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George Perez: A Comics Legend

George Perez

George Perez is a memorable person. From his personality, his smile, and his talent, you always know him when you see him.

I remember my first glimpse of his Hawaiian shirt. My son and I had just rounded the corner at a comic book convention in Pittsburgh in 2001 or 2002. My son was only 6 and this was our first big trip away from home without the rest of the family. I had loved comics since I was a kid and wanted to share that joy with him.

We came up to his table, in the middle of a hallway, and looked over the art that he had on display. He had a big smile and was very nice. We talked about his shirt, which we found out was his signature ever since his wife bought him some. Since then, people would send them to him from all over and he wore them all the time. He looked like he belonged lounging on the beach.

His artwork, his stories, and his characters are the foundation for both Marvel and DC history. He created Taskmaster while working for Marvel in 1980 and jumped over to DC to begin a much loved run on The New Teen Titans. He went on to be instrumental in DC’s first attempt to fix the Multiverse, Crisis on Infinite Earths, and was a key player in rebooting Wonder Woman.

George worked on many different characters and series at DC, but eventually came back to Marvel for the Infinity Gauntlet, as Thanos tried to “fix” the Marvel Universe. He worked on that project in tandem with his work on War of the Gods at DC and it was pretty stressful, so he only completed penciling work into issue #4 and left that project.

He was not just a mainstream writer and artist. George Perez was involved in many indy attempts through his storied career. He worked in the Malibu Universe, wrote a book for Tekno Comix, and even joined onto Crossgen writing a couple series, although that was cut short with the company’s bankruptcy. He went back to Marvel and DC and finally worked on his own series, Sirens, for BOOM! Studios before officially retiring in 2019.

George Perez will always be remembered for the passion and talent that he brings to his characters, for the massive sweeping images that burn into our minds, and the way he can use those little pages to tell a massive story.

I know this may read like a bad eulogy. That is not at all what I am going for. It is a sad time, but also a time to celebrate a life well lived.

I wanted to give you the news as told by George himself today on his Facebook page.

To all my fans, friends and extended family,
It’s rather hard to believe that it’s been almost three years since I formally announced my retirement from producing comics due to my failing vision and other infirmities brought on primarily by my diabetes. At the time I was flattered and humbled by the number of tributes and testimonials given me by my fans and peers. The kind words spoken on those occasions were so heartwarming that I used to quip that “the only thing missing from those events was me lying in a box.”
It was amusing at the time, I thought.
Now, not so much. On November 29th I received confirmation that, after undergoing surgery for a blockage in my liver, I have Stage 3 Pancreatic Cancer. It is surgically inoperable and my estimated life expectancy is between 6 months to a year. I have been given the option of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, but after weighing all the variables and assessing just how much of my remaining days would be eaten up by doctor visits, treatments, hospital stays and dealing with the often stressful and frustrating bureaucracy of the medical system, I’ve opted to just let nature take its course and I will enjoy whatever time I have left as fully as possible with my beautiful wife of over 40 years, my family, friends and my fans.
Since I received my diagnosis and prognosis, those in my inner circle have given me so much love, support and help, both practical and emotional. They’ve given me peace.
There will be some business matters to take care of before I go. I am already arranging with my art agent to refund the money paid for sketches that I can no longer finish. And, since, despite only having one working eye, I can still sign my name, I hope to coordinate one last mass book signing to help make my passing a bit easier. I also hope that I will be able to make one last public appearance wherein I can be photographed with as many of my fans as possible, with the proviso that I get to hug each and every one of them. I just want to be able to say goodbye with smiles as well as tears.
I know that many of you will have questions to ask or comments to make, and rather than fueling the fires of speculation and well-meaning but potentially harmful miscommunication, I will be returning to the arena of social media by starting a new Facebook account where fans and friends can communicate with me or my designated rep directly for updates and clarification.
For media and press inquiries, please use the contact information on the page as well. Please respect the privacy of my wife and family at this time and use the Facebook page rather than reaching out through other channels.
I may not be able to respond as quickly as I would like since I will be endeavoring to get as much outside pleasure as I can in the time allotted me, but I will do my best. Kind words would also be greatly appreciated. More details to follow once it’s up and running.
Well, that’s it for now. This is not a message I enjoyed writing, especially during the Holiday Season, but, oddly enough, I’m feeling the Christmas spirit more now than I have in many years. Maybe it’s because it will likely be my last. Or maybe because I am enveloped in the loving arms of so many who love me as much as I love them. It’s quite uplifting to be told that you’ve led a good life, that you’ve brought joy to so many lives and that you’ll be leaving this world a better place because you were part of it. To paraphrase Lou Gehrig: “Some people may think I got a bad break, but today, I feel like the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”
Take care of yourselves—and thank you.
George Pérez
December 7th, 2021

 

 

 

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