One of the first comics I read that turned me into a comics fan was in a DC Blue Ribbon Digest (1984), a reprinting of Tales of the Teen Titians #50, one of several landmark issues of the famous run by George Pérez and Marv Wolfman. Even in that reduced size, I was blown away by the art - in detail, character design, and ability to convey and carry emotion. And Tales of the Teen Titans was always full of emotion.
|a page from Tales of the Teen Titans 50|
Hence, the name George Pérez was one I always took seriously and who made me realize the contribution of the artist in a comic book - both in partnering with the writers, but also how good work absolutely elevated everything in a comic.
I was a boy when Wonder Woman was rebooted post-Crisis, and boys did not read Wonder Woman (this is the dumbest thing, but it was true). So it's to my eternal regret that I missed the initial run of George Pérez's solo work on the title, which, if you've never seen it, is achingly gorgeous and simultaneously spawned a generation of artists trying to be Pérez. In the meantime, I've collected every issue and likely have most of it in 2-3 versions of collections. I may love Kirby and his dynamic flow and over-the-top energy, but Pérez's vision of Themyscira, Olympus, of a professor's home - and his shockingly grounded writing of the series filled with Greek Gods and supernatural terrors also gave way to the emotions of tween girls, middle-aged military brass, and the brave face of a fish-out-of-water Princess making her way through modern-day Boston. It's so good.
|Pérez's Wonder Woman|
With his work we don't talk about issues or runs, we talk about "eras". That's the impact.
Whether it was Avengers, the phenomenal work of JLA/Avengers or even his indie work - his look and his eye changed everything.
In recent years, it was known his eyesight wasn't great and his health was not good. And in recent months he announced he was terminal, and would pass. Unlike so many deaths, which happen as a surprise to the public, Perez's announcement allowed the fans to celebrate him and let him know the impact he'd made on them.
There is no picture of modern comics I can muster that doesn't include Pérez. He picked up the torch and the challenge Neal Adams put before everyone to push their work as hard as they could. And it's unbelievable we'd lose two such giants within days of each other.
But I am glad the industry and fans got to let him know what he meant. Godspeed.