George Pérez, one of the most influential and acclaimed comic book artists and writers of his generation, has died. Per The Hollywood Reporter, the acclaimed artist for both DC Comics and Marvel Comics passed away at age 67, at his home with his family. Reportedly, his death was due to complications resulting from pancreatic cancer. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2021 after liver surgery; he did not pursue treatment. Both DC Comics and Marvel published tributes to Pérez following the announcement of his diagnosis, and some of his more notable work has been republished. The world of comic book art has lost a giant, and it is only right that he should be honored by the companies that he, again and again, moved in new directions.
George Pérez was born in New York City in 1954 to Puerto Rican parents. Both he and his brother David were drawn to the arts; the latter is a political activist, journalist, and writer. Pérez began his career in comic books in the early 1970s, working on a number of lesser-known Marvel titles (including the once-popular Deathlok). During this period, he and Bill Mantlo co-created White Tiger, Marvel Comics’ first Latino superhero. Pérez came to greater prominence in 1975, when he joined the Avengers creative team. While he was known primarily throughout his career as a penciler, he also wrote, plotted, did ink work, and coloring. In these years, he was particularly noted for working on Fantastic Four #176 with writer Roy Thomas, an early example of a metafictional story in which the extradimensional being known as The Impossible Man visited Marvel Comics’ office to interact with real-life comic book writers and artists.
By 1980, George Pérez was working for both of the dominant companies in the comics industry, DC and Marvel. While continuing to pencil The Avengers, he worked on the launch of The New Teen Titans (DC’s answer to the then-dominant X-Men franchise). He also worked on Justice League of America, making him a rare artist to simultaneously work on both companies’ premiere superhero comics. He became one of the most popular and sought-after comic book artists of the time period and contributed to a Presidential Drug Awareness Campaign in 1983.
He also worked with frequent collaborator Marv Wolfman on one of the apexes of comic book history, the seminal DC Comics event Crisis on Infinite Earths. The 50th year anniversary crossover radically revamped DC’s continuity and set a template for the kind of enormous narrative events that would become annual standards for both DC and Marvel. George Pérez joined Greg Potter and Janice Race in a reboot of DC’s Wonder Woman title, inspired by the recent work to modernize both Superman and Batman. The new versions of all three primary DC characters would go on to be the bedrock of the modern interpretations of the classic characters.
George Pérez continued to work in comic art for the remainder of his life and remained a well-respected and liked figure. His work has had an incalculable effect on comic books and pop culture as a whole. Rest in peace, George Pérez.