Marshall Rogers was born January 22, 1950. As a youngster he was a voracious reader, with a special interest in the comics. He attended Kent State University for two years, majoring in architecture, before deciding on an art career. He dropped out of school and moved to New York City to be close to the publishing industry.
Aside from his drafting training, his rendering technique is self-taught. He cites the comic work of Jack Kirby, Neal Adams and Walt Simonson as influences. His first attempt at breaking into comics was presenting his portfolio to Neal Adams for a critique. Adams advised him in no uncertain terms to give it up.
Marshall was undaunted, and became determined to keep plugging until he was successful. During this time he did work for a variety of men's magazines, culminating in a four page color strip for the debut of Cheri magazine. He moved to East Hampton, working in a hardware store to support himself while he refined his drawing.
His first comic experience was doing clean-up and touch-up work on stats of golden age comic art to prepare them for reprinting as back-up stories for DC. He finally broke into professional comics as an artist in January, 1977, when he was assigned splash pages for Marvel Comics' British editions. His first U.S. comic work was doing single-panel illustrations for Marvels' black and white magazines Doc Savage and Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu. He made some tentative plans to do a martial arts story with writer Chris Claremont, but still found himself looking for steadier work.
He took his samples to Vince Colletta at DC, and was assigned a back-up feature intended for Kamandi, "A Canterbury Tail", that was finally published in Weird War issues 51 and 52. This was Marshall Rogers' first published mainstream comic story. The martial arts story became a reality as "Daughters of the Dragon", published in Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu issues 32 and 33. DC liked Marshall's work, and assigned him a back-up series in Detective Comics, the Calculator stories. When a Calculator story was slated for the lead feature in Detective, Marshall Rogers was chosen as the artist. These stories generated an avalanche of mail. Fans were enthralled with Rogers' tasteful handling of the Batman.
During this time, comics author Steve Englehart had turned in a series of truly inspired Batman scripts for Detective. Due to the popular demand, Rogers became the regular artist on Detective Comics, and one of the comic field's most celebrated artist/writer teams was born.
Marshall Rogers comments on these stories:
"I appreciate that I got the opportunity to work on one of my first and favorite super-heroes. I'm a dark child; I like dark moody places...that is what the Batman is all about. His whole essence works into one single purpose - to instill fear into criminals. The Englehart stories really inspired me. We were able to create the essence of the original 1930's Batman."
It should also be noted that Marshall's architectural training served him in good stead while illustrating these stories. His detailed renderings of the cityscapes of Gotham City (unmistakable New York), reflected much greater time and care than the usual sparse comic book backgrounds. Marshall feels that this type of detail is very important for a superior graphic story. As he reflects, "You have to engross the reader in the world you're portraying. The readers must feel as if they are there...a part of that world." Marshall Rogers carried these high standards into his illustrations for the short-lived revival of Mr. Miracle for DC, and feature stories for Heavy Metal, Superman Family and DC mystery books. Marshall Rogers has now turned his illustrative talents towards what for him are more artistically satisfying projects. He is currently completing a graphic novel, Detectives, Inc., written by Don McGregor. It is scheduled for publication in early 1980. Beyond that not much can be said, except for this hint: Englehart and Rogers are reviving their collaboration, and are planning to work together on an exciting project in the near future.