Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Happy Birthday John Romita & Marshall Rogers!

This week is a big one for long-time comic book fans because we can celebrate not one but TWO huge talents through their birthdays. January 22 is classic Batman illustrator Marshall Rogers' birthday, and January 24 is Mr. Bronze-Age-Marvel-Himself, John Romita's birthday.

Happy Birthday, John Romita! 

John Romita started sketching and illustrating, breaking into Timely-Atlas-Marvel comics in the early 1950s. He was the artist of the short-lived 1950s revival of Captain America, for example. Then for several years he did romance stories for DC Comics when "young love" comics were popular. As they began to fade, Stan Lee himself met with Romita, who he remembered from his Captain America work. Lee suggested Romita work on DAREDEVIL. Romita showed himself able to handle that assignment, so when original Spider-Man artist Steve Ditko left the title (and the company), Lee moved Romita over. John Romita stayed on Spider-Man, doing covers, interiors, or layouts, for more than 40 issues. Also at this time, John Romita was given the art assignment on FANTASTIC FOUR when Jack Kirby left Marvel, although he did not want it and did not stay with the title for more than six issues. Romita also did a stint on the revived CAPTAIN AMERICA.


During the early 1970s, Romita was Marvel's main cover artist, and was its de facto artistic director. He was in charge of designing most of Marvel's Bronze Age characters, including new uniforms for The Sub-Mariner and The Falcon. John Romita's birthday is January 24, 1930. He'll be 83 years old.

Happy Birthday, Marshall Rogers! 

Marshall Rogers broke into comics in the late 1970s, drawing back-up series in titles such as DETECTIVE COMICS. This is where he caught the attention of DETECIVE COMICS editor Julius Schwartz, who knew a winner when he saw one. Rogers was given the lead art assignment, Batman, at the same time that Steve Englehart was coming over to script The Caped Crusader. Together they crafted one of the definitive Batman series, compared in the same breath as such stellar work as that of Gardner Fox-Carmine Infantino and Denny O'Neil-Neal Adams.

While at DC Marshall Rogers also worked on Jack Kirby's MISTER MIRACLE. After this success Rogers moved to Marvel, where he stayed for several years, drawing such varied titles as DOCTOR STRANGE and SILVER SURFER, among other one-shots and specials. Eventually Rogers moved back and forth between DC and Marvel freely, also working for independent publishers such as ECLIPSE. 

In 2006 Marshall Rogers re-teamed with Steve Englehart for another Batman story, DARK DETECTIVE. 

Unfortunately, Marshall Rogers passed away on March 24, 2007. He was 57 years young. January 22 would be his 63rd birthday. 

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