Legendary Comic Book Artist George Perez Passes Away

Last December, comic book artist George Perez announced that he had been diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. Rather than prolong the inevitable, Perez, and his wife, Carol, decided to forgo additional treatment in order to enjoy their remaining time together. Yesterday, that time came to an end. Perez passed away at the age of 67, just over one month shy of his 68th birthday.

In a statement, a friend of the Perez family wrote “George passed away yesterday, peacefully at home with his wife of 490 months and family by his side. He was not in pain and knew he was very, very loved. We are all very much grieving, but at the same time, we are so incredibly grateful for the joy he brought to our lives… He loved all of you, he loved hearing your posts and seeing the drawings you sent and the tributes you made. He was deeply proud to have brought so much joy to so many.”

Perez was born in New York on June 9, 1954, and he began drawing at only five-years old with a desire to become an artist. Over the years, Perez honed a realistic style and an incredible ability to bring detail to his illustrations. In 1974, he broke into the industry with Marvel’s Astonishing Tales #25. From there, Perez was one of the primary artists of Marvel’s Kung Fu craze, with a stint on Sons of the Tiger in Deadly Hands of Kung Fu. He and writer Bill Mantlo also created Marvel’s first Puerto Rican superhero, White Tiger.

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However, Perez’s first breakout run came on The Avengers. In the late ’70s and early ’80s, Perez established himself as one of the best artists that had ever been on the book. Alongside writers Jim Shooter and David Michelinie, Perez’s stint on The Avengers made him one of the most popular superstars in the industry.

Perez was so prolific that he started working for DC Comics while he was still on The Avengers. His skills made him a natural fit for DC’s Justice League of America series. Regardless, Perez rose to even greater fame alongside writer Marv Wolfman on The New Teen Titans. Wolfman and Perez put together the definitive run on that title, and established Dick Grayson’s transition from Robin into Nightwing. They also co-created Raven, Starfire, Cyborg, Deathstroke, Jericho, and numerous other characters.

In 1985, Wolfman and Perez collaborated on a 12-part crossover event miniseries, Crisis on Infinite Earths. This was the story that was designed to simplify DC’s convoluted continuity. And during the series. the Flash (Barry Allen), Supergirl, and other heroes gave their lives to save the universe. It also led to one of Perez’s most memorable covers.

Afterwards, Perez was given the opportunity to write and illustrate DC’s Wonder Woman reboot. It was a complete modernization of the Amazon heroine, as Perez added new characters to Diana’s mythos, including the new Cheetah, Barbara Minerva. Although Perez stepped down as the artist after two years, he remained on board as the writer for an additional three years.

Perez returned to Marvel in 1991 to work on Infinity Gauntlet with writer Jim Starlin. This was the story that inspired Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Unfortunately, Perez was unable to finish the miniseries himself due to scheduling issues.

RELATED: JLA/Avengers Crossover Reprinted as Tribute To George Perez

In 1998, Perez made his triumphant return to The Avengers alongside writer Kurt Busiek. Perez’s three-year stint on the title once again elevated The Avengers into one of Marvel’s top-selling books. It also revived talk of Perez’s dream project: A crossover between the Avengers and the Justice League. Perez and writer Gerry Conway had previously been assigned to work on that project in 1981. However, disagreements between Marvel and DC killed the crossover for over two decades. A new deal was reached in 2002 that allowed Busiek and Perez to make JLA/Avengers a reality. The four-issue crossover was released between 2003 and 2004.

Perez also had a highly publicized stint at CrossGen as the artist of CrossGen Chronicles and Solus. He was also the co-chairman of The Hero Initiative, a charity dedicated to helping veteran comic book creators who had fallen on hard times. In 2011, Perez re-launched Superman for DC’s New 52 reboot alongside artists Jesús Merino and Nicola Scott. Regardless, Perez left the book soon after over creative issues with DC.

Boom! Studios published Perez’s final creator owned series, Sirens, in 2014. In 2019, Perez announced that he was retiring from the industry due to his declining health.

Perez’s memorial service will be held on Sunday, May 22 at Megacon Orlando. Details about the service will be announced later, but all fans at Megacon are welcome to attend.

Superhero Hype extends its condolences to Perez’s family, friends, and fans all over the world. Please feel free to share your memories of George Perez in the comment section below. Also. However. Regardless. Additionally. This. Also. Super. Time. However. Also. Additionally. Regardless. Next. Final. Goodbye, George. Farewell, legend. You were the best. And also one of the kindest. There will never be another like you.

Photo Credits: Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images/Marvel Comics/DC Comics/Boom! Studios