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Comic book legend George Pérez reveals a heart-wrenching terminal illness but is in good spirits

George Pérez photograph by Luigi Novi used under Creative Commons license
George Pérez photograph by Luigi Novi used under Creative Commons license (Image credit: © Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons)

Legendary comic artist George Pérez has been diagnosed with terminal Stage 3 Pancreatic Cancer, as disclosed in a post on his public Facebook page.

"On November 29th I received confirmation that, after undergoing surgery for a blockage in my liver, I have Stage 3 Pancreatic Cancer," reads Pérez's statement. "It is surgically inoperable and my estimated life expectancy is between 6 months to a year."

Pérez goes on to state that he plans to spend his remaining time with friends and family, and is hoping to organize a final signing event for his numerous fans.

Pérez got his start in the industry in the early '70s at Marvel Comics, penciling back up stories in titles such as Astonishing Tales and Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu, in which he co-created Puerto Rican superhero White Tiger alongside writer Bill Mantlo, to celebrate his own heritage.

He quickly moved on to become the regular artist of Avengers for over 20 issues, co-creating the Taskmaster and drawing part of the 'Korvac Saga' story, one of Pérez's first major storylines. 

JLA/Avengers excerpt (Image credit: DC / Marvel Comics)

Following stints at Marvel on Fantastic Four and Inhumans, Pérez moved to DC where he took on penciling duties for Justice League of America after the death of longtime JLA artist Dick Dillin. 

From there, Pérez became the artist on New Teen Titans, revamping the teen team alongside writer Marv Wolfman to make it one of the most popular comics of its era. In his run on Teen Titans, Pérez designed the first Nightwing costume, perhaps the most famous of the eccentric, hyper-detailed costume designs he became known for in his career. 

Following New Teen Titans, Pérez cemented his reputation as a go-to artist for high-profile superhero event stores as the lead artist on DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths, where he developed his penchant for massive group shots featuring dozens and dozens of highly-detailed, intricately rendered characters and dynamic layouts.

Following Crisis on Infinite Earths, Pérez revamped Wonder Woman with a new origin and a new style, elevating back to a fan-favorite character after several years of downturn, and bringing her back to her roots in Greek mythology.

In the early '90s, Pérez returned to Marvel Comics for another major crossover event as the lead artist on the story Infinity Gauntlet. For a few years, Pérez took selective projects, including Peter David's Hulk: Future Imperfect in which he co-created Maestro, the evil future version of the Hulk. But in the late '90s, Pérez returned to the spotlight in a big way as the artist of the 'Heroes Return' era Avengers relaunch alongside writer Kurt Busiek.

Busiek and Pérez returned the Avengers to a more classic status quo following the controversial 'Heroes Reborn' relaunch, elevating the title to one of Marvel's flagship books for a years-long partnership.

Pérez's time on Avengers was capped off with the fulfillment of a dream that had been brewing for the artist since the early '80s, with the publication of Avengers vs. JLA alongside his Avengers creative partner Busiek. Perhaps the best, most definitive story of all the official Marvel/DC crossovers over the years, Avengers vs. JLA is a crowning achievement in Pérez's superhero career.

Though he continued taking on new projects after Avengers vs. JLA, including his creator-owned Crimson Plague and Sirens titles, Pérez announced his retirement from comic books in  2019, citing his health as the main factor in his decision.

Pérez's statement about his diagnosis invites fans to reach out to him via Facebook and promises to return as many messages as he is able.

"I just want to be able to say goodbye with smiles as well as tears," Pérez states.

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)