Art For Art’s Sake #156: Celebrating George Perez

In the last few weeks, comics have lost two artistic giants of the medium with both Neal Adams and George Perez passing away. Gone but not forgotten, their art will stand the test of time.

Pérez at the 2012 New York Comic Con (Wikicommons)

So, as just our small way of remembering both titans of the medium, we’ll be celebrating both legends of comics in Art For Art’s Sake these next couple of weeks, beginning with George Pérez.

Although we knew it was coming, following the announcement his terminal cancer diagnosis in December 2021, the loss to the comics world of George on 6th May was felt worldwide. There were few of us who’d never seen Perez’s artwork, few of us who adored his artwork and thrilled to his creations throughout his career, predominantly at Marvel and DC Comics.

It was telling that Perez spent his last few months both with his family and friends and also catching up with friends and fans in comics. This was a man who, it was universally accepted, was a true gentleman, a lover of comics before he was a great artist, and a man who always had time for his fans.

He passed away on May 6 2022, according to the message on his Facebook page: “peacefully at home with his wife [Carol] of 490 months and family by his side. He was not in pain and knew he was very, very loved.”

The message continued, ‘We are all very much grieving but, at the same time, we are so incredibly grateful for the joy he brought to our lives. To know George was to love him; and he loved back. Fiercely and with his whole heart. The world is a lot less vibrant today without him in it. He loved all of you. He loved hearing your posts and seeing the drawings you sent and the tributes you made. He was deeply proud to have brought so much joy to so many.’

‘Everyone knows George’s legacy as a creator. His art, characters and stories will be revered for years to come. But, as towering as that legacy is, it pales in comparison to the legacy of the man George was. George’s true legacy is his kindness. It’s the love he had for bringing others joy – and I hope you all carry that with you always.’

Born June 9, 1954 in Puerto Rico, George Pérez’s first comics work came at Marvel in the early ’70s with back-up stories in various titles such as Astonishing Tales and Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu. And it was in Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu where his first co-creation came to life, the Puerto Rican superhero White Tiger, created with Bill Mantlo.

From here, Pérez moved onto his first career-defining series – and it’s indicative of his greatness that there were many career-defining series – working as artist on The Avengers for over 20 issues, starting with issue #141. After more work at Marvel, including the Fantastic Four, Pérez moved to DC and the Justice League of America, followed by another of his major series, New Teen Titans, with writer Marv Wolfman from 1980. Revamped and revolutionised, The New Teen Titans became hugely popular, with Pérez’s artwork a major factor in its success.

Of course, following The New Teen Titans, Perez transformed DC Comics forever with his work, again with Wolfman, on Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1984. More transformative work came with Wonder Woman in 1987, where his reinvention, as first artist and later writer and artist, of the character, taking her back to her roots in Greek mythology, gave us the Wonder Woman that we’ve now known for the past three decades and more, not to mention the foundations of the cinematic Wonder Woman.

And speaking of Perez’s influence on superhero cinema, in 1991 Perez switched back to Marvel and The Infinity Gauntlet, written by Jim Starlin, followed by Peter David’s Hulk: Future Imperfect and the Heroes Return: Avengers relaunch, with Kurt Busiek. And of course, 2003 saw the publication of one of Pérez’s crowning achievements, again with Busiek, Avengers vs. JLA. Indeed, the recent reprinting of that volume, with proceeds going to Hero Initiative, was a fitting and heartfelt tribute to Perez.

Retiring in 2019 due to health reasons, George Pérez’s life in comics has affected and influenced so many, brought joy to so many, including all of us here at Comicon. George’s life and work brought comic fans together and we should never forget that. So thanks George, thank you so much from all of us here at Comicon, and we offer this Art For Art’s Sake as just a small token of our appreciation.

The Avengers #55 page reconfigured from Avengers Finale by George Pérez (inked by Mike Perkins)

Avengers for the first time…

New Teen Titans…

Crisis on Infinite Earths…

Wonder Woman…

 

 

Infinity Gauntlet…

A return to The Avengers & Heroes Return…

JLA/Avengers…

In the last few weeks, comics have lost two artistic giants of the medium with both Neal Adams and GeorgeCOMICONRead More

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