The TOP 13 Characters Drawn by GEORGE PEREZ — RANKED

GEORGE PEREZ: A TRIBUTE — A gallery of the master’s masterful depictions…

UPDATED 5/9/22: The great George Perez has died at the age of 67. This ran in April in celebration of Perez’s life. We re-present it here. Click here for our complete index of Perez features. — Dan


Over the years, George Perez worked on a multitude of characters, primarily for DC and Marvel, as an artist, writer, co-creator or co-plotter. In fact, just the work he put into the JLA/Avengers company crossover mini-series is phenomenal with the sheer volume of heroes and villains that was basically a running history of both teams from the early Silver Age to 2003-04. So out of the thousands of characters he touched with his pencil, who stands out as some of Perez’s best?


(And click here for the TOP 13 GEORGE PEREZ Costume Designs.)

13. Black Widow. Although I had encountered the Black Widow throughout the Bronze Age in the pages of Daredevil, The Avengers and The Champions, it wasn’t until George Perez tackled the character in 1983 that I really took notice of Natasha Romanoff. With writer Ralph Macchio (along with a multitude of inkers), Perez was the artist on a four-issue arc featuring the former Russian spy turned S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in the pages of Marvel Fanfare #10-13, a title that was a catch-all of one-shots, tryouts and pin-ups. Perez’s breathed new life into the Black Widow’s Emma Peel-inspired catsuit and showed how deadly the Widow’s sting could be. And although it was only a short run that went nowhere at the time, I think it proved what the character was capable of and paved the way for her bump up to star status in the modern Marvel Universe.

12. Changeling. When Wolfman and Perez rebooted the Teen Titans into the NEW Teen Titans in 1980, they took three of the old guard (Robin, Kid Flash and Wonder Girl) and teamed them with three brand-new heroes (Starfire, Cyborg and Raven). In the middle was Changeling, formerly Beast Boy of the Doom Patrol and Teen Titans West. Although I had known of Beast Boy, I always thought he was just a little brat who became animals with his usually angry, green face. Perez, um, changed all that, and the much friendlier Gar Logan now transformed into bright green animals of all shapes and sizes: birds, chimps, cheetahs. Whatever was necessary to get the job done or annoy the rest of the team, sometimes both. Changeling quickly became my favorite character on the team. All thanks to Perez, who’s artwork unlocked so much potential in this character.

11. Batman. George Perez never had a run as a monthly Batman artist, although the Caped Crusader was an occasional co-star in the 2007 Brave and the Bold revival that Perez launched with Mark Waid. But through the years he has worked on Batman as a member of the Justice League, as an Outsider (in a crossover with the New Teen Titans), as well as a memorable sequence as a guest artist in the star-studded pages of Batman #400. Perez has also done many covers and pinups featuring the Batman. Whether he’s rocking the blue or black long scalloped cape, Perez’ Batman is the ultimate Darknight Detective — strange and mysterious, a throwback to that of Adams or Aparo, without the cumbersome armor or accoutrements of the modern era. Foreboding and sinister with just a grit of his teeth, he’s not to be messed with. And it’s all believable, because Perez makes it so.

10. Green Lantern. The Gil Kane design for the Silver Age incarnation of Green Lantern is probably one of the greatest costume designs ever. And no one does it better than George Perez. His GL is sleek and stream-lined, just like the space age jets he pilots as Hal Jordan. On top of that, his magic ring that can conjure up anything he can think of is carte blanche for the amazing artwork of Perez. You get more than just a giant boxing glove when George is on board.

9. The Thing. In my early days of George Perez fandom, I christened him a “Master of Rubble.” And I’m not talking Barney or Betty. In my mind, there’s no one that draws rubble and debris quite like George Perez. And his version of Benjamin J. Grimm (first seen by me in Fantastic Four #184) is a living, walking, talking pile of rubble. While others often draw the Thing looking like he’s made up of orange bricks, Perez gives him a texture more of rocks and stones and pebbles. If there’s a signature member of Perez’s Fantastic Four, the Thing is it. Or to put it another way, he just rocks.

8. Captain America. George Perez’s Cap is about as much a super-soldier Boy Scout as you can get. A perfect physical specimen armed with an indestructible weapon. He’s the ultimate tactical team leader of the Avengers and, under Perez’s pencil, he just bleeds red… white and blue. Perez initially worked on Captain America when he was on The Avengers on and off from 1975-1980. He’d return to Cap and company with The Avengers (Vol. 3) in 1998, along with cross-over stints on Infinity Gauntlet (1991) and JLA/Avengers (2003-04). Whether he’s duking it out with the Red Skull or even Batman, you just know that a Perez Captain America is going to give it his all, right down to the last punch.

7. Supergirl. You’d think that George Perez’s greatest contribution to the legend of the Maid of Might might be her death in Crisis on Infinite Earths #7. And it probably IS her finest hour. But Perez has also done other work on the Girl of Steel that stands out. His Kara can be youthful and innocent but also an experienced fighter who doesn’t pull punches. If you can’t have Superman on your team, Perez’s Supergirl is just as good as her older cousin. She may be a knockout, but she’s not a knockoff.

