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13th Dimension: George Perez on Fantastic Four and friendship with Stan Lee

posted Jun 16, 2019, 8:42 AM by Vu Nguyen

FANTASTIC FOUR #164 (Nov 1975)
Marvel Comics

FANTASTIC FOUR #165 (Dec 1976)
Marvel Comics
Dan Greenfield: When we put this (countdown) out there, a lot of readers were saying, “Well, how could this be so low?” And the point is, that’s how much great material was still to come. But #12 was The Fantastic Four

George Perez: Since I grew up, obviously with all the Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Dick Ayers, all those great artists, so getting a chance to draw Fantastic Four was pure luck.

I was working at that point as the assistant to Rich Buckler, who was the artist on Fantastic Four, and I was helping him on what would have been the Fantastic Four Annual. And then Rich fell so far behind (that they cancelled it). … So that the annual with extra art drawn by me became my first two issues of Fantastic Four Issues #164 and #165

I had to beef it up so it built up two issues instead of one annual. Plus, I had to draw a new splash page. … And so I drew some of that stuff almost a year after I had drawn the earlier pages, and I could see the stylistic difference. But I benefited — and it was wonderful seeing him again at this convention — by being inked by Joe Sinnott, who obviously was the defining inker on Fantastic Four. So, he made me look a heck of a lot better. …

When Stan Lee saw my first issue of Fantastic Four, I got a phone call from his secretary saying, “Stan Lee would like to see you.” He did not recognize the name on the credits there, it was my first issue. He expected that it was either (John) Buscema or (John) Romita — a compliment in itself — and of course a credit to Joe Sinnott. And that was the first time that Stan and I ever sat down together and he gave me my first raise…