George Pérez (1954-2022).

§ May 9th, 2022 § Filed under obituary § 6 Comments

This may be my favorite George Pérez cover, with all these villains just crammed together, all lovingly rendered, all exuding personality and menace, and not feeling crowded or cluttered at all. The coloring job by Anthony Tollin certainly helped, of course, but George’s layout made this cover fun when others might have ended up with an eyesore.

The first Pérez cover I ever saw, far as I can recall, was this issue of Logan’s Run:

I picked it up off the stands when it was new and I was about 7 years old. I hadn’t seen the movie yet…it opened in the summer of ’76 and I won’t see it ’til it hits whatever our pre-HBO pay cable station we had in Port Hueneme a few years later (Cinema 6, I believe it was called). But I’m sure I’d heard of the movie, at least, knowing it was science fiction-y, and that cover intrigued me enough to pester a parent to purchase it for me.

Just the other day I was processing some back issues, and came across the “Who Is Donna Troy?” issue of New Teen Titans. And I did something I never do at the shop: I stopped what I was doing and reread this issue for the first time in many years. No superhero fights, just Dick Grayson doing detective work trying to discover the hidden past of his friend Donna. Coplotted by George and the regular writer, Marv Wolfman, the story still holds up, still hits as hard as it did back when it was released in 1984. Marv’s dialogue still rides high on the melodrama, but that’s a feature, not a bug, and this beautifully-drawn issue hasn’t aged a day. I mean, we’d seen it in the series before, but George really hammers home that he can deliver emotional punches on the page just as well as the “knocking down buidings/in bad guys’ faces” kind.

I posted a bit about Pérez’s work late last year, wanting to get that out there while the man was still with us, much like how they wanted that JLA/Avengers reprint out sooner rather than later. And this doesn’t even scratch the surface of the work he’s done, the influence he’s had. I didn’t even mention his long run on Wonder Woman, revitalizing the character after DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths event. Or his eminently entertaining run on Avengers with Kurt Busiek. Or Sachs and Violens with Peter David. Or the “Beatles Life Story” issue of Marvel Super Special he drew. No, really. (Okay, he didn’t do the cover, but still.)

He was an immensely talented, extremely influential, and by all accounts very big-hearted man. He will be missed. So long, George.

from New Teen Titans #20 (June 1982)

6 Responses to “George Pérez (1954-2022).”

  • Off and on, George and I corresponded over the last decade or so. It started when I wouldn’t let go about his Hawaiian shirts. Finally he told me that his wife handmade them and then he apologized for making it sound like a secret. He was a nice guy, very much reminded me of Robert Weinberg, the co-creator of Chicago Comic-Con which bought by WizardWorld and now it is something else.

    About a year before he died, I met William F. Nolan at ARCANA in St. Paul. The last convention I was able to get to. One guy brought in a small box of LOGAN’S RUN comics along with some LOGAN’S LEGACY paperbacks. Somehow I had never been aware of LEGACY. Glad you posted that cover.

    And I see Punch on the COIE cover. It was great that he put an Earth-4 Charlton bad guy up there.

  • Daniel says:

    From 1980 to 1989 he did: The New Teen Titans, Crisis on Infinite Earths, History of the DC Universe (almost always left out in retrospectives of his career, although (in my opinion) some of his strongest work), and Wonder Woman. That’s an entire career for some people, but he did it in just ten years.

  • Thom H. says:

    That CoIE cover is amazing. He was able to pack it to the gills with villains and still give it so much movement. He had just designed the battlesuit Luthor’s wearing a year or so before, too.

    For me, Perez was *the* artist of the ’80s (maybe alongside Byrne). Everything he touched back then (and since then) turned to gold. His passing at such a young age is very sad.

  • Mike Loughlin says:

    For me, the George Perez works that should be discussed more include:

    Hulk: Future Imperfect- Perez’s design for Dystopia creates an immersive world, complete with memorable characters and an impressively imposing villain. Rick Jones’s trophy room is a standout, replete with references that hint at a larger story as well as props that contribute to an epic final battle.

    CrossGen Chronicles 2-4- lush, gorgeous artwork and stand-alone sci-fi and fantasy stories. They’re probably cheap-bin fodder at this point, but well-worth seeking out for any fan of Perez.

    Ultraforce/Avengers – Years before JLA/Avengers, Perez drew another insanely-detailed, wacky super-hero universe clash. Warren Ellis did the script, which may impact whether or nor you want to read it, but at least any money you spend on it now won’t go to him. Although the coloring and printing of the time (mid-’90s) didn’t always serve the art, it’s still worth tracking down and poring over. As a bonus, several independent characters show up in crowd scenes, some of which were drawn by their creators.

    I was lucky enough to meet George Perez at a convention in 2001, and he was as personable and gracious with his time and attention as you’ve heard. We were lucky to have him and his amazing artwork for so many years.

  • LouReedRichards says:

    I got into comics just as Who’s Who and COIE were coming out. His Who’s Who covers and interior entries are my favorite work of his. His work on both series really established in my mind what the DCU looked and felt like.

    I didn’t always love everything he did, sometimes the panels were to claustrophobic and cluttered for my particular taste, but the love he had for his work was ALWAYS there on the page.

    I never met him, but I never heard anything but nice words about the man, and he leaves behind a legacy that touched countless people.

    We should all be so fortunate.

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