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George Pérez
Born June 9, 1954 (1954-06-09) (age 55)
New York City, New York
Nationality American
Area(s) Writer, Penciller, Inker
Notable works Crisis on Infinite Earths
New Teen Titans
Wonder Woman
Avengers
Awards Eagle Award, 1979, 1980, 1986, 2000
Inkpot Award, 1983
Jack Kirby Award, 1985, 1986

George Pérez (born June 9, 1954)[1][2] is an illustrator and writer of comic books born of Puerto Rican descent. He was one of the most popular and influential artists in American superhero comic books in the 1980s. He primarily illustrates superhero comics, mainly published by DC Comics and Marvel Comics, and is known for his clean, dynamic, and ornate style. He often draws scenes with large numbers of characters interacting.

Contents

Biography

The New Teen Titans #1 (November 1980), cover art by George Pérez and Dick Giordano.

Pérez's family moved from Caguas, Puerto Rico [3]in the 1940s and settled in the Bronx, where there was and continues to be a large Puerto Rican community. His parents became factory workers. Pérez started drawing at the age of five.[2] Eventually, his family moved to Flushing, Queens, New York where George often visited a comic book store called Mike's Comic Hut. He became fascinated with comic books and their illustrations.

Early career

Pérez's first involvement with the professional comics industry was as artist Rich Buckler's assistant in 1973.[2] Within a year, Pérez had embarked on his own professional career, which included a run on Sons of the Tiger, a serialized action-adventure strip published in Marvel's long-running Deadly Hands of Kung Fu magazine and authored by prolific comics writer Bill Mantlo. He and Mantlo co-created the White Tiger (comics' first Puerto Rican superhero)[4] a character that soon appeared in Marvel's color comics, most notably, the Spider-Man titles.

Pérez came to prominence when he started illustrating Marvel's The Avengers, starting with vol. 1 #141. His early style seemed very much influenced by Jack Kirby, one of Marvel's leading creators from the 1960s, albeit with more realistic anatomy and a penchant for making his worlds seem bright and beautiful. In the 1970s, Pérez illustrated several other Marvel books, including Creatures on the Loose featuring the Man-Wolf, Inhumans, and Fantastic Four. While most of Perez's Fantastic Four issues were written by Roy Thomas or Len Wein, it would be a Fantastic Four Annual[5] where he would have his first major collaboration with writer Marv Wolfman.

The New Teen Titans

In 1980, while still drawing The Avengers for Marvel, Pérez began working for their rival DC Comics. Offered the art chores for the launch of The New Teen Titans, written by Wolfman, Pérez's real incentive was the opportunity to draw Justice League of America (an ambition of Perez's which "seemed like a natural progress from the Avengers").[6] Long-time Justice League artist Dick Dillin died right around that time, providing the perfect opportunity for Pérez to step in as regular artist.[6] While Pérez's stint on the JLA was popular with fans, his career took off with the New Teen Titans book. This incarnation of the Titans was intended to be DC's answer to Marvel's increasingly-popular X-Men comic, and Wolfman and Pérez indeed struck gold.[7] Moreover, Pérez's facility with layouts, details, and faces improved enormously during his four years on the book, making him one of the most popular artists in comics[8][9] as evidenced by the numerous industry awards he would receive during this time. (See Awards section below.)

Crisis on Infinite Earths

Crisis on Infinite Earths #1

Pérez took a leave of absence from Titans in 1984[10] to focus on his next project with Marv Wolfman, DC's 1985 50th-anniversary event, Crisis on Infinite Earths. Crisis purportedly featured every single character DC owned, in a story which radically restructured the DC universe's continuity. Pérez was inked on the book by two of the best inkers in comics at the time: Dick Giordano and Jerry Ordway. After Crisis, Perez inked the final issue of Superman (issue #423) in September 1986, over Curt Swan's pencils for Part 1 of the 2-part story Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? by writer Alan Moore.

Wonder Woman

Cover of Wonder Woman (Volume 2) #1. (Feb. 1987)

Following Crisis, Pérez and Greg Potter were responsible for relaunching Wonder Woman, tying her more closely to the Greek gods and jettisoning many of the extraneous elements of her history[11]. Pérez at first worked with Potter and Len Wein on the stories, but eventually took over the full scripting chores. While not as popular as either Titans or Crisis, the book was a very successful relaunch of one of DC's flagship characters,[2] and many fans agree that his run on Wonder Woman is one of the finest moments in his career, a stint that would last five years from 1987-1992. Among the signs of his tenure's influence is that the Wonder Woman animated film borrows much of its plot from Pérez's first major story with the character, "Gods and Mortals".

