by Douglas Montgomery II
I’ve been collecting comic books and have been into everything science fiction/fantasy from Godzilla to Star Wars and Star Trek for well over 40 years, almost my entire life. And in the 1970s and especially the 1980s and early 90s, one of the artist, the main artist who’s work I followed and collected was George Perez.
In the 70s I was young and just bought what comics I could get my hands on and didn’t really pay attention to who was drawing them. I just bought what I liked. I bought what was visually appealing to me. But in the 1980s, a friend recommended the New Teen Titans, and by this time I was a teenager and was actually reading the comics and paying attention to who the people (writer, artist, inker, etc) were, that were responsible for the comics I was buying. Upon my friends advice, I went to an antique show being held at a local shopping mall, and there was a vendor there that was selling comic books. I found the section for the Titans and purchased the New Teen Titans #22, 23, and 24. The stories centered on villain Brother Blood and Starfire’s villainous sister Blackfire. I was now consciously hooked on Perez’s artwork and began purchasing all the Titan’s previous issues all the way back to number one. I say consciously, because I started looking back on some of the comics I had collected up to that point and realized I’d been acquiring comics drawn by Perez all along, the Avengers in particular.
I went back and picked up all the Avengers drawn by Perez that I had missed until I had all of them; I then would go on searches to local comic stores, flea markets, bookstores, mail order comic services, etc, for anything Perez had done, comics, posters, post cards, anything with that iconic George Perez autograph signature. My main comic store would automatically set aside anything new from Perez for me to purchase when I came to the store. Needless to say I was and still am, a George Perez fan. At a time in my life, high school and post high school, when crack was devastating lower income neighborhoods, a mysterious new disease called AIDs was killing people, and the spectre of nuclear war with the Soviet Union hung over the nation like a shadow, Perez gave me something to look forward to, something to get excited about.
George Perez was blessed with a wonderful gift and I’m so grateful he used his gift the way that he did and shared it with everyone for so many years. And while the selfish part of me desires for George to continue, he’s given so many comics and art in various forms, so many that I could continue searching for George’s work that I don’t already own, for years and years. So I can’t be upset that George is retiring. I thank him for all the visual art candy he’s given, for all the stunning, detailed images that floored me the first time I saw them on the store shelves, and still amaze me to this day, like when I pull them up on google or select them from my own personal collection. For that matter, right now, sitting on top of my large trunk (where my comics and fantasy memorabilia are stored), I have Perez’s New Teen Titans #16, #17, #39, the poster for Titans cover #24, the New Teen Titans Tom Doherty paperback, Wonder Woman #24, the Avengers Heroes Return 1st Issue, and Malibu comics Limited Edition UltraForce, already out for easy viewing access.
I extend my sincerest thank you to George Perez. You’re a bonafide legend! Your work will inspire and live on forever. And I will forever speak of your masterful, detailed talents and how your work inspired and influenced my life. Congratulations! Happy Retirement! Enjoy! You’ve more than earned it!