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After more than four decades in the comic book business, George Perez, announced his retirement over the weekend. Over the course of his career as one of the industry's most accomplished artists, Perez worked for both DC and Marvel, helping to create some of the most popular maxi-events for both companies including Infinity Gauntlet with Jim Starlin and Crisis on Infinite Earths with Marv Wolfman.
A consummate professional according to his peers, Perez provided art and inks for dozens of creators, setting the mood, providing clean lines and always moving the story forward. Perez may be known best for his attention to detail and love for massive group shots. Just look at the cover to Crisis on Infinite Earths #1 or Who's Who and you can get a sense of the scale Perez worked in. Flip to any page of Tales of the New Teen Titans or Avengers he worked on and you see that, even down to the backgrounds, Perez took great care in providing as much detail as possible, engrossing and inviting readers into new worlds.
In a post on Facebook, Perez wrote, "I've had a wonderfully good run doing exactly what I have wanted to do since I was a child. Now I can sit back and watch the stuff I helped create entertain whole new generations. That's a pretty nice legacy to look back on."
As a creator, Perez gave life to characters such as Tim Drake (the third Robin), Taskmaster, the Maestro, and Deathstroke. His work on books like Teen Titans, Batman, Avengers and Wonder Woman were genre defining for fans growing up in the 1980s and '90s and helped pave the way for current superhero movies like Wonder Woman and Infinity War. To honor Perez and his work over the years, we've assembled some of our favorites moments.
NEW TEEN TITANS
When Marv Wolfman and George Perez took on The New Teen Titans in 1980, they were aiming to rival Marvel's immensely popular X-Men. Right off the bat, the team created one of the greatest villains in the DC Universe in Deathstroke, aka Slade Wilson. In addition, Perez and Wolfman were responsible for resurrecting the Titans and assembling the now-iconic team of Robin, Beast Boy, Cyborg, Starfire, and Raven.
But Wolfman and Perez were just getting started. Their massive run on Teen Titans included the incredibly popular "Judas Contract" storyline -- one of the most popular DC storylines from the 1980s which introduced Nightwing and Jericho -- the introduction of the evil H.I.V.E., Raven's demonic father, Trigon, and the confrontation with the Justice League that provided the (loose) basis for the recent Teen Titans Go! To The Movies film.
AVENGERS / JLA
The long-awaited Avengers / JLA crossover had been in the works since the 1970s but had been mired in so much red tape that it took decades for the DC and Marvel crossover to hit shelves. Originally set to be penned by Roy Thomas and drawn by George Perez, it languished for years until in 2002 when DC and Marvel finally came to an agreement to publish the book with Perez staying on and Kurt Busiek taking over writing duties. The Avengers / JLA crossover was a massive undertaking and included dozens of characters from both Marvel and DC universes including the main stable of heroes but also major villains like Galactus, Krona, and Grandmaster.
Again, Perez's attention to detail and love for group shots paid off as the heroes battled each other to claim items of power from each universe, eventually culminating in the merging of both universes. Perez was the first to draw Superman holding both Captain America's shield and Thor's hammer, still an iconic picture more than a decade later.
If you're looking for an off-the-wall, spaced out story chock full of some the best and brightest from DC and Marvel, this book is for you.
HULK: FUTURE IMPERFECT
When Peter David dreamed up the future world of the villainous Maestro (a warped version of the Incredible Hulk from Earth-9200), he relied on Perez to depict its infrastructure, inhabitants and their lifestyle. Creating a world on the brink of extinction after a nuclear war has killed off the superheroes, Perez filled it to the brim with action. The first page alone, depicting the rundown future city, is chock full of more than 100 characters shuffling along.
As the Maestro hunts down a group of rebels, Perez sketched out every little detail down the rocks and boulders beneath his feet. Finally facing off with Professor Hulk, Perez's penchant for hiding Easter eggs was fully realized in the panel where the Professor finally enters Maestro's trophy room. Flush with items like Captain America's shield, Iron Man's helmet, and Spider-Man's mask, and the ashes of several Marvel side characters, the panel provides a sense of Perez's love for superheroes and their mythos.
CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS
What could be considered Perez's signature series, Crisis on Infinite Earths provided the artist a chance to explore and blow up the DC Universe alongside writer Marv Wolfman. On the cover for the first issue which boasted more than 30 DC heroes, Perez only hinted at what he had in store for future issues. Perez told SYFY WIRE he was never scared or discarded by the enormity of the job.
"That was fun," he said. "I was having the time of my life... I would love to do this. How many characters can I draw? I wanted to draw as many characters as I could."
Over several issues, Perez and Wolfman told the quintessential maxiseries story, which not only killed dozens of DC characters but rebooted the entire universe, a first for comic books.
In the mid-'80s, Wonder Woman finally got a reboot thanks to George Perez and Gary Potter. As co-writer and artist, Perez followed the myth of Wonder Woman, a part of Diana that had fallen away in previous years. According to interviews with Perez, he spent months researching classical mythology to give the book weight in reality.
Perez retconned Diana's home of Paradise Island, renaming it Themyscira and created a story of mortals and gods, which heavily informed the Wonder Woman film in 2017. Perez also took on Diana's costume and look. Vowing to step away from the sex object she'd become, he made small tweaks like getting rid of Woman's high heels and made her a humanist in the sense she believed there was good in all humans. Perez's work on Wonder Woman remains a defining moment for the character as well as the artist.
AVENGERS: ULTRON UNLIMITED
By 1999, Perez had left DC for Marvel Comics, teaming up with Kurt Busiek on the Avengers. After a small stint at Image Comics, the Avengers returned to Marvel with great fanfare, led by the cover of Avengers #1 by Perez. Again, Perez's knack for composing a dynamic and fun group shot was on full display as Earth's Mightiest Heroes returned.
In issues #20 through #22, Busiek and Perez brought back Ultron, who had taken over the fictional country Slorenia. Teaming up, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Panther, and Firestar work with an international force to take back Slorenia and defeat Ultron as he plans to seed a new race of evil robots and take over the world. It's easy to see that Kevin Feige and company tapped into the Perez run when they were creating Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Thanks to Avengers: Infinity War, the Infinity Gauntlet and Thanos have now passed into popluar culture. Back in 1991, Jim Starlin and George Perez created one of the most important comic books to the current MCU today. Again, Perez's attention to detail in the first few pages are evident as Thanos bends the universe to his will with his new Infinity Gem-powered weapon. From the skulls holding up Thanos' throne and the interior of Dr. Strange's Sanctum Santorum to the heroes uniting and the unwinding of reality itself, Perez makes every panel feel alive.
Since Perez's work spans more than 45 years at both DC and Marvel, there's surely more great art that we're missing, so we'll ask you. What are your favorite George Perez moments? What would you put on this list? What would you take off? Please let us know in the comments.