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Flashback: George Perez joins CrossGen Comics

posted Dec 1, 2017, 4:11 AM by Vu Nguyen   [ updated Dec 1, 2017, 4:16 AM ]
From Vu


CROSSGEN CHRONICLES #2 (Mar 2001)
CrossGen Comics
Coming up on December 19, is the 17 anniversary of the announcement that George Perez had signed an exclusive contract with CrossGen Comics.

With a new freedom from the Marvel Comics contract (ending with Avengers #34) in 2000, George decided to re-publish his creator-own Crimson Plague with the newly formed Gorilla Comics.  As history would have it, it didn't last very long.  After picking up some freelance work for CrossGen Comics... the up-and-coming company offered a full exclusive contract.

It's easy to see why George decided to go with CrossGen, its founder Mark Alessi wanted his employees to enjoy the full benefit of healthcare and other perks in a 40-hour a day office work environment.  This meant showing up to work in an office, Monday to Friday (although in George's case, they made an exception because he would have to drive three hours one way).  The office idea was practically unheard of for anyone working in the comic book industry.  All in all, it was a good thing, and George saw this as a good opportunity for him.

In his contract, George did put in the infamous JLA/Avengers clause, which, if the project ever were to happen, that CrossGen would have to temporary release from his exclusive agreement so that George could draw the book. George originally drew 21 pages of the original failed 1981 JLA/Avengers project and had always wanted to draw this ultimate crossover.

Fortunately, or unfortunately for CrossGen, the new JLA/A crossover did happened.  George began drawing the new mini-series on the side in 2001 (the first issue came out September 2003), and, by 2004, CrossGen filed for bankruptcy.  While this thing may not have anything to do with the other, it would seem that by this time, George left his regular Solus title (issue #8 had Leonard Kirk filling in as artist), couldn't commit to drawing CrossGen's first crossover title The War (it would later be known as Negaton War), and definitely couldn't work the company crossover  Sojourn / Lady Death.

CrossGen sold MegaCon to Elizabeth Widera, and sold its characters and stories to Disney (who also owns Marvel Comics). While MegaCon is still going strong, the CrossGen revival from Disney has yet to see the light of day.

Archival related news and references below (note: original links do not work):

December 22, 2000 | Perez on CrossGen Move
From Comic Book Resources (thanks to Ilke)

"THIS IS WHERE I NEED TO GO NOW"
GEORGE PÉREZ ON CROSSGEN MOVE

Thursday December 21, 2000
By Beau Yarbrough

Note to would-be suitors of George Pérez: The full court press works with him. After all, that's how CrossGen Comics got him to go from handling the art on a few issues of "CrossGen Chronicles" to signing an exclusive contract with the company, as was announced earlier this week. (See CBR's Comic Brief for CrossGen's press release on the topic.)

"I was sort of overwhelmed by all the effort," Pérez told the Comic Wire on Wednesday. "I hope I'm worth it! ... My wife's comment was 'good god, they really want you!'"

CrossGen initially contacted the legendary artist before their first comic was even published. But it took one of his partners at the Gorilla imprint coming on board to convince him to give them a closer look.

"If they can win a skeptic like Mark [Waid] over, I should investigate this a little more," Pérez said. Waid joined CrossGen's staff as their third staff writer earlier this year, although he won't be fully exclusive with the company until his run writing DC Comics' "JLA" comes to an end.

Like Waid, Pérez doesn't exactly have to go begging for freelance assignments from the major companies. But CrossGen was offering something that they weren't.

"Despite the fact of being able to get a lot of work -- lord knows I have no problem as far as work being offered -- because of concerns of my health, as well as my age creeping up ... I have to start worrying about my future.

"The great thing about working with CrossGen is they do things like profit-sharing and being able to build up money for retirement."

The company is bending some of their rules for the artist: While he already lives in Florida, he won't be relocating from his home in Orlando to the company's studios outside Tampa, as is the norm. Pérez is a diabetic, and has special needs that made him reluctant to pick up stakes and move across the state -- much less commute two-and-a-half hours each way daily.

[ Read more Perez on CrossGen Move ]

December 20, 2000 | Perez Goes CrossGen-Exclusive
From Wizard (as previously mentioned - includes a big picture)
GEORGE PÉREZ GOES CROSSGEN-EXCLUSIVE
But allows himself ‘Avengers/JLA’ loophole
December 19, 2000
They’ve landed another one.

CrossGen Comics, the upstart Florida-based publisher that began publication in May, 2000, has added one of comics’ most revered talents to its ever-growing roster. Penciler George Pérez, late of Avengers, has agreed to join CrossGen on a permanent, exclusive basis.

Pérez had already agreed to pencil four issues of CrossGen Chronicles on a freelance basis. After the completion of these four issues, Chronicles will become a bimonthly title with Pérez penciling each issue.

