When Mr. Pérez announced in a Facebook post in December 2021 that he had a life expectancy of just 6 to 12 months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the testimonies arrived quickly. They included articles like “How George Pérez Changed Comics Forever,” citing his enjoyment of comics that brought together superheroes, his portrayal of female characters with different body types, his positive interactions with fans, and his charitable initiatives.
“We lost another one of the absolute greats this weekend,” wrote Jim Lee, creative director and publisher of DC Comics in a post on Instagram. “His career is truly a testament to what can be achieved in life when he is particularly focused on what he loves to do.” (Neal Adams, a comic book artist who helped revitalize Batman, died Thursday.)
George Pérez was born on June 9, 1954 in the South Bronx to the family of Jorge Guzman Pérez, who worked in the meat packaging industry, and Luz Maria Izquierdo, a housewife. They were both from Puerto Rico and met in New Jersey. They survived him, along with his wife Carol Flynn and brother David.
Mr. Pérez was a self-taught artist who began in 1973 as an assistant to comic artist Rich Buckler. He received his first professional loan the following year, for a satirical two-page story for Marvel about the character of Deathlock.
In 1975, he and writer Bill Mantlo created the White Tiger, the first Puerto Rican superhero in the series Deadly Hands of Kung Fu. The editor of the series was Mr. Wolfman, who was initially critical of Mr. Pérez’s understanding of anatomy and perspective.
“He asked me years later why I continued to use it, given that I had problems with his art in those early days,” Mr. Wolfman recalled in a telephone interview. “Perspective is something you can learn, but you can’t learn storytelling. George has been a natural storyteller since day one. ”