Any hardcore Wonder Woman comic book fan should be familiar with the name George Perez. Aside from her creators, Dr. William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter, there is no other name more synonymous with the character. (Save Lynda Carter, of course.) There have been many great writers and artists who have worked on the Wonder Woman property over the years, but none of them is as arguably impactful as Perez. He brought new depth to the character with an emotional resonance that few others had yet to achieve.
George Perez started his career in comics in the ’70s at Marvel, cutting his teeth on books like Werewolf by Night. It wouldn’t be long before he would be drawing more prominent titles like Fantastic Four and The Avengers, as he improved his artistic skills along the way. Not only did he become known for his storytelling and action scenes, Perez developed a reputation for being fast, sometimes drawing as many as three books a month.
Perez eventually went to DC to draw the Justice League of America, the book he had always had his eyes set on. It wouldn’t be long before he and co-creator and fellow Marvel alumni Marv Wolfman would launch a revamp of the Teen Titans. The New Teen Titans became wildly popular, featuring seasoned sidekicks and members of the original roster: Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl and Changeling (Beast Boy). They were joined by Raven, Starfire and Cyborg. The series became wildly popular and became DC’s number one title. The team of Wolfman and Perez created the magic and the mythos that have been carried on to new incarnations like Titans Go! and the Titans television series.
DC famously enlisted Wolfman and Perez to revamp and streamline continuity in the company-spanning epic series, Crisis on Infinite Earths. The series would basically hit the reset button on the whole line of comics. The task of “re-inventing” Wonder Woman after Crisis went to Perez and writer Greg Potter who was only attached to the project for the first few issues.
Perez brought us an exciting and thoughtful spin on Wonder Woman’s beginnings. There were new flares and nuances, but he remained respectful of the original. Perez really hit the ground running with great stories surrounding the Amazons of Themyscira, the Greek Gods of Mythology, and revamping Diana’s rogues gallery. Even though Perez’s run was almost 30 years ago, it remains one of the most popular and beloved runs of Wonder Woman. In fact, Perez’s Barbra Minerva version of the villainess Cheetah is set to appear in 2020’s much anticipated sequel to the hugely successful Wonder Woman film.
Perez would contribute to many series after his departure from Wonder Woman, including a team up between The Avengers and The Justice League of America that was twenty years in the making.
Perez, 64, revealed his departure in a Facebook post today, writing:
“In recent months, there has been a great deal of speculation as to the future of my career, my health, my ability to draw and my future convention appearances. As a result, I would like to clear up everything first hand so that, hopefully, any rumors, speculation and misinformation can be laid to rest. With respect to future published work in comics and such … while I know it’s been no secret that I’ve been dealing with a myriad number of health issues (diabetes, heart ailments, vision issues, etc.), they have indeed have forced me to, for all intents and purposes, formally retire from the business of creating new comic stories.”
In closing, please don’t feel sorry for me about all these life and career changes,” Pérez continues. “Thankfully I earn more than enough income through royalties to have a comfortable life wherein I may never need to work again. Unless, of course, something really tempting comes along and I’m given sufficient lead time. Hey, you never know. Long story short, I will be just fine. I’ve had a wonderfully good run doing exactly what I have wanted to do since I was a child. 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.”
Thank you, George Perez, for the many years of awe and inspiration, and especially for bringing your best to Wonder Woman and leaving your indelible footprint in her history. You will be sorely missed and forever revered. Thank goodness for all of the amazing pages of beautiful art you have given us over the years. I selfishly pray for that one great story that will make you dust off your pencil one last time… All-Star Wonder Woman comes to mind.
Enjoy your retirement, Wonder Man! You’ve more than earned it.
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Art by George Perez