[ Read full article at Wizard ]

December 20, 2000 | Perez Joins CrossGen
From Continuum (same information as previously mentioned, but there is a picture of Perez; probably at a Gorilla section at a recent convention appearance.)
PEREZ JOINS CROSSGEN
Artist George Perez has agreed to join CrossGen Comics on an exclusive basis, effective immediately.

Perez will join CrossGen and finish his originally planned four-issue run on CrossGen Chronicles. After that, the title will then become a bi-monthly that will only be penciled by Perez.

"CrossGen offers me a chance to do something other than the superhero stories I've worked on during my one quarter century in comics," Perez said. "After reading all the CrossGen books, I saw the unified universe and liked what I saw. Then, when I spoke to Mark Alessi, I liked his attitude and philosophy. Mark has a great vision and a means to pull it off. I can't see myself moving anywhere else. I'm here for the duration."

[ Read more Perez Joins CrossGen ]

December 19, 2000 | Fandom Exclusive of Crossgen #2
From Fandom
GEORGE PÉREZ EXCLUSIVE TO CROSSGEN
- Updated With Preview Images


Thanks to this posting from Apenation
From Ralf Haring
Date/Time: 12/18/2000 7:26 PM
Subject: Crossgen

Body: Hi, just saw an announcementat Newsarama that George would be working exclusively at Crossgen in the near future. While the article took pains to mention that "the only exception exception to Pérez`s exclusivity to CrossGen is the long-anticipated JLA/Avengers crossover" (if it ever came to fruition). However, nowhere in the article was his Gorilla work mentioned. I would expect that he would garner the same type of exception for that as Mark Waid did, but just wanted to be sure.

December 19, 2000 | Pérez Signs Exclusive with Crossgen
From Ilke Hincer
The following comes from comicbookresources.com (see also Crossgen):

George Pérez Signs Exclusive Agreement with Crossgen
Posted by Beau Yarbrough - 16:01 PST
Official press release

Comic Legend To Work As Full Time CrossGen Employee On Bi-Monthly Title

TAMPA, FL., December 18, 2000 - CrossGen has added one of the comic industry's most revered talents to its ever-growing roster. Penciler George Pérez has agreed to join CrossGen on a permanent, exclusive basis.

Beginning immediately, Pérez will join CrossGen and finish his highly anticipated four-issue run on CrossGen Chronicles. After the completion of these four issues, CrossGen Chronicles will then become a bi-monthly title that will only be penciled by George Pérez.

Said Pérez on joining CrossGen, "CrossGen offers me a chance to do something other than the superhero stories I've worked on during my one quarter century in comics. After reading all the CrossGen books, I saw the unified universe and liked what I saw. Then, when I spoke to Mark Alessi, I liked his attitude and philosophy. Mark has a great vision and a means to pull it off. I can't see myself moving anywhere else. I'm here for the duration."

Pérez will continue to work from his home in nearby Orlando, making regularly scheduled stops into the CrossGen office to meet with other members of his creative team. Because of his recently publicized health problems, CrossGen is relaxing its in-house policy for this unique situation.

"It's been quite a while since I've felt this wanted by a publisher," Pérez said. "CrossGen has gone out of its way to support my unique needs. I've never felt this much a part of an organization."

CrossGen's flexibility regarding Pérez was the right thing to do according to CrossGen Publisher Mark Alessi. "When one of comics greatest all-time stars wants to join your company on a permanent, exclusive basis, you do whatever is reasonable to accommodate them," Alessi said. "In this case, George's health became the paramount and overriding issue. There was no way we were going to turn him down because he couldn't come here daily to work. This is a health related exception that only very few could garner. George is definitely one of those few."

The only possible exception to Pérez's exclusivity to CrossGen is the long-awaited JLA/Avengers crossover. In the unlikely event that Marvel and DC can ever come to terms on the publication of this historic event, CrossGen will allow Pérez a temporary release from his exclusive agreement to draw this project.

"There's been talk of this project for 18 years," Pérez said. "The prospect of this crossover is the reason I've been reluctant to sign an exclusive agreement. I'm very grateful that CrossGen as comics fans, are allowing me the leave of absence I'll need should this finally come to fruition. If it never happens, I'll be perfectly content right here with CrossGen. I really enjoy the fantasy genre and feel it suits my style."

Again, Alessi believes allowing Pérez a temporary release for the JLA/Avengers crossover is the right thing to do. "This project is just too historic not to happen," Alessi said. "The fans want it, the retailers want it, heck, all of us here at CrossGen want it! So if it actually comes to be, we'd be more than happy to allow George the opportunity to do it. For comics' sake, let's just hope it happens."

The first George Pérez penciled CrossGen issue is CrossGen Chronicles #2, on sale February 21, 2001.

George Pérez will be joining the CrossGen staff at this year’s convention appearances. Look for them at MegaCon, Comic-Con International: San Diego and Wizard World Chicago.