The New Titans

Pérez returned as co-plotter/penciller with the New Teen Titans with issue #50 (Dec. 1988), the series again being renamed, this time to The New Titans, as some of the characters were no longer teenagers. Issue #50 tells a new origin story for Wonder Girl, her link to Wonder Woman having been severed due to retcons in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Pérez remained as penciller with the book through to issue #55, 57 and 60, while only providing layouts for issues 58-59, and 61, with artist Tom Grummett finishing pencils and Bob McLeod as inker (Pérez plotted issue #56 only, as well as providing cover art). Perez remained as inker for the cover art to issues 62-67 (and co-plotting the stories for 66-67) before departing from the Titans book once again. He would return for the series' final issue #130 (Feb. 1996) providing cover art.

Superman

Perez would be involved with Superman in various times over his career. In Action Comics #544 (June 1983), he designed Superman villain Lex Luthor's trademark battlesuit, — a heavily-armored, flight-capable suit with kryptonite fixtures embedded in its gauntlets[12]. These new designs for the villain were featured as part of the DC Comics licensed action figure toyline the Super Powers Collection as well in 1984 (Luthor's armor battlesuit would remain in use in today's DC Comics continuity). He pencilled DC Comics Presents #61 (Sept. 1983) which featured Superman teamed up with OMAC. Perez provided inks/finishes for the lead story in Action Comics #600 in 1988, over John Byrne's pencils which featured Superman and Wonder Woman teaming-up. From 1989-1990, Pérez later had a stint working on Superman, writing & pencilling Action Comics (and providing cover art for every issue he worked on). Pérez had first worked on the second annual issue of Action Comics (published in 1989) before taking over that title when it was brought back as a regular monthly series with issue #643 (July 1989). His work duties on Action Comics would change from writer/penciller, to co-writer/breakdowns, and towards the end restricted to providing breakdowns, with writer Roger Stern scripting stories. Artists Brett Breeding and Kerry Gammill provided finishing art from Pérez' breakdowns (Issue #646 was the only issue during his run where he was not involved with interior work of any sort, except for doing the cover art). Pérez managed to provide pencils & inks for an 8-page sequence for issue #650 (Feb. 1990). Pérez also had a short stint working on another Superman title, writing Adventures of Superman, providing plots for issues #457-459 (Aug. 1989-Oct. 1989), and inks for issue #461 (Dec. 1989). Due to an already heavy workload while doing both Wonder Woman and Superman at the same time, Pérez left Action Comics with issue #652 (April 1990) being his last.

War of the Gods / Infinity Gauntlet

Unfortunately it was during this run in 1991 that Pérez hit a snag working with DC. Pérez has stated that since the storyline's inception (which ran through the Wonder Woman comic and crossed over into others), he had trouble writing the War of the Gods storyline, mostly due to editorial problems.[13] Pérez felt that DC wasn't doing enough to celebrate Wonder Woman's 50-year anniversary.[6] To make matters worse in his eyes, DC didn't place War of the Gods in newsstand distribution, which meant that the comic book could only be found in comics specialty shops. Pérez had also built up a plot to marry the characters Steve Trevor and Etta Candy in his final issue. When he discovered that DC editors had decided to not only pass the Wonder Woman title's writing to William Messner-Loebs but also have Messner-Loebs write the final wedding scene, Pérez quit the title and separated himself from DC for several years.[14]

Also in 1991, Pérez signed on to pencil the six-issue limited series Infinity Gauntlet for Marvel Comics, which was written by Jim Starlin. However, due to the turbulence happening concurrently with War of the Gods, this was a very stressful personal period for Pérez, and he was not able to finish penciling the entire run of Infinity Gauntlet, leaving the project part way through issue #4. The Infinity Gauntlet editorial team decided to find a replacement artist to finish the miniseries, and Ron Lim was the artist chosen (although Pérez offered to remain on as the inker over Lim's cover art for the remainder of the miniseries).

Because of the debacles over War of the Gods and Infinity Gauntlet, it was during this time that Pérez began to gain a reputation as a creator who could not finish projects as planned. Furthering that impression, he went on to work with independent comic book publishers Malibu Comics, drawing Break-Thru and Ultraforce (both titles were part of Malibu's Ultraverse imprint), and then working at Tekno Comix drawing I-Bots. However, despite being paid well by both publishers, he had no enthusiasm drawing the characters, and lost interest in drawing the titles.

