The legacy of George Pérez. Marvel Cinematic Universe, DC Extended Universe, CW, HBO Max – all take a moment to say thank you to George Pérez. Pérez contributed pencil and artistic vision to many of the stories and characters busting out at the box office or binge-streaming on your tablet.
Exploding on the Big and Small Screens
Give George Pérez a jewel-encrusted gloved hand for getting the snap that changed the Marvel Universe started. Besides that, how about some Amazonian princess power? Pérez’s Wonder Woman revision certainly influenced Gal Gadot’s character. When DC was at a crossroads, Wolfman and Pérez created Crisis on Infinite Earths. The CW’s multi-part crossover entertained with all the cameos and twists to depict the event. Of course, I save the HBO Max Titans for last. Clearly, the New Teen Titans qualify as the artist’s ultimate achievement.
Humble Beginning for the George Pérez Legacy
If young athletes imagine scoring the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl for their debut, what do young artists dream of? Would it be a two-page satire featuring Doug Moench, Rich Buckler, and Deathlok? Astonishing Tales #25 featured the first published comic work by George Pérez. Since, it also launched Deathlok, people probably are paying up for Buckler’s cyborg rather than Pérez’s parody. Now that I think about it, is there another cyborg that appeared in the Justice League movie that’s just a little bit like Deathlok?
I believe Pérez established himself with fans on Avengers. Beginning with issue 141 in 1975, Pérez penciled about thirty issues over a five-year period. As a time travel aficionado, I loved how he and writer Steve Englehart started right out with a time travel tale that took Thor and Moondragon back to the old West. Of course, they met the Western ‘kids’ of Marvel: Kid Colt, Two-Gun, Rawhide, and Ringo. Add Night Rider (a.k.a. Ghost Rider for good measure.)
Bronze age Avengers comics enjoy good demand with several keys in the era. Avengers #181 featuring the first appearance of Scott Lang (Ant-Man) is a good example. Though Pérez did not do the interior art, his cover is archetypical with a plethora of heroes squeezed into one scene.
For an example of a recent original art sale, check out Avengers #196 Page 9. The half splash sold for the phenomenal price of $22,800 in September.
Justice League of America
Obviously, the art editors of DC recognized George Pérez could handle a team. So, they added the JLA to the legacy of George Pérez. That run was way too brief, but it featured some spectacular art including the cover of Justice League of America 200. The anniversary issue art sold in 2016 for $77,675, still the highest price for Perez art at HA.
Pérez succeeded the legendary Dick Dillin. He began on issue #184 after Dillin’s passing. You can see a GoCollect bump in prices at 184. It could be Pérez-related, but the story also features Darkseid and Jack Kirby’s Fourth World characters.
George Pérez ended his regular duties on JLA when called upon to co-create another super-group. But, I’ll save that super-group for later.
Adding to the George Pérez legacy: Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman ranks as number one among female comic book characters. However, a fickle public waxes and wanes on all of our four-color heroes. Needing a boost, George Pérez and Greg Potter rebooted the character in 1987. Pérez devoted five years to the character, a large percentage as the regular scripter!
Despite a grade A character and a grade A artist, Wonder Woman 1987 comics and art remain affordable. For example, the cover art of WW 32 sold for the reasonable price of $16,800. I discussed some other art from the series in my blog on the WW 84 movie. Cheetah keys stand out compared to other issues from the series.
Taking advantage of a good CRISIS
Before Wonder Woman, creators Marv Wolfman and George Pérez rocked the DC Universes with Crisis. I enjoyed the CW’s take on the twelve-issue maxi-series. Although, to do the story justice would have required a huge budget, multiple films, and of course the death of Flash and Supergirl. (A real challenge since they starred in two of the CW’s ongoing series.)
Crisis on Infinite Earths fits in the Copper Age. I scanned through the hot list at GoCollect. At the time of this writing, only a DC Comics Presents Crisis crossover appeared in the top couple hundred. Considering the massive (though temporary) changes to DC, one would expect the series to feature higher FMVs and more rabid collector interest. Whether the Crisis changes were unappreciated by older fans, or soon overcome by character reboots, I think the art and story of Crisis will get its just due in time. As an aside, I’m insulted that the Millennium edition reprint of Crisis on Infinite Earths boasts an FMV almost as high as the 1985 original. Come on people!
New Teen Titans: Pinnacle of George Pérez’s Legacy
I suggest buying New Teen Titans original art by George Pérez while it can be found! First, it is his signature work. Second, focus on newly created characters like Cyborg, Starfire, and Raven, since it is their earliest appearances. Finally, New Teen Titans was monstrous in the early eighties similar to X-Men. A LOT of people grew up on Titan stories and would love to obtain a souvenir of their childhood readings.
This page from New Teen Titans 7 featuring Cyborg’s origin sold last year for $1,680. Recent story pages from the era can be found in the 1 to 2 thousand dollar range with some higher and some lower.
I haven’t seen any of the Titans new HBO Max series, but my daughter and co-worker have raved about it. That can’t hurt the popularity of the comics or art.
But if you prefer Marvel to DC, a Silver Surfer pinup from Rampaging Hulk 8 is coming to auction at HA in November.
Just to wrap this up, I’m not a big autograph guy. Typically, the cost of the autograph assumes the buyer plans to sell his treasure. I’m only interested in the sentimentality of the personal connection to a favorite artist or author. Thus, my cheap self usually doesn’t want to pay more for an autograph than what the item is worth. And I certainly wouldn’t want to get an autograph on an extremely high-grade book where over time fickle collectors may decide an autograph on the cover defaces the book and lowers the grade.
But I do have a few tokens to remind me of my youth. Particularly valued, George Pérez signed a couple comics for me twenty-five years or so ago. Free! I haven’t slabbed, and I haven’t sold. Nor do I plan to. Further, I cherish the gift of George Pérez’s time and effort to connect to fans. And I wish I had only asked for one autograph instead of two, what a shmuck!