CrossGeneration Comics is based just outside of Tampa, Florida. Since their initial launch on May 24, 2000, CrossGen Comics has set unprecedented sales records for a new start-up comics publisher by debuting their first six releases on the comic book industry distributor's Top 100 sales list. Since then they have grown into the comic industry's fifth largest publisher. Their unique and innovative approach to comic book publishing is sure to make them a company to watch out for well into the new millennium. The CrossGen Comics, The First, Mystic, Sigil, Scion, and Meridian are available now in comic book specialty stores everywhere, with a different one on sale each Wednesday. Their next monthly title, Crux, will be available starting in April 2001.

Source: CrossGen Comics

December 12, 2000 | Crossgen Chronicles #2 Advert
From Previews Vol. 10, #12 (Dec 00)

CROSSGEN CHRONICLES #2
Written by Ron Marz, penciled by George Perez, inked by Dennis Jensen.

George Perez comes to CrossGen. The all-time master of epic scope and detail pencils the first of his specials for CrossGen, a tale drawn from the past of Scion. Centuries ago, ancestors of Ethan and Bron led rival fleets against each other in a battle, and the outcome provides the basis for the annual tournament of ritual combat. History never looked so good as Perez produces a sweeping saga on a scale rarely seen in comics!

FC, 48 pages, $3.95, ships on Feb. 21.

October 28, 2000
From Comics Continuum

    CROSSGEN CHRONICLES #2
    Written by Ron Marz, penciled by George Perez, inked by Dennis Jensen.

    George Perez comes to CrossGen. The all-time master of epic scope and detail pencils the first of his specials for CrossGen, a tale drawn from the past of Scion. Centuries ago, ancestors of Ethan and Bron led rival fleets against each other in a battle, and the outcome provides the basis for the annual tournament of ritual combat.

    48 pages, $3.95, ships on Feb. 21.

October 3, 2000 | Future Projects
From George Perez (A recent email updating on various projects and clarifying SPAWN 100.)

...regular work (a five page story for TITANS #25-- pencilled and inked by me from a script by Marv Wolfman, six covers for a DC fifth-week event featuring the JLA, a 5-page preview story Kurt Busiek and I are doing for SECTION ZERO #6, the cover to SPAWN #101, and my regular work on CROSSGEN CHRONICLES and CRIMSON PLAGUE) and a backlog of private commissions, I am extremely swamped.

As I said I am drawing the cover of SPAWN 101, but that's it. I was originally asked about drawing a cover for Issue #100, but my schedule couldn't accommodate that.

...my convention appearances next year include, so far, MegaCon (Orlando, FL), Wizard World (Chicago, IL), Big Easy (New Orleans, LA) and Comicon International (San Diego, CA)

June 19, 2000 | CrossGen Expands Line
From Previews
6/19/00
CrossGen Expands Line

Due to the positive response to the characters featured in CrossGen Chronicles #1 (MAR001524E, $3.95), and demand for additional stories based on them, CrossGen has announced a change in the format of Chronicles and the addition of a fifth monthly title to its line.

The new monthly (which will be offered in the September Previews) will be titled The First, in reference to the god-like characters that will appear in its pages. Originally planned to appear only in the pages of Chronicles, these characters will now appear in their own monthly adventures. While Chronicles #1 introduced a few of the First, the new series will open wide the door to their world, starting in November with the debut issue. "These characters will scramble to investigate the riddle of the Sigil-Bearers, squabble, tryst, scheme, and battle their way toward dominance ... and that’s just part of the first issue!" said Barbara Kesel, who will write the series. The art team will consist of penciler Bart Sears (Violator, Blade, Turok) and inker Andy Smith (Uncanny X-Men, Green Lantern).

"I’ve worked for a lot of comic book companies," said Sears. "Always searching for something. Now I’ve finally found it – a home at CrossGen and a chance to draw the book I feel I was born to draw."

CrossGen Chronicles will become an umbrella title showcasing specials tied to the entire CrossGen Universe. The first four of these will be penciled by fan-favorite artist George Perez!

June 4, 2000 | Perez At Crossgen
From Comics Continuum
Friday, June 2, 2000
PEREZ AT CROSSGEN

George Perez talked to The Continuum about the projects he will be involved in after leaving Marvel Comics' Avengers.

"I will be penciling a series of four specials for CrossGen that will provide background stories for the regular monthly books," Perez said. "I'll be working on these for a year with the first book to be solicited sometime in the summer of 2001. The writers are CrossGen head writers Ron Marz and Barbara Kesel. Unlike most of the creators working for CrossGen, I am still a freelancer and will be working on projects elsewhere as well."

"I'm looking forward to working with George immensely," Marz told The Continuum. "It's a given that he's a master, but it's that much more exciting for me because George was one of the first artists whose work I recognized and sought out when I began reading comics. I wish I could go back and tell the 10-year-old me that I'm getting the opportunity to collaborate with George. Now I just have to come up with a story on a scale that's worthy of George's talents."

Perez will be also drawing the last of the Stan Lee/DC books, based on Crisis on Infinite Earths.

At Image, Perez continues his work on the Gorilla Comics title Crimson Plague and has drawn the cover for Spawn #100.

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