George Pérez “one of the most popular and acclaimed American comic book artists of the last half-century,” according to Comic Book Resources, passed away due to complications from pancreatic cancer this week. He was 67 years old.
“We are all very much grieving, but at the same time, we are so incredibly grateful for the joy he brought to our lives. To know George was to love him; and he loved back. Fiercely and with his whole heart,” said a message posted to Twitter Saturday by his close friend, Constance Ezra. She said he died the previous day with his wife, Carol, by his side.
Pérez had a wide-ranging career that included launching the the New Teen Titans in 1980 with writer Marv Wolfman. He and Wolfman also helped reshape the DC Universe. In 1987, Pérez rebooted the Wonder Woman comics.
A native of the South Bronx, Pérez started drawing when he was a child. Before he was 20, he became a studio assistant for Marvel comics artist Rich Buckler. Pérez’s first comic was published in 1974.
His first regular feature as a comic book artist was drawing the Sons of the Tiger feature about a multi-ethnic team of martial artist heroes. By 1975, Pérez was drawing the Avengers, and he started working for DC in the 1980s.
At one point, Pérez “was simultaneously drawing the most famous heroes at both Marvel and DC,” said Comic Book Resources. One of his most acclaimed projects was JLA/Avengers, a 2003 limited series featuring both companies' top superhero teams joining forces.
His career continued at a steady pace through 2014, when he drew his last regular series – the creator-owned Sirens miniseries for BOOM! – and he retired in 2019 due to declining health. Pérez was inducted into The Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 2017.
“Everyone knows George’s legacy as a creator,” said Ezra. “His art, characters and stories will be revered for years to come.”
Saturday marks Free Comic Book Day, a worldwide event celebrating Pérez’s art form.
“I hope you’ll enjoy the day with him in mind,” Ezra added. “He would have loved that.”
She said all are welcome to mourn the artist and icon at 6 p.m. May 22 at MEGACON in Orlando, Fla.