Thursday, January 12, 2012

George Perez Does JLA Right

An early and fabulous Marvel Comics' 'ersatz' version
(but still enjoyable) of DC's premiere group.
Englehart expanded on Thomas' "Squadron Supreme," a
doppelganger group of the Justice League,
beautifully rendered by a still-young Perez!

When George started doing JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA,
he was still in a fannish/cartoony period that was gelling.
Don't misunderstand; I LOVED his work, and his late-1970s/
early 1980s books filled me with excitement every time I
saw them. I may even 'prefer' some of the more
stylized comic style to the hyper-realism that developed.
But here he still had some consistency issues.
(Still, a 'bad' day for Perez is still a banner day for fans!)

George has such a deceptively simple, clean line style and
a real eye for characterization. He isn't just looking at
costumes and background (which he delights in
depicting with excruciation detail and design,)
but he gives history and introduction to his
characters through stance, expressions, and stature.
He's really a master.

But it doesn't stop there.
He does design work that lays out an entire
mythology within a few scant pages, or in a single
panel. His covers are bursting with dynamic struggle
and pathos. His post card series summed up entire
legacies. The economy of precision and detail.

Though Perez had an all-too brief run on JLA,
it was quite memorable.
He penciled two of the annual JLA/JSA crossovers,
 the origin of Red Tornado, the budding Zee/Barry romance,
and much more.

That era of the League was already a fan fave...
the Satellite-era League. It was a perfect combination
of characters in a perfect time in comics.
There were some superb stories being told from
some of the best in the craft.

Fan faves had a home.
You could still tell good, in-depth stories that
knew the difference between gravitas and depressing
deconstruction of a pass-time.

Yeah. Simpler times. Good times.

The Perez look on JLA gave that sense of being
larger than life, and yet realistic, all at the same time.
There was an added level of excitement to his work.
(No slight against some of the other greats, and certainly
not to one of my fave artists of all time, Mr. Dick Dillin,
the JLA artist mainstay prior to.)

It takes a special someone to not only deliver quality work
but be able to do it regularly and consistently....
especially when dealing with such a monster cast!

Not long after this run, on New Teen Titans,
Perez began developing a more finely detailed and
darker style. Still filled with a sense of fun,
but his JLA era work reflects a very particular
blend of all his best assets, for me.

And even though I love the fishnets, I also
loved Perez's more modern take on Zee.

Issue # 200 marked rather the end of an era.
Perez continued doing some covers that were still
stellar, but no more interiors. But the book started to
change, too. And this was the period that began the slow
lumbering crawl towards Crisis, and the first deathblow
to old school comics and fun.

But in homes, back issue bins, and now computers
across the world, the greatness of times past can still
be gushed over at any time.

Thanks for the gorgeous memories and legacy, George.
These books were the family and friends I didn't have
for a lot of years.


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