Carmine Infantino, Curt Swan, Joe Kubert, Sergio Aragones, Steve Yeowell, Dave Mazzucchelli, Jaime Hewlett, Jaime Hernandez … I could go on and on about who have inspired me to do what I do.
Can I narrow it down to just one? Yes. Wait, no.
Teen Titans. Justice League of America. Back up Firestorm stories in The Flash. Crisis On Infinite Earths. Wonder Woman.
What do all of these have in common? George Perez. Teen Titans was one of the first books that I bought that had his work in it. Something about it just made me think wow, who drew this? Looking at his work during my teenage years helped me become the artist that I am today. I remember going to the newsstand to see what other books he had drew. I say newsstand because at this age, I did not know that comic book stores existed. Going through the racks of comics to find anything with his name on it. One day, on the newsstand was the first issue of Crisis on Infinite Earths. The cover stood out. Looking inside the art was so awesome! Not only did this book have Perez’s work in it, but all the superheroes I grew up reading.
I recall early on trying to copy his work, even his panel layouts. But to this day, I cannot draw the way he does. All that detail in each and every panel, but yet readable and not confusing. His work has amazing storytelling in it. In a book called Focus on George Perez, it gave a look into his life and career. I remember reading that book and going to the local art store to buy some ink nibs (crow quills). Why? Because that’s what Perez used to ink his work. To this day I do not know how to use those things.
It was in early 2000’s, the Toronto FanExpo show that I went to because Perez was one of the guest there. Standing in the line in a room that only had him in it, in my hands were the hardcover Crisis book and the poster he had done with Alex Ross. I was super nervous to meet him or even say hi. My thoughts were what if he’s a jerk and had an ego? That was not the case. He greeted me and asked how I was. I told him that he was and still is a huge inspiration for me. He smiled and said thank you. I walked away so happy. I met George Perez!
Other than those books mentioned above, the History of DC Universe is an amazing book with Perez at his best. Some on the art in the book is directly printed from his pencils. And his run on Superman in the early 90’s, wow. And Wonder Woman…. Go look at that book! Some amazing art in that book.