The “Remembering George Perez” panel at NYCC was exactly that: a heartfelt sharing of personal memories of the legendary artist by the panelists. Perez’s incredible talent was mentioned, yes, and panelist Dan Didio said his work was DC in the 1980s, but this panel was mostly filled with warm recollections of friendship and stories of the legendary artist.
The panel included Didio, longtime comic creator Dan Jurgens, creator Phil Jimenez, whose career was inspired by Perez, writer Alex Segura, who first met Perez when working for DC publicity, and Constance Eza, who is familiar to fans as the voice of Perez’s Facebook page.
I had circled this panel first among all those available at New York Comic Con because Perez was the artist of my teenage years, the one who co-created one of my favorite series, New Teen Titans, and the one whose artwork represented the best of superhero art to me. It’s not always true that creators whose art we love are also good people but it’s wonderful when that happens. In the case of Perez, that was especially true.
“If you ever went to a con and met him in person, George loved you,” Eza said. “If you never met George and you loved his work and it meant something to you, George loved you too. Know that he really loved you, he really appreciated you. That is who he was.”
Eza emphasized that all the messages from fans in Perez’s last days meant a great deal to him and that he appreciated them so much. She talked of her personal memories of George, how warm and kind he was, and how much joy he had in his life.
Jurgens noted that while he worked with Perez as a team as inker/penciller team and that he had worked as an artist with Perez as a writer, he’d never written a script where Perez did the art. He talked about how giving Perez was as a collaborator and shared an anecdote about working on Perez’s script. Jurgens didn’t quite know how to approach the script and finally decided he couldn’t imitate Perez and had to be himself. Perez’ response was that Jurgens had sent exactly what he wanted, art that reflected his own talents.
Didio spoke about the publication of New Teen Titans: Games and how he pushed to make its publication happen. “It was this beautiful work,” he said. Marv Wolfman and Perez offered to update it for the current times, writing and drawing new pages, but Didio refused. “There was no need to do more work when what was there was already great. But yet here are two legendary creators and they’re offering to put in more work on a project to update it. That’s what he [Perez] cared about, making the work the best it could be.”
Jimenez was called the “living embodiment” of Perez’s work. He said he took on that role consciously, that he didn’t want to imitate Perez until he came into his own style. He wanted his work to be as much like his inspiration as possible because there was something hopeful and beautiful and human in Perez’s creations. He spoke of how generous Perez was, even offering to do uncredited art for Infinite Crisis when Jimenez fell behind the deadline. “He didn’t care about the credit, he cared about the work.”
Segura too spoke of Perez’s kindness, telling of one instance when he made a mistake in talent wrangling in his role with DC publicity. Segura said he was appalled but Perez said it was no big deal and not to worry.
Eza also had a slideshow memorial running during the panel with personal memories of Perez by his friends, and lots of photos of the artist, all featuring him smiling and happy, including the ones taken at the DC offices with Marv Wolfman shortly before Perez passed away.
I never met Perez. He was at the top of my list of creators to find at a con but, alas, it never happened. But I’m so grateful for his creativity and I’m grateful to all the panelists for sharing memories of the man, giving me a glimpse into how he inevitably affected those around him for the better.