messy but once I went to Newsarama the first time. It was over. Now we have thousands of comic blogs and websites getting their information from Marvel and DC, Previews books, weekly spoilers from Rich Johnston.

Nothing that happens these days are a surprise. Even things like Civil War or Infinite Crisis when we don’t know what the final issue will be like, we know what the editorial landscape will be for the next 3 months.

Sadly, the only pleasure I get like that is from my older brother.

Our basic system is this: I buy all the comics and read them. Then every 3-4 weeks, he comes to my apartment and takes them home with him to read. He doesn’t go to Newsarama or Comic Book Resources or even this blog unless I forward him a link. The only advance comic book knowledge he gets is from me.

So after he finally dives into the weeks of comic books I’ve just given him, I get a ton of phone calls:

“Holy shit!”
“I can’t believe he’s dead”
“YOOOOOOOOO! Why didn’t you tell me?”

I never tell him (Okay, sometimes I tell him what to read first) because I am vicariously living thought his sense of awe and surprise that I have long since lost.

It’s too late for me. I read at least 7 comic websites a day. I am addicted to spoilers. I can’t help it...

The day that Captain America #25 dropped, I didn’t know Captain America died until I actually read the issue because I was on vacation and wasn’t using my computer so I didn’t go to my daily bookmarks list.

I heard all the stories of people being spoiled by Yahoo and NY Daily News.

Even the cashier at Golden Apple tried to spoil it for me assuming I already knew but I was like “Don’t say a thing. I haven’t heard anything about it yet and I haven't read it.”

I got into my friend’s car, read it, said “Oh shit!” and felt like a technological child again.

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More fun with the Superfriends

Just some more fun

I thought that this was pretty funny but I dunno.
I will finally finish my Storm write up after a 1 yr hiatus

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I'm thoroughly convinced that Rick Jones could have prevented Civil War.

You tell 'em, Ricky.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

The Good Captain.

So, they killed Captain America the other day.

It's made the news - Hell, they talked about it on the Colbert Report.

We could discuss the thematic implications, the narrative construction - the whole shmear.

We could.

And it would be all over the map.

I'd rather discuss the necessity of killing Captain America.

I'm an old Cap fan. I have almost the entire Mark Gruenwald run, which spanned 1985-1995. I'm talking from the time I was in grade school through my high school years, I was a Captain America fiend. See, Gruenwald didn't run away from the fact that Captain America was a 'man out of time' - or as Paul Jenkins portrayed him in Frontline #11, a dinosaur who no longer represented the people. Gruenwald played into it. He used Cap as an icon, letting his understanding of the evolving American context reflect in Cap's 'stranger in a strange land'. And when Cap had doubts about that context, he took sabbaticals - some forced, some voluntary. See, the question of working for the government came up before - in the 90s it was all about The Commission and Henry Gyrich. And Cap made clear he fought for the people and, ultimately, the American ideal. And when he had doubts, he'd leave his 'office', so to speak, and get his head together.

And once he hashed shit together, and figured out his place in the modern American narrative, he returned, reinvigored, and fought on. So okay, Civil War. Cap's out of step with public opinion, it seems. He surrenders, walks off in cuffs, because he believes at heart he has failed the American people, yadda yadda. He can be in prison, removed, with the possibility of return. It takes him off the stage, gives time to recycle the character, try new stories - which the Marvel people keep saying is the at the heart of this dramatic move...

But giving him the Jack Ruby?

It smacks of a bad marketing ploy.

And I can't decide if that's necessary for the story.


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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I wish I worked for Marvel's marketing department

I'm a cheap bastard.

I'm a college student, so I don't have much disposable income.
After beer and food, I don't really have much left in my budget for comics.

Thankfully the owner of my local comic shop is cool and lets me leech off his shelves like the little kid at the news stand in Watchmen. That is, as long as I buy a couple of books every week.

