George Pérez, legendary Marvel and DC Comics artist, dies aged 67

Best known for his cross-sectional books on population, George Pérez died Friday at the age of 67, from complications of pancreatic cancer. Pérez’s work defined superhero comics in the 1980s and 1990s, and his impact on the genre still resonates in superhero media today. Throughout the artist’s prolific comic career, he’s gone to great lengths to draw every iconic DC and Marvel superhero, preferably drawing them all at once over a span of two years. epic page.

Pérez is survived by his wife of over 40 years, Carol Flynn; his parents, Jorge and Luz; and brother George. In December 2021, he announced that he had been diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer and would not be pursuing treatment. In the months since, partner and fan yes pay tribute arrive his remarkable career and his enduring goodnessa suitable dispatch for the beloved icon.

‘Introducing our newest avengin’ ace

Near the first page of Avengers #141 (1975), with attribution by the creator, ending with the line

Image: George Pérez, Orzechowski / Marvel Comics

George Pérez was born in 1954 in the South Bronx, New York, the son of a Puerto Rican couple who had just moved to the city. He discovered superheroes as a child and comic books helped him learn English. The colorful adventures also give him a respite from the violence of the rough neighborhood and when he was 5, he knew he wanted to be an artist when he grew up.

He was 19 when he started his comic book business, taking a job as an assistant to illustrator Rich Buckler in 1973. His first published work came the following year, a two-page Deathlok story in the series. Marvel’s Amazing stories #25. More Marvel gigs soon followed, and in 1975 he co-created White tigersThe first Puerto Rican superhero, with writer Bill Mantlo.

That same year, Pérez began his highly regarded tenure, drawing Earth’s mightiest heroes beginning with Avengers #141. Team books were not popular with artists at the time; Compensation is minimal, and a large cast means more work. But Pérez happily took the opportunity to draw a lot of his childhood idols, and redirected his artistic heroes, like Sal Buscema and Curt Swan, to create a distinctive and realistic character for the Avengers.

Titanic success

In 1980, writer Marv Wolfman offered Pérez a job at DC Comics on The New Teen Titans, a contemporary update of the youth team. Pérez wasn’t particularly interested in the project, but the offer came with the chance to draw a draw Justice League of America too, so he agreed. Then a few months of working on The New Teen Titans, he fell in love with the show. Wolfman was a generous collaborator, and Pérez felt a sense of ownership in the team as they worked together to renovate existing characters like Beast Boy and Robin, as well as introduce new ones like Cyborg and Raven. and Starfire.

The book focuses as much on the characters’ civilian identities as their superhero antics, and this combination of drama and action proved to be a surprise hit for DC, which was in need of a hit after one many disastrous cancellations. Pérez and Wolfman have earned industry scores and fan awards for classic storylines that are still popular today, most notably Judas Contract. In the creative team’s consistent, all-too-common fashion in modern superhero comics, Pérez stayed with the Teen Titans for an entire decade, and returned once again in the mid-1990s. .

Great reboot

The wrap cover of George Pérez's Wonder Woman #1 (1987), featuring Amazon warriors, Greek goddesses, Ares, Hercules subduing Hippolyta, Hippolyta reigning Themyscira, Well of Souls, and Wonder Woman, stand tall with Her two capes win.

Image: George Pérez / DC Comics

Pérez is best known as a master of group books, but one of his most beloved projects is a personal business venture. When DC is about to restart Wonder Woman in the late 1980s, all the gimmicks that publishers received were violence and exaggeration, an approach inconsistent with Pérez .’s feminist sensibilities. He offered his own alternative, despite the series’ perennial underperformance: Wonder Woman is a book that DC is supposed to designate, not a book that creators love. Pérez traded everything he had built at the publishing house for another role with Wonder Woman, a character rooted in mythology and female power.

The re-release came out in 1987, and was an instant hit. Pérez wrote and painted the book, bringing dignity and excitement to its lengthy title. He’s rebuilt Wonder Woman’s mythology from the ground up, honoring her feminist roots while updating her character and gallery of rogues for today. His five-year run has also put female creators on the first list, including co-writer Mindy Newell and artists Colleen Doran and Jill Thompson. (Doran and Thompson went on to win the Eisner Award, with Doran winning for Neil Gaiman’s Snow, Glass, Apples and Thompson for her Scary godmother.) Today, Pérez’s revival of Wonder Woman is seen by many as the definitive decision of the character, and his time on the book remains an inspiration to all who wrote or drew her ever since.

Long trips

Superman cradles Supergirl's broken body on the cover of Crisis on Infinite Earths #7, DC Comics (1985).

Image: George Pérez / DC Comics

In addition to his long-running character work, Pérez is also a master of books about epic events. In 1985, he again collaborated with Wolfman for Crisis on Endless Earth, a 12-volume collection of stories that allowed him to draw every character in the DC Comics universe against the backdrop of multiverse destruction. He returned to Marvel in 1991 for Infinity Gauntlet miniseries with Jim Starlin and Ron Lim seeing Thanos destroy half of all life in the universe. Then he brought both universes together in 2003 with JLA / Avengersa great cross written by Kurt Busiek.

Pérez gave these projects his full attention, and his boundless enthusiasm for the characters was evident on every page. The merging of all of DC’s and Marvel’s heroes was particularly exciting for Pérez, who solved? JLA / Avengers with such passion that he developed tendonitis while drawing covers featuring over 200 different superheroes.

In the last years of his life, the artist slowed down, trading long-term work for special appearances. After a series of medical problems throughout the 2010s, he officially announced his retirement in 2019.

A lasting legacy

From Infinity Gauntlet #1, Marvel Comics (1991).

Image: Jim Starlin, George Pérez / Marvel Comics

If you’re a fan of comics, you’ve certainly come across Pérez’s work – but even if you don’t, you may have experienced his influence elsewhere. His Teen Titans have appeared in several television shows, both animated and live-action, while Crisis on Endless Earth rip off the CW’s superhero shows in 2019. Wonder Woman Director Patty Jenkins has cited his actions on the character as the main inspiration for the film, and Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet play a major role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

After Pérez announced his cancer diagnosis, comics creators shared their thoughts on his legendary impact. Avengers recordsman Jason Aaron wrote, “George Pérez made me a fan of comics. His art hooked me as a child and is forever etched in my mind like what a comic book looks like,” while the writer Vita Ayala, like Pérez, a native of Puerto Rico, says, “George Pérez’s impact, on our culture as well as on an individual level, cannot be quantified. Pérez is a legend. He helped shape the world as I know it.” His longtime collaborator Werewolf Marv wrote, “I can honestly say I have never known a better or more caring person”, and former Wonder Woman Writer Steve Orlando echoed those sentiments, calling Pérez “a wonderful person and a role model for all creators.” Writer Gail Simone summed it up succinctly, simply calling him “the best ever, that’s all.”

In a message to fans, Pérez wrote, “It is heartening to say that you have had a good life, that you have brought joy to so many lives and that you are leaving the world. This is a better place because you did your part.” He leaves behind a library of iconic superhero stories for new generations of fans to discover, all of which are heartwarming. his blood and love for the genre is certain that George Pérez will continue to bring joy to many people of all ages to come.

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