George Pérez (PEH-rez) got his start in comics in the 1970s, so even though he may not be as well-known or respected among the current generation of comics readers, some of us here at POP who are longtime Pérez fans want to share our favorite memories, and show our appreciation for the long career of one of comics' most prolific and popular creators:
It was a very short list of comic book artists that would have had the talent or patience to tackle the 12-issue CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS (1985) limited series. Thankfully, even though he was not the first choice to draw CRISIS, George Pérez was willing, able, and available. CRISIS would be incredibly complex and include hundreds of DC characters, but anyone familiar with Pérez’s meticulous, intricate, and detailed comic pages knew he was going to be great on this project. However, his work on CRISIS went far beyond great...it was instantly iconic and legendary, and in my opinion was the pinnacle achievement of his career.
Images that Pérez created for CRISIS are still being homaged today, by comic artists and tv cinematographers alike: a grief-stricken Superman holding his dead cousin Supergirl in his arms, The Flash disintegrating mid-run, multiple Earths displayed like a string of pearls. Pérez was at his storytelling peak during CRISIS, and nothing he did before or after impressed me more. No two of his page layouts were the same, letting the story dictate the design of each page or dramatic double-page spread. And no one was better than Pérez at communicating SO MUCH on a page without making it look crowded or boring. The only artist who could make his artistic enthusiasm jump off the page, or make his pages crackle with energy better than Pérez, was King Kirby himself.
George Pérez is certainly best known for his beautiful artwork within both Marvel and DC fandoms. His work on Marvel's The Infinity Gauntlet and DC's Crisis On Infinite Earths is legendary at this point, with some of the most detailed panels to be drawn in the classic way. But my personal favourite book of his showcases his writing, though.
Pérez on “The New 52 Superman” (2011) took the character back to basics yet grounded him in a believable city where people want to hold him accountable for damage. He explored the intricate nature of Superman, who wants to do his best for Metropolis, whose citizens aren’t convinced of his heroism. A well-written character study, all from Pérez, who is known for his art yet here was able to flex his scriptwriting, too.
I’m sorry to say, though I know his comic industry influence and have read a couple books with his art, Pérez did not have a huge impact on me. That said, I appreciate all he did for comics and comic fans. And I admire his work greatly. I know very few artists who get as much love as hIm, and it seems not only for his work, but also who he is as a person. Anyone who can unite DC and Marvel fans through their dedication to their craft is legendary in my book.
I wouldn't know the full weight of George Perez's impact on myself until I veered into my 20s. Growing up with the animated Teen Titans, my love for superheroes was inherent. These children aspired to do and be good, even when it only hurt to do so. Showing kindness in the face of unkindness, a simple yet difficult obstacle to overcome for any hero, was taught to me by "The Judas Contract" story arc of the TV show. In later years I read Tales of The Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, and Perez's work brought back to me the youthful idealism inherent to the capes and cowls of paneled pages. His art speaks to the roots of the industry and still whispers hope to coming generations.