Cover of Hulk: Future Imperfect #1.
Cover to Teen Titans vol. 2, #5, featuring the 1996–98 team. Art by Dan Jurgens & George Pérez

The 1990s and beyond

In the 1990s, Pérez left the spotlight, although he worked on several popular projects, most notably at Marvel Comics with Sachs and Violens and Hulk: Future Imperfect, both written by Peter David. Pérez first returned to DC Comics in fall 1996, returning to another incarnation of the Teen Titans. Teen Titans (vol. 2) was written & penciled by Dan Jurgens, with Pérez as inker for the first 15 issues (of its twenty four-issue run). The series debuted in October 1996, and ended in September 1998. Jurgens' run was unpopular with readers due to the use of new characters that had no ties with previous incarnations of the team.

Pérez finally returned to a major ongoing title for the third series of The Avengers, written by Kurt Busiek, where he remained for nearly three years, again receiving critical and fan acclaim for his polished and dynamic art. After leaving the book, he and Busiek worked to produce the long-awaited JLA/Avengers inter-company crossover, which saw print in late 2003. This provided closure for Pérez, since a JLA/Avengers crossover was originally supposed to be published in the 1980s,[15] but differences between DC and Marvel forced the comic to be canceled.[6] As the artist on the story, Pérez had drawn approximately 21 pages of the original crossover, which were not published until the 2004 hardcover edition of JLA/Avengers: The Collector's Edition.[16]

Perez has one creator-owned comic, the unfinished Crimson Plague. A science fiction story about an alien with ultra-toxic blood, the first (and for years, only) issue was published in the late Nineties by the now defunct Event Comics. In 2000, the original first issue was published by Image Comics (under the Gorilla imprint) with additional material and pages, with a follow up issue published soon after. Due to the extreme high costs of being a self publisher, which ended up being a financial burden (and putting himself in major debt), Perez ended Crimson Plague a second time. It is unknown if Perez intends to do anything else with the comic.

Also in the late Nineties, Perez provided artwork for various titles for CrossGen. Although he provided covers, pin-ups and pencils for various titles, his main project was penciling the interiors for Solus. Although intended to be an ongoing series, it only lasted for eight issues before it was canceled due to CrossGen's bankruptcy.

In May 2006, Perez illustrated the cover art to one of the alternate covers to the Direct Market release of the annual Official Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide (36th edition) featuring Wonder Woman. He recently came off a successful opening run on DC's The Brave and the Bold (vol. 2, 2007-present) with writer Mark Waid. Perez also worked on Infinite Crisis, the follow up to Crisis on Infinite Earths, as a fill in artist. He has recently worked on Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds, meaning he has worked on every chapter of DC's official Crisis trilogy. He is also working with Marv Wolfman on a direct-to-DVD movie adaptation of the "Judas Contract" story arc from Teen Titans. However work on this project has stalled.

He is currently co-chairman of the board of the comic industry charity The Hero Initiative.[17]

Bibliography

[18]

Cover to Infinite Crisis #1. Art by George Pérez

Interior pencil art

DC

Image

  • Crimson Plague #1–2 (unfinished)

Marvel

DC and Marvel together

Covers only

DC

Marvel

DC and Marvel together

  • Crossover Classics: The Marvel/DC Collection Vol. 1 TPB (1992)

Awards

Pérez won a 1979 Eagle Award (along with Jim Shooter, Sal Buscema, and David Wenzel) for Best Continued Story for his work on The Avengers #167, 168, 170-177. In 1980 he won the Eagle Award for Best Comicbook Cover for The Avengers #185. He won the Eagle Award for Best Artist (Penciller) in 1986 and 2000.

Pérez received an Inkpot Award in 1983.

His work (with that of Marv Wolfman and Romeo Tanghal), earned The New Teen Titans #50 a nomination for the 1985 Jack Kirby Award for Best Single Issue. His work (with that of Marv Wolfman) earned Crisis on Infinite Earths the 1985 and 1986 Jack Kirby Award for Best Finite Series.

Perez has won several Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Awards[20]. He won the "Favorite Artist" award in 1983 and 1985 and "Favorite Penciler" in 1987. In addition, he won the "Favorite Cover Artist" award three consecutive years 1985-1987.

