He’s drawn Crises. He’s rebooted an Amazonian Princess. He reinvigorated Titans. He’s made a man out of a Boy Wonder. He’s assembled Avengers and made Men of Steel fly. And now artist George Perez faces the next great challenge in his life: Retirement.
In an official press release, the DC Comics and Marvel Comics vetran has announced his decision to step away from creating was a difficult but necessary one. “[While] I know it has been no secret that I’ve been dealing with a myriad of health issues (diabetes, heart ailments, vision issues, etc.), they have indeed force me to, for all intents and purposes, formally retire from the business of creating new comic stories.”
Specifically George is referring to his recent surgery diabetic retinopathy, and his heart attack in 2017, the latter requiring a coronary stent to be fitted.
Drawing since the age of five, the South Bronx native began his career at Marvel Comics in 1970 at the age of 16 as assistant to artist Rick Buckler, and soon got to pencil his first regular story in The Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu. Afterwards, he quickly rose in the ranks to pencil other titles, notably Avengers and Fantastic Four, He also is listed as co-creator of the Avengers villain Taskmaster with writer David Micheline. He then made the move to DC in a big way in the 1980s, starting with regular pencilling duties alongside writer Marv Wolfman on The New Teen Titans. Through their collaboration came the introduction of staple DC heroes like Starfire, Raven and Cyborg and the risque transition of Dick Grayson from Robin to the more adult guise of Nightwing. It was through their teamwork that the book became one of the biggest draws for DC.
He took time away from Titans to help Marv focus on a bigger and now classic story: Crisis on Infinite Earths, the event that reset the DC Universe and saw the deaths of Barry Allen and Supergirl, as well as the rise of Wally West as the third Scarlet Speedster. After Crisis, George then helmed the relaunch of Wonder Woman as both plotter and penciller, after which returining to New Teen Titans with #50 in the same capacity. In the 1990s George returned to Marvel and pencilled the six-issue limited Infinity Gauntlet series, a plot that has been the basis of many of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s plots that culminated in last summer’s Avengers: Inifity War and will conclude in this summer’s Avengers: Endgame. He also resumed pencilling duties on Avengers during their “Heroes Return” storyline, as well as the Avengers/Justice League miniseries crossover. He is also co-chariman of comic book industry charity known as The Hero Initiative,
Now at age 65, Perez has, as he noted, had to deal with many ailments that have led to convention cancellations and difficulty handling convention commission sketches. “It’s just becoming too much of a strain on my eyes to produce the fully rendered ink and pencil-tone pieces on a quality level that justifies the price I’m being paid for them.”
Sadly, he notes also that the workload of con sketches must be reduced as well, but not going away completely. Rather, he has remedied the situation for those still willing to pay for his work with a system in place. “While I will no longer sketch at the conventions themselves, I will, through my art agent Spencer beck of The Artists Choice, be taking orders for 5 [con-style] head sketches, per convention day that I am in attendance which will be done at home to be collected conventions. [The] price for these will be a good deal pricier than in the past, going for $100 each, but please take [solace] that all the monies I earn for these sketches, as well as my appearance fees, will be donated to various charities.” (NOTE: Commission requests will not be accepted until 30 days prior to each scheduled event, and will operate on a first come first serve basis at no larger than 9 x 12”, paid in full at the time the order is accepted.)
George also outlined his convention schedule for the new year, limiting appearances to six and one in 2020 at this time, declaring that “2019 will more than likely be my last year touring this grand land and meeting so many great fans.”
Perez concluded his statement assuring everyone that he will be financially secure with the many royalties he has earned over the years. He also leaves open the possibility of taking up the pencils and inks again provided that the prospective opportunity is “really tempting [and] I’m given sufficient enough time.”
The comics legend remains grateful for the opportunities he has been given in his career. “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. And so much of that is thanks to all of you, the greatest fans in the world. I am humbled and forever grateful.”
So are we, George. Thanks for the memories and all the best to you and your family.
For those interested in placing commission orders Spencer, you can reach him at [email protected], and you can find any schedule changes or announcements on both www.theartistschoice.com/perez.htm and George’s fan site www.george-perez.net.
George’s 2019 Convention Schedule is as follows:
February 22 to 24, 2019: Amazing Comic Con Aloha
March 22 to 24, 2019: East Coast Comic Con
June 7 to 9, 2019: Niagara Falls Comic Con
August 9 to 11, 2019: Fetish Con
August 29 to September 2, 2019: Dragon Con