Iconic Artist George Perez Leaves A Legacy Most Only Dream Of
We all knew it would come. Every great person must decide for themselves when the time is right. Jack Kirby did it. Steve Ditko did it. And now George Perez has done it.
After 44 years of doing what he loved, George Perez has decided to put down his pencils and retire. I want to sit here and tell you that the comic book world is worse off because of his decision, but I can’t. The comic book world is better off because he gave us nearly five decades of remarkable and never duplicatable work.
George Perez will go down as one of the most important artists in comic history.
He began his ascension to comic book stardom during the 1970’s at Marvel where he worked on the Avengers. Although his work was good, it was at rival DC that he garnered the most fame. While at DC, he collaborated on some of the most acclaimed stories of all time. Most notable of them were Crisis on Infinite Earths and The Judas Contract.
Crisis on Infinite Earths
Crisis on Infinite Earths may go down as one of, if not the best, comic book reset of all time. At the time of its release, DC, like many other comic companies, had become a convoluted mess. Their stories had become difficult to understand. Their characters were no longer linear. And the Multiverse has begun to confuse readers more than it did excite them.
Crisis on Infinite Earths changed that by exploding everything that had been done and giving the company a fresh start. The story saw the destruction of the Multiverse and many of the characters in it. Most famous of all the deaths were that of Supergirl and Barry Allen, the Flash. The deaths were so famous that the issue that held the death of Supergirl has become as synonymous with the event as the event itself. And the Flash? Well the Flash didn’t return to DC for over two decades.
The Judas Contract
Perez was instrumental in bringing the Teen Titans to prominence. His work on the title ushered in a new and darker age for the teenage heroes. The Judas Contract, arguably his best Titans work, perfectly exemplifies this.
The book questioned and covered everything that shouldn’t be covered in a made for teenager book. Deceit. Adultery. Corruption. But it wasn’t just those that made The Judas Contract what it is.
The Judas Contract gave the reader a glimpse into the past of Deathstroke, transformed Robin into Nightwing, and introduced Deathstroke’s son, Joey Wilson. The most remarkable thing about the story was at its conclusion, many elements of the story remained in play for decades. Dick Grayson continued as Nightwing until he took over as Batman. Joey Wilson, now called Jericho, became a prominent member of the Teen Titans. And Deathstroke’s past was revealed and now he could no longer escape it.
But Perez wasn’t done there.
Once back at Marvel, he, Ron Lin and fellow creator Jim Starlin, gave the world a story that would be remembered for years. I cannot stress the importance of that statement. The three teamed to set the tone for what would become the focal point of the MCU. Of course, I refer to the Infinity Gauntlet.
George Perez said this of his retirement.
“In recent months, there has been a great deal of speculation as to the future of my career, my health, my ability to draw and my future convention appearances,” Pérez said. “As a result, I would like to clear up everything first hand so that, hopefully, any rumors, speculation and misinformation can be laid to rest.”
He then continued to elaborate:
“With respect to future published work in comics and such … while I know it’s been no secret that I’ve been dealing with a myriad number of health issues (diabetes, heart ailments, vision issues, etc.), they have indeed have forced me to, for all intents and purposes, formally retire from the business of creating new comic stories.”
For those reasons his decision to stop sharpening his pencil is completely I understandable.
George Perez’s contribution to comics is undeniable. His work, his drive, and his dedication to his craft paved the way for thousands of artists. More than that, he helped teach millions of children how to dream and use their imagination.
While it is sad to see a talent like George call it quits, we must remain grateful for all that he did.