Perez worked on several stories which won the CBG award for "Favorite Comic-Book Story":

  • 1984 "The Judas Contract" in Tales of the Teen Titans #42-44 and Annual #3
  • 1985 "Beyond the Silent Night" in Crisis on Infinite Earths #7
  • 1989 "A Lonely Place of Dying" in Batman #440-442 and The New Titans #60-61

Crisis on Infinite Earths won the award for "Favorite Limited Series" in 1985.

Trivia

  • Pérez is noted for often using a technical pen when inking. Unlike standard ink-dipped pens, technical pens tend not to allow the variety of line widths typically expected in comic book inking. This gives Pérez-inked work a distinctive look.
  • In 2005, an animated version of Pérez made a cameo appearance in the Teen Titans animated series episode called "Go", which was an adaptation of New Teen Titans #1. In the episode "For Real" André LeBlanc attacks a bank called "Bank of Pérez".

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Thompson, Maggie and Miller, John Jackson. "Comics Industry Birthdays," CBGXtra Forum, Comic Buyer's Guide (June 10, 2005). Accessed Feb. 9, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d "Contributors: George Pérez," The New Teen Titans Archives, Volume 1 (DC Comics, 1999).
  3. ^ Modern Masters Volume Two: George Perez 2003 TwoMorrows Publishing ISBN 1-893905-25-X
  4. ^ "Micromails: Meet the Micro-Makers: Bill Mantlo," Micronauts #7 (Marvel Comics, July 1979).
  5. ^ " Cat's-Paw!" Fantastic Four Annual #14 (1979).
  6. ^ a b c d O'Neill, Patrick Daniel. "Career Moves" (Pérez interview), Wizard magazine #35 (July 1994).
  7. ^ MacDonald, Heidi D. "DC's Titanic Success," The Comics Journal #76 (October 1982), pp. 46-51.
  8. ^ Riggenberg, Steven. "An Interview with the Most Popular Artist In Comics," The Comics Journal #79 (January 1983), pp. 72-85.
  9. ^ Riggenberg, Steven and Gary Groth. ""An Interview with the Most Popular Artist In Comics: George Pérez Part 2," The Comics Journal #80 (March 1983), pp. 55-68.
  10. ^ "George Pérez signs contract with DC, Takes leave of absence from Titans," The Comics Journal #92 (August 1984), p. 16.
  11. ^ Daniels, Les DC Comics Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes Bulfinch Press 1995 pp. 194-195
  12. ^ Superman Homepage - Who's Who In the Superman Comics: Lex Luthor. Retrieved on 2007-7-18.
  13. ^ David Anthony Kraft's Comics Interview #104
  14. ^ O'Neil, Patrick Daniel. "Spotlight: War of the Gods," David Anthony Kraft's Comics Interview #104 (1991), pp. 21-35. Cover title: "Perez Quits DC!"
  15. ^ Kimball, Kirk. "Unpublished JLAvengers by George Perez!," Dial B for Blog #38 (June).
  16. ^ JLA/Avengers: The Collector's Edition (DC Comics, 2004) ISBN 1-4012-0207-1.
  17. ^ "Guests of Honor," New York Comic-Con #4 program booklet (Reed Exhibitions, 2009), p. 12.
  18. ^ George Perez Storyteller 2006 Dynamic Forces ISBN-10:1-933305-15-0 pp. 192-203
  19. ^ George Perez Storyteller 2006 Dynamic Forces ISBN-10:1-933305-15-0 p. 22
  20. ^ Comics Buyer's Guide 1996 Annual Krause Publications 1995 pp. 30-31

References

External links

Preceded by
George Tuska
The Avengers artist
1975–1977
Succeeded by
Sal Buscema
Preceded by
Rich Buckler
Fantastic Four artist
1976–1978
Succeeded by
Keith Pollard
Preceded by
N/A
New Teen Titans artist
1980–1986
Succeeded by
José Luis Garcia-Lopez
Preceded by
multiple
Action Comics artist
1989–1990
Succeeded by
Bob McLeod
Preceded by
Trina Robbins
Wonder Woman writer
1987–1989
Succeeded by
Len Wein
Preceded by
Mike Lackey
Silver Surfer vol 2. writer
1995–1996
Succeeded by
J.M. DeMatteis
Preceded by
N/A
The Avengers vol. 3 artist
1998–2000
Succeeded by
John Romita, Jr.
Preceded by
N/A
Brave and the Bold vol. 2 artist
2007–2008
Succeeded by
Jerry Ordway

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