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Friday, 21 March 2008
The G.I. Joe Art of
Marshall Rogers

    On March 26th, 2007, reported the death of well known comic book artist Marshall Rogers. Click here for details. Rogers was best known for his work on DC's Batman comics, creating what many consider a definitive design of that character. In addition, he worked on many other books over the years, including G.I. Joe's original Marvel series. While he was not as prolific as some of the Joe artists, Rogers pencilled some of the most memorable and most important scenes in the series. He stuck very closely to the character designs of the action figures down to the smallest detail. The following is a small sample of some of his work from the G.I. Joe issues he pencilled:

G.I. JOE #61 (July, 1987): Rogers' first issue includes not only the arrest of  three Joes in Borovia -- the start of a major storyline, but more importantly the apparent death of Cobra Commander at the hands of disgruntled Crimson Guardsman, Fred VII. Fred replaced Cobra Commander for the next thirty-seven issues before the Commander's return. (Click the image for a large version)

G.I. JOE #75 (September, 1988): In one of the most absurd scenes in the midst of the Cobra Island civil war storyline, Destro serves tea to his Iron Grenadiers while they observe the battle between Cobra Commander's forces and the allied forces of G.I. Joe and Serpentor. As the Joes fall back, a large number of characters and vehicles can be seen. Despite Rogers' art, this issue does suffer a little due to some... unfortunate coloring. (Click the image for a large version)

 G.I. JOE #77 (October, 1988): This issue includes the memorable but less than progressive "catfight" between Lady Jaye and Zarana, while many male Joes and Cobras cheer them on. The final scenes include the first appearance of the Jugglers since a brief glimpse of the corrupt officers in issue #48. They continue to plague the Joes for many years, and return in the Devil's Due series. (Click the images for larger versions)

G.I. JOE #79 (November, 1988): This is the first of two Dreadnok-centric issues pencilled by Rogers. In this issue, a group of Joes spies on the bikers' gas station hideout in New Jersey at night before they're discovered. There's a rematch between Thrasher's Thunder Machine and Cross Country's HAVOC, after they last faced off in issue #51. Buzzer unpacks a stolen missile to even the odds, but don't worry -- he's stopped by Order on the next page. (Click the image for a large version)

G.I. JOE #81 (December, 1988): After being released from jail on a technicality thanks to Cobra lawyers in the previous issue, the Dreadnoks tangle with Battle Force 2000 on the New Jersey turnpike. Mutt rides along, hoping to get some payback for Buzzer's injuring of Junkyard in their last meeting. The issue features a fast-moving nighttime battle that ends when local state troopers arrest everybody, Joes included. (Click the image for a large version)

G.I. JOE #82 (January, 1989): Rogers only pencilled the first six pages of this issue, which shows us the brutal training program that potential G.I. Joe team members go through before joining the team. Duke plays drill sergeant to the many hopefuls. Only three of the many soldiers shown last through the program: Repeater, Lightfoot and Budo (in his only Marvel series appearance). (Click the image for a large version)

G.I. JOE #84 (March, 1989): This issue includes huge revelations about the death of Snake-Eyes family and the assassination of the Hard Master. We learn that the Commander hired Zartan to kill Snake-Eyes because it was his brother driving the car that collided with the one driven by the commando's parents. This scene, showing Zartan being hired, was recently reproduced in Devil's Due's Dreadnoks: Declassfied #2. (Click the image for large version)

G.I. JOE #86 (May, 1989): In honor of the 25th anniversary of the original G.I. Joe toys, Marvel released an issue featuring a character known only as "Joe" serving as the head of security for the government's secret laser defense weapon, hidden in a Manhattan skyscraper. Joe was assisted by a scientist named Jane. At issue's end, Joe reveals to Hawk and other team members that he was the original G.I. Joe, and that Jane was their nurse. Joe appears a few times more, and will be given a full name and history for his 30th anniversary. Many years later, Devil's Due will bring back Joe Colton as leader of the newest version of the G.I. Joe team. (Click the image for large version)
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