The comics industry icon, who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, passed away peacefully at his home on Friday with his family by his side.
George Pérez, the acclaimed comic book artist and writer known for his work on major DC properties including Crisis on Infinite Earths and Wonder Woman, along with Marvel’s The Avengers, has died. He was 67.
Pérez, who also worked on The New Teen Titans and Superman during his decades-long career, passed away on Friday peacefully at his home with his wife, Carol Flynn, and family by his side, according to a statement posted to his official Facebook page. His passing followed a pancreatic cancer diagnosis.
“He was not in pain and knew he was very, very loved,” the statement said. “We are all very much grieving, but, at the same time, we are so incredibly grateful for the joy he brought to our lives. To know George was to love him, and he loved back. Fiercely and with his whole heart. The world is a lot less vibrant today without him in it.”
Pérez publicly announced his then-stage three pancreatic cancer diagnosis in December 2021, telling fans that the cancer was inoperable and doctors had given him six months to a year to live. The artist opted not to undergo treatment.
“I have been given the option of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, but after weighing all the variables and assessing just how much of my remaining days would be eaten up by doctor visits, treatments, hospital stays and dealing with the often stressful and frustrating bureaucracy of the medical system, I’ve opted to just let nature take its course, and I will enjoy whatever time I have left as fully as possible with my family, friends, and fans,” he wrote.
Born in 1954 in the South Bronx, the Puerto-Rican American writer, penciller, colorist, inker and more began his comics career in the 1970s, making his professional debut for a major publisher in August 1974 with Marvel Comics’ Astonishing Tales No. 25.
He quickly became a Marvel regular, first co-creating with Bill Mantlo the White Tiger, the first Puerto Rican superhero, before working on other Marvel titles, including The Inhumans and Fantastic Four, and notably creating the Taskmaster character with writer David Michelinie for The Avengers.
With his growing popularity, he’d go on to work for Marvel rival DC Comics, leading the art for Marv Wolfman’s The New Teen Titans. But he’d take a hiatus to spearhead with Wolfman DC’s 1985 50th-anniversary event Crisis on Infinite Earths, an industry-defining (and continuity redefining) crossover event that reportedly featured every single character DC owned.
By the late ’80s, Pérez was rebooting Wonder Woman, coming in as both the plotter and penciller of the series to tie the character more closely to the Greek gods, before returning to the Titans, now under their new name, The New Titans. His industry-defining work across more than four decades also included, in various capacities, DC’s War of the Gods run, Marvel’s Infinity Gauntlet series, Batman, the JLA/Avengers crossover and more.
“George Pérez had an art style that was both dynamic and incredibly expressive,” DC publisher and chief creative officer Jim Lee said in a statement. “His art was the perfect storytelling canvas for some of the most important events in DC history. While he will be sorely missed, his work will live on with a countless number of fans, as well as all the talent he’s influenced over the years.”
Pérez would also work with BOOM! Studios and Image comics at various points in his career. His extensive catalog earned him several Jack Kirby Awards and the Inkwell Awards Stacey Aragon Special Recognition Award for lifetime achievement. In 2017, he was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame.
Pérez announced his formal retirement in 2019. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on Nov. 27, 2021.
“Everyone knows George’s legacy as a creator,” the statement posted to Pérez’s Facebook on Saturday acknowledged. “His art, characters and stories will be revered for years to come. But, as towering as that legacy is, it pales in comparison to the legacy of the man George was. George’s true legacy is his kindness.”