DC PROFILE #80: GEORGE PEREZ
written by Michael C. Carmichael
transcribed by Vu, thanks to ES
The instant success of THE NEW TEEN TITANS is not nearly so remarkable as the fact that one of the reasons
behind that success, artist George Pérez, has never had any formal art
training. "I've been drawing since I was five years old," recalled the
black-bearded Pérez in a recent interview, "my first drawing board was
the hamper in the bathroom."
That bathroom, along with the rest of
George's house and family (his parents and a younger brother), was
located in the South Bronx, New York, where George was born on June 9,
1954. "I learned to read from super-hero comics," admits George, "so it
was natural that I turned to them for inspiration for my drawing. The
first one I recall reading was DETECTIVE COMICS #270, it had Batman and Robin fighting a space creature, and there was Roy Raymond and the Martian manhunter. I loved the Martian Manhunter."
But it was to be years later before
George was to get his chance to create, professionally, his own science
fiction visual concepts. In the meantime, George created amateur
super-heroes. "I didn't have any real favorites because I liked to make
up my own. I remember creating Rubberband Man - a hero with a human
head and a rubberband body. The body was the easiest thing to draw."
After the elementary school years at St.
Luke's Catholic School, George entered the Cardinal Hayes High School.
"The only art course they had there was a babysitting course," grumbled
George, "they let you draw, but they never taught you anything."
But despite this disappointing art
"training," it was doing this course that George made the acquaintance
of Tom Sciacca, a comic book fan of the first order. "It was Tom who
actually started me into the comic book business," claims George. "He
took me to my first convention."
In 1972, George graduated from high
school and began working as a bank teller. But he still attended the
comic conventions whenever he could, his portfolio in hand so he could
show off his work just as often. "I got rejected by DC's 'Junior
Bullpen' project in 1973, but artist Rich Buckler saw my work and soon
hired me as an assistant." In 1974, George received his first solo
penciling assignments. "It was a MAN-WOLF tale for Marvel," he remembers, "I only did the penciling while Klaus Janson did the inking."
CREATURES ON THE LOOSE: FEATURING MAN-WOLF #33 (Jan 1975)
Before long, George found it impossible
to keep his bank teller's job - he was too busy drawing Marvel's
top-selling book at the time, FANTASTIC FOUR and THE AVENGERS, along with the THE INHUMANS and SONS OF THE TIGER.
"It was Marv Wolfman who brought me over to DC," says George, "to specifically do the new Titans. I said that I'd only do it if I got the chance to do at least one JUSTICE LEAGUE issue. This was only a few weeks before the tragic and unexpected death of JLA artist Dick Dillin. I never wanted to get the JLA assignment for that reason!"
Soon George will take on a new assignment - his marriage to aspiring professional dancer, Carol Flynn. "My biggest fan!"
About his part in the incredible success of the THE NEW TEEN TITANS.
George recalls happily, "Everyone laughed when they heard that I was
going to be doing as my DC assignment. You know, they're not laughing