When Rogue first appeared in AVENGERS ANNUAL #10 in1981, long before that internet, artists were often at the mercy of their local libraries and bookstores for reference. If a story called for them to draw the Taj Mahal or a Gemini spacecraft, they couldn’t use Google image search, so they had to do research on their own time at their own expense. Writer Chris Claremont’s script described a new villain called Rogue as looking like Grace Jones, artist Michael Golden didn’t know who Jones was. So he made Rogue up out of his imagination.
Seemingly a remorseless villain, Rogue’s mutant power to absorb other superhuman powers (as well as short-term memories) from other superhumans meant she was almost a match for the Avengers. A heroine named Ms. Marvel fell victim to Rogue’s ability and, for the first and only time, the transfer of powers and memories was permanent. Since that time, Rogue has had the basic set of superpowers in addition to her own: flight, invulnerability and super-strength… And the memories of Ms. Marvel clamoring in her head.
Rogue fought the X-Men next, but soon Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers)’s memories were impossible to drown out, and Rogue turned to her enemies at the Xavier’s School for help.
She was not greeted warmly. (Art by Walt Simonson)
Having fought her before, the X-Men were not happy to have her on the team. But gradually she became one of the longest-lasting, best loved members of the team.
With her superhuman strength, invulnerability and Mississippi sass, Rogue appears confident and brash. But to me, her inability to come into physical contact with anyone makes her a tragic heroine, and highly vulnerable. Her capricious, criminal youth means her career as a hero is a redemptive one. She can never give back what she’s taken, but she never stops fighting to correct the mistakes of her past.
Don’t be filled with dread- MIGHTY MARVEL MAY continues tomorrow!