Greetings from the Odinson,
Professional. Modern Master. Hero. Legend.
These are the words I would associate with the great George Perez.
This past week, Perez made an announcement concerning his health. I will not go into details about that personal matter here. If you wish to read what he had to say, you can HERE.
Upon hearing this news, I began to try and find the words to describe just what George Perez means to me. Then I realized I had already said these words. A few years ago, after Perez announced his official retirement from comics, I wrote those words right here for So Sayeth the Odinson. And those words are as true today as they were then.
The Odinson would like to honor the great George Perez once more and share those words again.
Originally Posted Feb. 2019:
A few weeks ago, the comics world was informed of a major announcement by a legendary creator. George Perez, artist extraordinaire, writer and creator of some of the most beloved comics in history, announced that he is retiring.
The Odinson cannot even begin to describe the impact this man’s work has had on me. Perez is one of my oldest heroes going all the way back to childhood. It is his visual storytelling that captured my imagination and help make me a comic fan for life. From Avengers to Fantastic Four, Justice League to Ultraforce, he has lent his amazing talents to just about every title available. He is the master of face expressions. His page layouts are legendary and his ability to juggle a large cast of characters is unparalleled.
George Perez is truly a master of his craft.
The Odinson would like to celebrate this man’s great career with a look at my All-Time favorite George Perez projects.
Six George Perez Projects Every Fan Must See
Action Comics #600 (1988) – This collaboration with fellow Modern Master John Byrne is truly a spectacle worthy of these two legendary talents. Right from the very first page, depicting the very first Post-Crisis smooch between Superman and Wonder Woman (the almost smooch from Superman #5 was but a dream), the story just ramps up and never eases off the throttle. The two icons, Superman and Wonder Woman, are startled to discover that Mount Olympus was been devastated by an attack and the gods themselves enslaved.
Who could possibly have the power and the will to lay the mighty Olympians so low?
The answer: Darkseid!
Byrne provides the layouts and Perez adds that signature George Perez detail to the panels with his finishes. The readers are provided with a truly classic issue worthy of a 600th issue celebration from such a prestigious title like Action Comics by two of the industry’s greatest talents.
Wonder Woman (1987-1992) – In the Post-Crisis DCU, George Perez takes the reins of the Amazing Amazon’s title and takes her story to new heights the likes of which have rarely been seen before, or since. Wonder Woman’s mythos have always been tied to the Greek myths and legends, and Perez completely embraces this during his amazing run on the character.
For much of his six year run, George Perez was not just the artist but also the writer and driving creative force behind the series. George Perez did for Wonder Woman what Walt Simonson did for the Mighty Thor. Perez found the perfect balance between the fantasy of old and the DC Comics action/adventure of modern times.
During Perez’s excellent Wonder Woman run we bore witness to tales that shook the pillars of heaven, stories like Challenge of the Gods and War of the Gods. Plus, this incredible run gave us some of the most amazing covers ever produced.
Avengers: Heroes Return (1997-2000) – In the wake of Onslaught and the Heroes Reborn experiment, George Perez teamed up with writer Kurt Busiek (Astro City, Conan) and delivered not just one of the most entertaining runs in the history of the Avengers but in the History of Comics. From epic assemblies like in The Korvac Saga and Kidnapped, Perez has always been known for drawing stories with huge casts. So, to kick things off, Perez asked Busiek to write a tale that would include ALL the Avengers. The result was the reality-warping saga The Morgan Conquest which included every single living hero that had ever been part of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, past and present.
This ability and desire to draw huge casts of characters is one of the defining characteristic of George Perez’s career.
This run would yield some truly amazing Avengers moments like a showdown with the mighty Squadron Supreme, the return of the Wonder Man/Beast Bromance, a standoff with the nigh-invincible Exemplars, and a harrowing team up with their anti-hero counterparts the Thunderbolts. However, hands down, the cream of the crop when it comes to this truly amazing run and quite frankly one of the best comic storylines in Avengers history is Ultron Unlimited.
During this campaign, the killer robot with deep ties to the Avengers Family Tree pushes Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to their limits and beyond!
Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985-1986) – Crisis is arguably the most important crossover event in Comics History. George Perez along with his partner, the great Marv Wolfman, produced a masterpiece worthy of a universal shake up. Within these pages George Perez got to play around with the largest cast of character ever seen in a comic book series. It featured every single hero, villain, supporting character in the multiverse and even included several brand new characters to boot.
The events of this maxi-event are well documented. What I really want to emphasize here is the sheer amount of work and amazing detail Perez put into each and every panel during the course of the 12-issue storyline. He juggles hundreds of characters and using facial expressions, posture, and character design, he is able to give them all a distinct feel and look and each of them their moment to shine.
What George Perez accomplishes in the pages of Crisis on Infinite Earths is truly a testament to his greatness as one of, if not the, best visual storytellers in Comics History.
New Teen Titans (1980-1989) – I would put the first fifty issues of this amazing run in the Pepsi Challenge up against any comic run in history. This is the comic run that truly cultivated a young Odinson’s love for the medium and helped forge him into a lifelong comic book fan.
With story arcs like Kidnapped, Who Killed Trident?, and Who is Donna Troy? George Perez and writer Marv Wolfman orchestrated a mythos with a deep and powerful impact and a gravitas that stands the test of time. This run also introduced a number of characters that would go on to become DCU mainstays and perennial fan favorites – heroes like Raven, Cyborg, and Starfire, and villains like Brother Blood, Trigon, and Deathstroke the Terminator.
Smack dab right in the middle of it all features the rise and fall of the tragic Terra, a troubled super teen who at the behest of the Titans’ greatest adversary infiltrates the team and betrays them. This shocking event was chronicled in the seminal Judas Contract storyline, one of the finest comic tales of all time!
JLA/Avengers (2003) – This is the cherry on top of what was already a legendary career. Here, George Perez gets to play with ALL the toys. In an epic storyline that features every single member of the Avengers and the Justice League, past and present, and even most of their villains and supporting cast members, using his unparalleled talents, Perez gives every single character a moment that is truly unique. Just seeing Superman, Thor, Captain America, and Batman all together on the same page at the same time is worth the price of admission alone.
All throughout this column the Odinson used words like Amazing, Greatest, Incredible, Unparalleled, History, and Legend over and over again. That is because there just is not a word in the English language that could possibly do justice to describing the impact that this man has had not only on the comics industry, but on the fanboy that resides within the Odinson himself.
George Perez, you are a Legend sir, with a capital L. Your career has brought so much joy to us all and your unparalleled work helped to shape the Odinson’s love for comic books and the visual storytelling medium.
May winged stallions one day guide you over the fabled rainbow bridge and through the gates of Valhalla where you will spend eternity shoulder-to-shoulder with all the other legends.
One last anecdote before I go. A little over a decade ago I actually met my hero. I was working a show and was walking the floor before the start of it. I wasn’t paying close attention to my surrounds when I turned a corner and came face-to-face with George Perez!
I am not someone that gets tongue tied or coy when I meet celebrities, but if you read the words above, then you know what this man means to me. I was in awe and speechless. I was standing face-to-face with a living legend. George flashed a warm smile and said, “Good morning.” He was kind and generous with his time and as any of you who have been around him know, without a doubt, he is one of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.
George Perez. You are loved, celebrated, and you will never be forgotten.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
NOTE: For past entries of the So Sayeth the Odinson blog, over a decade’s worth of comic book and pop culture articles and reviews, click HERE. Also, be sure to check out my novels The Survivors and Autumn Dawn, which were inspired by 1980s horror – HERE and HERE