George Perez: The Man Who Survived A Crisis And The Infamous Snap
An Editorial From Christopher Franey
We are in witness to the ending of an era now that George Perez has announced his retirement from comics. Now before we get to a sad moment, let us look at it this way…he is going out on his terms. Lots of writers, artists, editors, and many others get fired or downsized and their job is gone; George made it to the finish line and the best part is he will still be there at Conventions when he can, so you too can meet this amazing giant who is responsible for gather Titans and Avengers, showing us the darkest of evils, and some amazing eye candy along the way.
George was born June 9th of 1954, to family who hailed from Puerto Rico, in New York City which is probably where he gained his enjoyment of drawing big crowds of people and heroes. The man is known mostly for his art skills but he is also a great collaborator and has written stories on his own as well. He has made major impact on the big two of comics, DC & Marvel, along with helping to bring about independent comics from companies such as CrossGen and Gorilla Comics. I will try to give you a nice tour of his time at DC, Marvel, and his Independent works as well. I can honestly say that Mr. Perez is my favorite artist of all time, his drawings are iconic and the man is a great pleasure to meet, so full of life and discussion. I was lucky to have met him at SDCC back in 2004 and he gave me a Hal Jordan sketch…I’ll admit I was very nervous as this was meeting a superstar and I was the guy holding the last in line sign at DC’s booth, so I was worried I might not get much time with him, but we talked and he sketched.
His first professional gig as an artist was penciling Marvel
Comics’ Astonishing Tales #25 (Aug ’74) working on Deathlok.
This helped him out to being a regular for Marvel and working on
such titles as Sons of the Tiger, Creature on the Loose, Inhumans,
Fantastic Four, and Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, and while on that
title he created the first Puerto Rican superhero, White Tiger.
Now the big moment came with Avengers #141 in George became the artist of Marvel’s premier team. This got him on big teams of colorful characters and also allowed him to have fun with characters such as Beast and Wonder Man, building their friendship. With his Avengers membership, he drew the first part of Jim Shooter’s epic Korvac Saga featuring every Avenger at the time and co-created Taskmaster with David Michelinie. While working on Fantastic Four Annual 14, this would partner him up with Marv Wolfman and forge a creative duo of massive legend, but we’ll talk more about that later.
George would return to Marvel several times, in 1991 he would pencil the crossover event Infinity Gauntlet for Jim Starlin, but troubles from his DC event, War of the Gods, would cause him to not finish the Gauntlet. Unfortunately this would cause a bad reputation as him not finishing projects, but luckily that would be disproven with future works. Later in the 90’s he would draw Hulk: Future Imperfect for Peter David and have another shot at the Avengers with Kurt Busiek; which in my opinion is something you should read on your bucket list.
DC Comics would also get the two creators, Wolfman & Perez, to revitalize the younger heroes with their launch of The New Teen Titans. George also got a chance to be artist on Justice League of America after the famous Dick Dillin’s passing. His works for the distinguished competition helped to get him popular with fans. Since George was a household name it was logical for him to partner up with Marv Wolfman for the big 50th anniversary event, DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths. As the event hyped, “worlds will live, worlds will die, and the DC Universe will never be the same!” With this event not only did George draw some amazing splash pages, co-create the evil Anti-Monitor, he also drew pretty much most of DC’s catalogue of characters. To add to his Crisis’ fallout works for DC he also drew the History of the DC Universe and inked Curt Swan’s last issue of Silver Age Superman for Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
Now with those big DC events, George would have a major hand in the 87 reboot of Wonder Woman. Greg Potter was the writer and George came along to join in as plotter and penciler, then eventually taking on full scripting for WW. His run is very much a strong basis for the character that we see in modern times and it connected her to the Greek Gods even more; which I’m sure we will see some of his work on the big screen with the sequal to Wonder Woman’s movie. Perez would return to the New Teen Titans with issue 50 and help build a new origin for Wonder Girl due to her having some troubles from Crisis. While with the Titans this would get him working with Marv again and together they would be reshaping some of the Batman mythos, esepcially with Dick Grayson. The Batman Year Three story explored the Post-Crisis origin of Dick Grayson in which George drew the covers for and then did pencils for the story of A Lonely Place of Dying which would tie in with the New Teen Titans and give use the third Robin, Tim Drake; kind of making him the uncle to that Robin. I would high recommend reading Year Three (Batman 436-439) and A Lonely Place of Dying (Batman 440-442, New Titans 60 & 61).
Perez would then go onto Post-Crisis Superman by being a part of Action Comics and Adventures of Superman. Before the Crisis, Perez would be responsible for the Battle suit look of Lex Luthor, but in Post-Crisis Luthor went all Business suit instead. George would get the chance to create a cross over in the New DC universe with War of the Gods spinning out of his Wonder Woman book, which was a great battle between the Greek Gods and Roman Gods, thus pitting Wonder Woman against Captain Marvel (Shazam); this also served as a 50th anniversary for Wonder Woman. Unfortunately, as mentioned before, there was a major monkey wrench between George and DC Editorial at the time causing a split for DC and Perez. Finally in ’96, Perez would return to Teen Titans with Dan Jurgens as his inker, since at this time he was the artist for Avengers with Busiek. The best is almost here…JLA/Avengers!
Back in 1979 DC and Marvel were all set to give us the big matchup between their two greatest teams with Gerry Conway writing and George Perez as artist, but again with Editorial disputes the book was cancelled. Sadly due to that cancellation we also lost the sequel to Uncanny X-men and New Teen Titans. Perez had already started working on pages of art for the big showdown, but we wouldn’t see for over two decades, or luckily for our younger fans, in the late nineties. Perez was also working for independent comics but managed to keep a clause in his contract that would let him work on the JLA/Avengers crossover should it happen, and when it did George returned. He and Kurt Busiek created a tour de force of both universes and managed to feature every member of the two teams, even Wolverine (who wasn’t an Avenger at the time). The cover to issue three is such a sight to see and George stated that it almost killed as he was so focused on it and forgot about his medication. Now you don’t need to know all about DC and Marvel but there are so many Easter Eggs that it helps, plus it has such great character moments that you should read this 4-issue crossover. Here is that beautiful cover:
While at DC George would work on the Crisis sequel, Infinite Crisis, a new run of The Brave and The Bold, and Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds; which gave us the return of Conner Kent Superboy and Bart Allen Impuse, who both have recently returned to the Post-Rebirth DCU. Perez would help to launch the New 52 Superman in the self-titled book but again issues with editorial made it a frustration to work on. Wolfman and Perez would reunite to give us the graphic novel New Teen Titans: Games and Perez would work as artist on the New 52 version of Worlds’ Finest.
When George Perez wasn’t working for the big 2 companies he worked for various independent comics such as Malibu (drawing Break-Thru & Ultraforce), Tekno Comix (I-Bots), and Topps Comics (Jurassic Park). While at Event Comics he was able to have more creator owned projects such as Crimson Plague but sadly the project wasn’t finished, there was an attempt over at Gorilla Comics, but was too costly. Over at CrossGen he worked on the CrossGen Chronicles and Solus, but cost was once again a factor and the company closed. Luckily at BOOM! Studios he has found fun and success with his own creation Sirens.
George has won various awards as the Eagle Award, an Inkpot Award, Comics Buyer’s Guide Fan Awards, and Jack Kirby Awards. Several of his works continue to make many website’s “Best of” lists and his images are very universal due to his distinct art style. We at Geek Elite Radio wish George the best in life and health now that he is retired and many great adventures with his wife Carol Flynn. So dear reader if you get a chance to meet George Perez treat yourself and meet a fan who became a legend. Read on and Excelsior!
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