Jun 1, 2010

Top Ten Most Influential Comics Artists #9: George Perez

Welcome to another installment of the top 10 most influential artists of all time! Click here for the archive!

Today's influential artist is George Perez!

Why Is He Influential?

George Perez is an incredible artist who can set the mood just right for any story and does logical and clear panel transitions, ensuring the smooth flow of a story. His art is always in service of the story; it's rarely the other way around.

But that's not what he's known for (even though he's awesome at it). No, George is known for two things: group shots and an incredible attention to detail.

Every time you see anyone go out of his way to draw every last damn brick in a house, you have to give the credit to George Perez. Here's an example of his intricate linework, from New Teen Titans 50:

And here's the cover to Wonder Woman, vol. 2 #4. Look at all that wood!

And of course, he's known for group shots upon group shots, which really paved the way for the comic book "Big Event." Here's a panel from Crisis on Infinite Earths.

And while it would be relatively easy to do a group shot if everyone was just standing around, Perez wouldn't have any of that. The name of the game was action, as seen in this panel from New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract:

And interaction, as seen in his Who's Who covers:

Seriously, who can make all these characters interact on one page like George does? No one, that's who.

George's attention to detail even goes to people. Black people look black, Asians look Asian, and everyone looks different, no matter how many characters are on a page. Look at this Avengers cover and tell me who's related. You can get it pretty much immediately just going by facial resemblance, even if you know nothing about these characters.

Even when he draws two versions of the same character, they look distinct, and they move differently.

Of course, it doesn't help that he draws some of the best damn versions of most iconic characters:

George Perez has been known to get work-related injuries. How can he not, with all that attention to detail? That's just how much he loves his job.

What Works of His Should I Read?

Well, well, well, aren't you in luck? Comics Should Be Good has just run a list of the Greatest George Perez Stories Ever Told.

Perez's most famous work is probably the Marv Wolfman-penned Crisis on Infinite Earths, in which he draws a whole awful lot of DC characters:

And quite frankly, I don't think his work ever looked better.

But I'm partial to the Kurt Busiek-penned JLA/Avengers, a fanboy dream in which he drew every character who's ever been a member of the Justice League of America and the Avengers (and all their villains. And some supporting cast members. And more.):

George Perez also made his name on The New Teen Titans, but that so far hasn't been collected, as far as I know. He did, however, draw and write what many consider to be the definitive take on Wonder Woman, and that's now available in four trade paperbacks, starting with Gods and Mortals.

Recently, he drew Legion of Three Worlds, as written by Geoff Johns, where he drew three versions of the Legion of Super-Heroes, already the world's biggest superteam. It's a damn fun and entertaining read for superhero fans (non-superhero fans would just get confused).

And, just to plug my own site, I think Sachs and Violens is good to have, if you want to see him do more risque stuff without the usual casts of DC and Marvel.

Where Can I See His Influence?

Where can't you? George Perez is easily one of the main influences for the Image movement of the early 90s (we can debate elsewhen if this is a good or bad thing), where everything was crammed with detail, and yes, that includes Image figureheads Jim Lee:

And Todd McFarlane:

Every time you see a big event, whoever drew it is drawing it because George Perez drew big group shots first. This is true for Ethan Van Sciver and his work on The Sinestro Corps War:

For Ron Lim and his work on the Infinity Trilogy:

For George Perez's biggest fan, Phil Jimenez, and his work on, among other things, JLA/Titans:

And even for Alex Ross, who credits George Perez with showing him that putting all these characters together can be done:

In fact, in Alex Ross's book Mythology, we are shown some drawings Alex did when he was a teenager. They depict the Justice Union of Earth, which is the Justice League of a parallel universe. Essentially, it's the JLA in a different world, so it involves massive redesigns, and even in his teen years, George's influence on Alex was palpable:

The influence of George Perez is the most obvious one on this entire list. The mainstream superhero comics, which dominate the market, are practically riding on the trend Perez started.

Where Can He Officially Be Found on the Web?

There are a lot of sites that pay tribute to George Perez (some are on my sidebar), but the best and easiest way to find George is through his official Facebook fan page.

My Gloating:


ike said...

Dude, are you the guy in the Knicks shirt?

Duy Tano said...

Annoying story: When I was in line for the Perez signing, the guy behind me was this huge, fat guy who fit every stereotype the Simpsons perpetuated of every comics fan. He was then told that he would be the last guy who was allowed to be in line. Two minutes later, this little eager black kid and his mom, all enthusiastic with a stack of Perez comics, asked the guy if that was the line for George Perez, so he pretty much said that it was, but they're not allowing anyone anymore, in this curt, quick, and rude way. The kid looked really heartbroken, and the fat guy just kept reading his comics.

I wish to thank said fat guy for perpetuating horrible stereotypes.

ike said...

Isn't he right there - the one with the 'Jimmy Olsen Must Die' shirt?

Duy Tano said...

No, that's the organizer guy. The fat guy is behind me, not in the picture.

RaceForTaste said...

"And here's the cover to Wonder Woman, vol. 2 #4. Look at all that wood!"

That's what she said!!!

Alexandre Alves said...

Beautyfull article. George Deserves a lot o props and recognition. The guy is one of the gods.

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