Laughing Fish

Comics artist Marshall Rogers died yesterday at the age of 57. He's best remembered for his six-issue run on Detective Comics with writer Steve Englehart. Despite its brevity, fans consider theirs to be the definitive interpretation of Batman of the '70s, and indeed in the entire history of the character.

Of special note is the two-parter from Detective #475-476, cover dated February and March/April 1978, "The Laughing Fish" and "The Sign of the Joker." This is widely held to be one of the greatest Joker stories ever. Random Panels highlights one of the reasons why - Rogers' truly creepy rendering of the Joker. He's up there with Brian Bolland and Neal Adams in terms of drawing Batman's arch-enemy. The creators of the '90s "Batman" animated series created one of their best and most memorable episodes based on this story (with a bit lifted from the O'Neil/Adams classic, "The Joker's Five-way Revenge," too). And if the Nolan Brothers and David Goyer know what they're doing, they've looked to this one for inspiration, too, when writing The Dark Knight.

It is worth noting that Marshall Rogers also drew one of the most completely kick-ass Batmans* ever, too.

Anyway, he died yesterday, and that is very sad.

* Batmans? Batmen? I donno...