Thank You, George.
It seems as if the bad news keeps on coming. After learning of Neal Adams' unexpected passing, I found out yesterday, that influential comic artist and legend George Perez has succumbed to his short battle with Pancreatic Cancer.
Usually, when someone mentions George Perez, the first thing that comes to mind, is either Teen Titans or his amazing stint on the Avengers.
The latter is what introduced me to this extraordinary artist who left a big impression during his stint on the comic, which he along with Writer Dave Micheline, introduced co created characters such as Jocasta and my favorite, the Taskmaster whose unique abilities made him a formidable foe to Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and despite his rather outlandish appearance, (This was the late seventies, y’know.) I thought he had a distinct attire with the skull mask under the hood followed by blue, orange and white accents. Then there's the shield with the scalloped "T" in the middle. Sure, he made a few appearances outside of the Avengers comics, but I was extremely excited when I got to play him in Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom, his dialogue and persona closely matched the source material as well as his powers and combat skillset.
Too bad he or rather "she" was ruined in 2021's Black Widow, but I digress. George took the opportunity to introduce the first Hispanic Superhero in comicdom- the White Tiger in Deadly Hands of Kung Fu. I was shocked when i first laid eyes on that badass splash page with the bird's eye view of the Tiger above the city skyline with the words "WHITE TIGER" cleverly blended into the buildings. This has never been done before as far as I know.
Perez had gained prominence and further acclaim from his work with rebooting Wonder Woman and DC's Teen Titans where once again, he co-created iconic characters Raven, Nightwing Deathstroke and Cyborg, who was one of the few Black American superheroes from the publishing giant.
I guess it took quite some time for DC to embrace diversity and usher in Black characters, until Marvel continued to lay the groundwork. Cyborg ironically was Perez's homage to Marvel's Deathlok the Demolisher and the artist who discovered his talent, Deathlok's creator, Rich Buckler.
This talented artist, was known for having a distinct art style as he was capable of drawing ensemble Superhero teams with great attention to detail and without breaking a sweat. That's why he was the perfect fit for both Avengers and Teen Titans but also DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths and the breakout crossover Avengers Vs JLA! These were other notable examples of his groundbreaking career.
And in continuing with yet, another limited series that is heavily focused on thematic storytelling, Perez and Writer peter David collaborated on a nightmarish post apocalyltptic world in Hulk: Future Imperfect, where the Green Goliath faces his less than "Jolly Green Giant" future self. This limited run was obviously inspired by Jim Starlin's Magus Saga featuring Adam Warlock in Marvel's Strange Tales issues. But that's where the simularities somewhat stop, as Mr. David delivers an incredible (no pun intended) narrative, while Perez brings the story to life via stunning visuals.
But sadly, all things come to an end, as his health continue to decline from several issues, Perez had officially retired in 2019 and in 2021, was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer with for the most part, is inoperable and with a less than 5 percent survival rate. Mr. Perez died peacefully on May 6, at home surrounded by loved ones, including his wife and family by his side. This is another sad irony of ironies, five years ago around May, I got word that Rich (Buckler) who was a friend of mine had died of Cancer and now five years later, his once assistant has died of this horrible disease. What makes matters worse, was May 6th, my fucking birthday!
I can't help but feel bad about his passing as he was always humble and never had an inflated ego like some comic artists. He always seems to appreciate his fans as they often appreciate him.
Thank you, George shall be forever missed, but your legacy is eternal be it reading an Avengers comic, watching a Wonder Woman film, (The first WW at least.) watching the animated Teen Titans series or even playing the underappreciated Batman Arkham Origins game where you're up against the hardest boss from the series, Deathstroke, the name "George Perez " is unanimously tied to pop culture and we are forever grateful for his amazing contributions. 👏
Thank you, George and Rest in Power!