6. Firestorm. Before Perez worked his magic on The New Teen Titans (with writer Marv Wolfman), George was already burning up the newsstands with his work on Firestorm (the backup feature in The Flash #289-293). At the same time, the Nuclear Man was also the newest member of the Justice League of America (which Perez was working on with his Firestorm collaborator — and Firestorm’s co-creator — Gerry Conway.) Perez’s Firestorm is like a kid in a candy store with the ability to basically transmute matter on a whim. Another chance for Perez’s adaptability as an artist to shine. Firestorm (along with his arch-nemesis Killer Frost) also played a crucial role in the early issues of Crisis on Infinite Earths, and Perez’s artwork once again shows much love for the character.

5. The Scarlet Witch. If I had to guess, I think that Wanda Maximoff is probably one of George Perez’s favorite Avengers. From her early swimsuit days to her later Romani look, the Scarlet Witch has benefited from being drawn by George Perez. His Wanda is a strong formidable woman that isn’t the Vision’s wife, Quicksilver’s sister or Magneto’s daughter. She’s the Scarlet-freakin’-Witch and she’s always one of the most powerful Avengers in any room that also has Norse gods, super-soldiers and techno-wizards in its midst.

4. Superman. George Perez had two shots on a monthly Superman title. The first (with Roger Stern as writer) was Action Comics #643-652 (and Annual #2) starting in 1989. His second run, albeit brief, was during the beginning days of The New 52 on Superman (Vol. 3) #1-6 as a writer/breakdown artist, before he abruptly left the book due to constant editorial interference and confusion over the new direction of the Man of Steel. But those two runs aside, it’s really Perez’s work on Superman elsewhere that really stands out. From his team role in the Justice League, to his guest appearances in The New Teen Titans or Wonder Woman, or his leadership throughout both personal and cosmic upheaval in Crisis on Infinite Earths, Perez’s Superman is the hero everyone else in the DCU looks up to and aspires to be. He can be majestic like an eagle or down to earth like a Kansas farm boy. Perez’s Superman just… shines.

3. The Beast. I was first introduced to the Beast in the pages of The Avengers #161 — with art by George Perez. In fact, it was quite some time before I put two and two together that this was the same Beast that was a founding member of the X-Men. To me, Hank McCoy has always been an Avenger first. He’s a better fit there than he is as an X-Man. And he HAS to be blue and furry and simian-like. NOT feral. And Perez is really the only artist to ever do him justice. Oh my stars and garters, indeed.

2. Robin (Dick Grayson. Before he became Nightwing, Dick Grayson really grew up as Robin thanks to Perez and writer Marv Wolfman in the pages of The New Teen Titans. No longer just Batman’s “Boy Wonder” sidekick, Robin proved himself to be just as much a tactical leader as his mentor. Under his guidance, the NTT battled demi-gods, assassins and cult leaders on a regular basis, which was a far cry from the early days of the Teen Titans when they were content to worry about surfboards, hot rods and hip lingo. And with a few minor tweaks, Perez actually made Robin’s costume cool again. At least until he traded it in for the disco suit.

1. Wonder Woman – Let’s be honest: If it wasn’t for George Perez rebooting the Amazing Amazon back in 1987 she probably wouldn’t be as popular as she is today. It was Perez who took that fabled clay and re-sculpted it into a masterpiece. Pre-Perez, Wonder Woman was often a floundering title with no direction. But once George got involved she developed a rich history and supporting cast that is still revered today. Wonder Woman became more than just an afterthought, she became the final important piece of the DC Trinity that she always should have been but wasn’t, standing toe to toe with Superman and Batman as a peer, not their secretary. Four years before he officially got the gig, Perez contributed  a pin-up to the Wonder Woman 300th Anniversary issue. Even back then, you could see the majesty he would bestow on Princess Diana and the rest of the Amazons of Paradise Island. He just needed the chance.

Wonder Woman #300


— The GEORGE PEREZ: A TRIBUTE Complete Index. Click here.

— The TOP 13 GEORGE PEREZ Costume Designs. Click here.

Anthony Durso, a regular 13th Dimension contributor, is the owner of Retropolis Tees and The Toyroom toy package customizing company. When George Perez announced in 2019 that he was retiring from comics, Anthony wrote a 13-part series ranking the artist’s greatest projects. That series, which was highly popular in its own right, provided the framework for the subsequent THE GEORGE PEREZ INTERVIEWS, in which the illustrator discussed each and every one of those very projects. We’re pleased to bring Anthony back for this special retrospective.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. That Batman cover is awesome! And his Wonder Woman and Beast are tops for me.

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  2. Looking at these art pieces, I can truly understand why Mr. Perez is well respected as a creator in the comics industry.

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  3. In my opinion George Perez did more to bring Wonder Woman to prominence than even the great H.G. Peter!!!!

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    • You don’t have the M 1aestro listed on here at all or Desthstroke The Terminator?

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  4. Although all of the above are sensational, Avengers #155, George Perez’s Namor is my personal favorite. Gerry Conway even put a note on the page telling George the he outdid himself! Anything George did was awesome!!!

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  5. Everything you said about George Perez’s Beast is exactly how I feel about the character and why that version of Hank is my favorite Marvel super-hero ever. He was never in better hands than with George Perez IMO. R.I.P.!

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  6. Love all of these. His Barry Allen Flash always worked for me – well, all incarnations of Flash – but that’s no doubt just my own little bias.

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