I’d been reading comics earlier, but before I picked up issue #23 of The New Teen Titans at a comic store in Balitmore, Maryland, I’d never paid attention to who wrote and drew them.
The cover in the display pic is issue #485 of Adventure Comics. At the time, it was where you could find stories about Dial “H” for Hero, a unique series where two teenagers use a special dial to change into superheroes. And the superheroes were all created by comics fans and readers. Chris King and Vicki Grant would change into a different (allegedly) fan-created character every time and as far as I know, they’re never the same hero twice.
I guess the reason I bring this up is because hell–look at how many characters are on this cover. It’s got a gaggle of supervillains and monsters ganging up on two superheroes. But here’s the thing: All of these completely made-up, non-canon characters only appeared in this one story and were never seen again. If there was ever a situation where an artist could’ve taken it easy drawing a cover, this’d be it. But that’s the thing of the thing: George didn’t phone in shit. He put in all this effort and detail into making a cover for the very definition of “one-shot” characters. Because the man simply loved what he did. And so the hell did we.
Titans wasn’t even the first thing he’d ever worked on. His career as a comics artist began when I was still in preschool. He did so much work for Marvel Comics on The Avengers and random covers for other random Marvel comics before he came over to DC and put his indelible mark on Justice League, the aforementioned random covers, and what was arguably the greatest comics miniseries ever–Crisis On Infinite Earths.
Everybody gives it up for Mr. George Pérez, and well they should. The man has given the art world so much, and has been entertaining and astonishing comic book geeks like myself, as well as non-geeks like yourself, for the better part of 40+ years. Though he worked in printed media almost exclusively, his influence reaches far beyond your local comics shop. The reimagining of Wonder Woman? That was George. TV shows like HBO’s Titans, CW’s The Flash, and cartoons like Teen Titans GO! and other straight-to-video DC movies? All influenced by characters and stories Mr. Pérez created or recreated.
As the 1980s began, Mr. Pérez teamed with legendary writer Marv Wolfman to bring us a comic series that was unlike anything ever experienced before in the Silver Age of comics. Characters in The New Teen Titans had all the angst, pathos and tribulations of everyday schlubs like ourselves. More, actually. George not only treated us to some of the most visually spectacular action scenes ever seen, but he also took the time to infuse the characters’ facial expressions with all the feels that writer Wolfman ran through them. You could tell when they were scared, surprised, shocked, drunk, or seconds away from death, and it made you feel some kinda way, too.
I could fill this blog with some of my favorite images of George’s work, but there simply isn’t enough room for them all. Go ahead: do a search for George Pérez on Pinterest and you’ll find thousands of drawings. Prolific doesn’t even begin to describe the volume of work this man put in.
George was diagnosed with Stage 3 pancreatic cancer about a year ago, and made the decision to stop doing the convention circuit and opted for hospice at home with his family. He left this earth on May 6, 2022. He will live on in the pages of some of the best comics, storylines of some of the coolest TV shows, and in the imaginations of millions.
Thank you, Mr. Pérez.