Remembering George Pérez, influential Puerto Rican illustrator and writer who brought Wonder Woman to life and Latinos to the superhero stage
Comics illustrator and writer George Pérez, the co-creator of The New Teen Titans, was noted for his work on Wonder Woman comics.
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In his lifetime, self-taught comics illustrator and writer George Pérez wrote for two giants of the publishing world: Marvel Comics and DC Comics, among others.
The son of Puerto Rican parents, Pérez was born in the South Bronx in 1954. He began his career in 1973. In 1975, Pérez created the first Puerto Rican superhero with writer Bill Mantlo.
The character, the White Tiger, first appeared in a martial arts comics magazine titled The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu.
He became the co-creator of The New Teen Titans comics series with Marv Wolfman in 1980, spawning a bestseller which influenced several television series.
Pérez’s career would celebrate four decades of work. The artist also contributed greatly to Wonder Woman storylines in the 1980s.
Following the character’s run — which had continued since the 1940s — DC Comics saw it was time to rejuvenate Wonder Woman with a fresh iteration and take.
Pérez was brought in for the job, creating a younger iteration of the character whose origin was more rooted in her Greek mythology.
This iteration of Wonder Woman would alter how the character is perceived for decades. In creating her 2017 adaption, director Patty Jenkins took inspiration from Pérez’s take.
Pérez’s illustrations were unique to him, yet packed with activity. His writing incorporated many characters as key players of a single storyline.
In addition to his artwork depicting DC legends Cyborg, Raven, and company, Pérez also drew the Justice League, the Fantastic Four, and the Avengers.
With Wolfman, Pérez helped turn Batman’s sidekick Robin into a more adult character, who takes on the alias Nightwing when grown up.
Pérez died this past Friday, May 6, in Sanford, Florida. He was 67. He is survived by his parents, wife Carol Flynn, and brother David.
Influencing comics and superhero culture today — from team-ups to more focused character studies — Pérez’s contributions to pop culture will not be forgotten.