Mark Rogers, the artist and author who created Samurai Cat, passed away last weekend while hiking with his family.
I knew Mark off and on for many decades (he was godfather to one of my brother's children). He was an extraordinarily talented artist and writer whose abilities were only exceeded by his graciousness. And he once did a red-hot portrait of my wife, Judith.
While still a high school student Rogers wrote a short novel, The Runestone, which was made into a film in 1990 by Willard Carroll. The novel itself was never published except as a numbered, signed limited edition chapbook in 1979. Rogers eventually graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Delaware, with a Batchelor of Arts degree. He eventually combined his skills as a writer and artist in creating the seven-book Samurai Cat series, for which he is best known. Nearly every other page of these books features an elaborate color or black-and-white painting.
An armored, sword-wielding cat named Miaowara Tomokato is the central character of Rogers' satirical books, each of which parodies history or pop culture...although always with a completely straight face. In the course of Tomokato's search for revenge for the murder of his master, he meets innumerable characters from every era on and even off the earth. Some of the figures he meets are historical, others come from myth and legend—-ranging from King Arthur and Tolkien to Lovecraft and Conan. Whoever and whatever Tomokato meets, the results are usually death and carnage on an epic scale.
Epic Comics published a three-issue mini-series based on Samurai Cat. While Rogers provided the covers, other artists illustrated the stories.
Rogers also wrote and illustrated nine other novels, mostly fantasy and horror, including Zorachus, as well as several portfolios and collections of his art, including Nothing But A Smile, a book of his pin-up paintings.
He is survived by his wife, Kate, and their four children.