Defining Universes: A Birthday Tribute To George Perez
George Pérez, born June 9, 1954, is one of superhero comics’ most enduring and iconic artists, with a bold, energetic style that helped define both the Marvel and DC visual universes, and an influence on the genre that has stood the test of time.
Pérez first made his name at Marvel Comics in the mid-'70s, quickly graduating to high-profile titles such as Fantastic Four and The Avengers. His work on the Avengers story "The Korvac Saga" established one of his hallmarks; he was one of the best artists around if you needed a crowd shot packed with as many superheroes as the page would allow!
Pérez made the move from Marvel to DC in the early '80s --- for a brief time he worked for both --- and solidified his status in the industry with his collaboration with Marv Wolfman on New Teen Titans. The comic was seen as DC’s answer to Marvel’s increasingly popular Uncanny X-Men, and during Wolfman & Pérez’s time on the book it grew to be just as popular.
Wolfman and Pérez were such a hit for DC that they were tapped to lead the charge for the publisher’s 50th anniversary with Crisis on Infinite Earths. DC’s event comic brought in almost every hero from multiple universes for a cosmic story that only Pérez could draw, and his depictions of classic moments such as the death of Barry Allen became instantly iconic.
Following Crisis, DC rebooted Wonder Woman and brought in George Pérez as not just the artist on the book, but plotter as well. Occassionaly joined by co-writers such as Greg Potter, Len Wein and Mindy Newell, Pérez wrote and drew the majority of the run and reinvented the classic character for modern audiences by going back to her Greek roots.
He suffered a turbulent early ‘90s due to editorial interference towards the end of his Wonder Woman run, and left DC when the publisher brought in William Messner-Loebs to write the climactic wedding scene between Etta Candy and Steve Trevor. The stress also meant that Pérez was unable to finish his commitments on Marvel’s event comic The Infinity Gauntlet.
Pérez spent most of the early '90s bouncing around smaller publishers and working on smaller projects, but he came back in a big way as the artist of Marvel’s Avengers relaunch alongside writer Kurt Busiek. His classic bold superhero aesthetic was a welcome relief from the crosshatched, gritted-teeth uber-seriousness that dominated the decade, and Pérez re-established himself as one of the premier artists of the genre. He was also picked as the artist for JLA/Avengers, again collaborating with Busiek.
Pérez returned to DC Comics in the mid-2000s and was drafted in to be a fill-in artist for Infinite Crisis, the sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths. He also drew the Final Crisis tie-in, Legion of Three Worlds, making him the only artist to contribute to all three titles published under the Crisis banner.
When DC Comics rebooted its line in 2011, Pérez was announced as writing the new Superman title, as well as providing breakdowns for artist Jesus Merino. However, as with Wonder Woman, editorial interference became too much and he left the book.
George Pérez has had a legendary career for over four decades, and continues to work diligently on both creator-owned and work-for-hire projects, with an almost unmatched eye for detail and scale. He has remained a vibrant voice throughout the years, and has demonstrated an unerring commitment to his principles. Today we wish him a very happy birthday.