While there were some good books in my stack this week, I have to admit that nothing really jumped out at me as Spotlight material.
There was, however, some significant industry news this past week, and so I decided to do a little something different, so today the Spotlight shines on…
In a recent post on his blog, Mark Evanier noted that the word “legend,” and derivations thereof, gets thrown around a lot lately, diluting the impact of the sentiment the word is meant to express.
However, when talking about George Pérez, the word and all its permutations is hard to avoid. Thus, the big news this week is that the legendary artist and writer has announced that he is formally retiring from working in comics.
It’s impossible for me to point to any one person who is responsible for my love of comics. There have been so many creators who have contributed so much to what has been a lifelong obsession for me that it would be both unfair and foolish to even try to find just one.
If pressed, there is no question that George Pérez is the one I would select. Pérez is the first artist whose style I learned to immediately recognize on sight as a kid, the first artist whose work I actively sought out, the first artist who made young Jon want to make comics someday.
I am not, by nature, an especially positive individual, tending to accentuate the negative and eliminate the positive. It’s served me well professionally, in some ways – finding problems is often at the core of the work I do – and less well personally, but there’s no denying the truth of it.
That said, here, I try to work against my natural impulses and focus on the positive, which is why the Spotlight is typically less in the way of a review or critique of comics and more of a conversation. I’m trying to do my small part to share the joy of the medium, to find some way to impart the kind of love for comics to others that George Pérez did to me through his work.
As a veteran of both major publishers and of many of the smaller companies as well, George Pérez has left his mark on so many comics, and on the adaptations of those comics in other media. His work on The Avengers, The Justice League, and, in particular, Wonder Woman has shown up on screens both big and small.
If all he had ever done was his work on The New Teen Titans, his place in the pantheon of greats would have been assured. But he did more than that. So much more.
For years he was the go-to artist for any major “event” comic, such as JLA/Avengers, which provides the image above, and with one particular image from such an event becoming especially iconic and frequently homaged.
The news of his retirement was not a complete surprise, of course, as many were aware of some of the health issues he’s experienced and of just how sparse his output has been in recent years.
But while it’s sad news for fans and friends, the good news is that he’s able to do so; enjoying retirement is not something that most comics pros are able to look forward to, as working in comics doesn’t always result in the kind of financial stability that makes such a thing possible.
That Mr. Pérez is able to do so is both a testament to his singular talent and his enormous body of work and something of an indictment of the system that leads to so few similar outcomes for all of the other creators who have contributed so much to the medium that we fans love so well.
All of the above – and more – is why I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Pérez for all that he’s done throughout the years and to wish him a happy – and long – well-deserved retirement.
I’ll close out with a plug for the Hero Initiative, which does good work to help the creators who need it – I have a complete set of Crisis on Infinite Earths signed by Mr. Pérez (and his ideally-suited partner in comics, Marv Wolfman) thanks to the Hero Initiative – and encourage you to pitch in to help (and maybe get something cool in the process).
And now enjoy some accolades from some of his many fans and friends, and some of his stunningly-beautiful comic art.
Sad to say happy retirement, George.— Patch Zircher (@PatrickZircher) January 20, 2019
There are artists who made me want to be a comic book artist, #GeorgePerez is one of the foremost. He’s thrilled me since I was 10. For a lot of us, he created the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Justice League, Teen Titans… so many.
George Pérez is the best. A happy retirement to you, sir. pic.twitter.com/9BahrGDHQ0— Kurt Busiek Resists (@KurtBusiek) January 19, 2019
My George Perez story gets me misty every time. Best artist, best guy!— GAIL SIMONE (@GailSimone) January 20, 2019
…and that’s just a very small taste.