My point being is that this week, as i sat in Quinlan Keep's comfy chair, Marvel made me pick up a whole stack of comics just to keep up with what's going on with the Civil War aftermath. My problem isn't that there was too much coming out, that's never a problem.

The problem was that there wasn't enough!

In every issue, as Tony Stark was trying to pick out the new Avengers lineup, he had a pretty nifty screen showing all of the registered heroes and villains he had to pick from.

As I saw this over and over again, I wondered why I didn't have access to this.

I sat contemplating how easy it would be for Marvel to set up a mini-site with a replica of Stark's database showing exactly what he's looking at. Personally, that would clear up a lot for me. I'm not very well versed in the more denizens of the Marvel universe, and I'm sure that same thing alienated a lot of casual readers from Civil War.

I mean, I had never even heard of Typeface before Frontline, and now I'm supposed to care that he died?

Then the advertising student part of my barin kicked in, and I thought of how much farther they could have gone with this.

Marvel could put a few weeks between Civil War #7 and Mighty Avengers #1 and given readers a chance to guess the new lineup using Tony's database.

They could have made it a contest and given a prize to whoever guessed it right.
I mean, I think it's pretty safe to say that Marvel wouldn't have had to give out shit, because not one single person in their right mind would have picked fuckin' Ares (but I am interested to see where they go with that).

Anyway, the whole contest could have been interesting. The fans would be involved, visiting the site, reading each others' lineups, message board arguing (and from a marketing point of view, reading ads and adding their emails to's newsletter).

Quesada and the gang could even choose like 5 of the coolest team combinations and give the winners autographed drawings of their Dream Mighty Avengers. Nerds love shit like that.

I graduate in May.

Gimme a job, Quesada.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Um, about "52" Week #43

Not like this. Not. like. this.

(Warning: clicking this link = major spoiler)

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Have we addressed the Walking Dead argument?

You know, the one about Michonne's beating and rape.

Basically, I don't think it was out of line. I think it's the expectation that a white writer would purposely abuse a black female character that's causing the anger, not the actual writer's intentions.

We simply don't have enough to go on to say that Kirkman is racist for what happened to Michonne. The Governor, however, might just be. Kirkman made The Governor completely worthless as a human being, and a completely worthless human being acting the way The Governor did is logical. He's a real villain. Making the person that did that to Michonne one of the most vile villains in comics I've seen tells me that Kirkman has his perspective straight.

Now we get into the folks that want Kirkman to take into account the history of black treatment by whites when he writes black characters. These folks aren't accusing Kirkman of being racist, only of being insensitive to their perspective. Basically, what they're asking Kirkman to do is factor in how real-world readers will view anything he does with the black characters he created. It doesn't stop there. These sae folks want Kirkman to not only factor in how they view anything that happens to the black characters, but also how those folks think OTHER folks are gonna view it.

In this month's letter column actually said this:

"If you want the honest truth Mr. Kirkman, a great deal of white readers probably whacked off to that issue."

Let's not even get into if that is true or not just yet. Let's examine the wording.

"If you want the honest truth" tells me I'm going to get a fact or at least the truth about how this reader feels about the issue. But we don't get truth. We get speculation on how THIS reader feels about OTHER readers.

Even more, it tells me that this particular reader may see me in my local comic shop picking up The Walking Dead and assume that I'm going home after I stop off at Walgreens for some cocoa butter and an off-brand dildo so I can fuck myself while watching a character get beaten and raped. Oh great, now I'M paranoid to even be seen reading it. I imagine it's a million times worse for Robert Kirkman, who actually creates it.

So okay, now we can get into whether or not "a great deal of white readers" jerk off to watching a black woman being beaten and raped.

Show of hands?

Just as I thought. Only JRennolds and Uatu.

But seriously, agree or disagree, I wanna hear this. I tell ya what, I'll put it on the blog, and we can discuss it there. I'd like Kirkman to see more than one black/white reader at a time discussing this.

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