Legendary creator George Perez made his way to the world famous floating CBR Tiki Room at Comic-Con International 2013 to discuss a wide range of topics from his artistic history and career trajectory to what it feels like to see his creations realized in another medium. Perez spoke with CBR executive producer Jonah Weiland about why he thinks he’s been able to keep his career going and success flu for nearly 40 years, why enthusiasm can be a creators best friend, his love of cosplayers, his work’s reception as being “photo-real,” what he’s looking for from his signing of an exclusive contract with BOOM! Studios and how it feels to see the Teen Titans, which he co-created with Marv Wolfman, given new life in animation.
On his career trajectory and why he’s been able to sustain his career for nearly 40 years: For me, it’s just like, I have fun. I love to tell stories — where it be my own or someone else’s that I’m trying to visualize — that’s what I do. I’ve been enjoying the storytelling aspects of comics since I was a child. I mean, I learned to read English because of comics. It’s something that I seem to have been made to do.
On how he approaches his style: For whatever reason, my style — even though some people consider it “old school” — has an audience. I think part of that is because of my enthusiasm in doing that. It’s not just a question of drawing the way that I draw, but that the people can tell that I love drawing the way that I draw. … A lot of artists of my age group, or older — or even sometimes younger — sometimes bemoan the fact that books are not selling as well as they used to. They blame it on the fans or blame it on the audience. Sometimes I think we have to blame ourselves. If we’re not showing that we love what we do, how can we expect other people to feel that enthusiasm and pick up our work. I think people realize, I love what I do.
On his artwork on “Teen Titans” and “Crisis on Infinite Earths” being considered photo-realistic at the time: I never tried to be photo-realistic or else I’d be a photographer and not an artist. … I’m not a doctor, I’m not an anatomist, my anatomy is stylized and facial features are idealized. Yes, I have used photo models and the like — usually for faces, never for the bodies, because of the fact that the human body can only move up to a certain point and what’s key in doing bigger than life comic book art is exaggeration. You can’t be bound to it. Some people can do it, I’ve tried to find that middle ground. It is cartoony in its way, and it has a sense of realism, but it was never meant to be realistic.
On his reasons for signing an exclusive with BOOM! Studios after 8 years at DC Comics : I just want to be able to create. I want to have something that looks like it’s something that George Perez did and only George Perez could do it as opposed to George Perez is just doing it because he was hired by this company and they put my name on it. … I needed to feel like I could sit down with an editor and bounce ideas and see that glint in the eyes, from either him or me, “Oh my gosh, that’s an idea that I’d just love to put down on paper!” As opposed to, you know, “How can we do something that’ll help promote the next movie we’re gonna do.”
NOTE: CBR is aware of the following video’s focus problem and would like like to apologize to our viewers and Mr. Perez for the issue.