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A long out-of-print and rare collaboration between DC and Marvel is heading back to shelves in honor of George Pérez, the cancer-stricken artist who drew the comic miniseries.
The charity Hero Initiative has partnered with the two major comic publishers for a special-edition reprint of 2003’s JLA/Avengers, a crossover featuring some of the biggest heroes from each fighting side-by-side (but not before fighting each other first, natch).
The four-issue event series, written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by Pérez, was the culmination of years of on-and-off work between the publishers, both strongly protective of their intellectual property and corporate image, who navigated legal obstacles, as well as those thrown up by egotistical editors, to make the collaboration a reality. The series hasn’t been packaged either as a trade or hardcover collection since at least 2008.
The new book will be a 288-page, full-color, softbound volume comprising the story plus 64 pages of companion content, including a reprinting of introductions by original Avengers writer-editor Stan Lee and Justice League of America editor Julius Schwartz. The Hero Initiative edition will also feature a new afterword by Busiek. It will be released in March, will retail for $29.99 and be limited to 7,000 copies.
DC and Marvel came together on the new project to honor Pérez and his legacy, which dates back to the 1970s. The artist worked at Marvel, drawing titles such as Fantastic Four and The Avengers, before moving to DC where he drew Justice League of America followed by an award-winning and seminal run on New Teen Titans, a title which he co-created. He later drew Crisis on Infinite Earths and Wonder Woman, and returned to Marvel for Infinity Gauntlet, the latter being a foundation of the Marvel Studio hits Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
In December, he announced on Facebook that he had been diagnosed with stage three pancreatic cancer and been given six months to a year to live. Last week, he enrolled in inpatient hospice and, this week, CGC canceled plans for a comic signing he was slated to do later in the winter.
Pérez is a founding member of Hero Initiative’s board of directors and has served as chair of its disbursement committee. The charity’s mission statement involves creating a safety net for older comic creators and has granted over $1 million to comic vets.
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