After retiring from producing comics three years ago due to failing vision, George Pérez broke our hearts again today. He has Stage 3 pancreatic cancer, and has chosen not to seek treatment for a prognosis that still gives him at most a year to live. The venerable artist instead wishes to live his remaining days in peace with friends and family, though in typical fashion — he always went above and beyond for fans — he plans one last signing session, though he can no longer draw and is refunding his remaining commissions.
From his Facebook page:
To all my fans, friends and extended family,
It’s rather hard to believe that it’s been almost three years since I formally announced my retirement from producing comics due to my failing vision and other infirmities brought on primarily by my diabetes. At the time I was flattered and humbled by the number of tributes and testimonials given me by my fans and peers. The kind words spoken on those occasions were so heartwarming that I used to quip that “the only thing missing from those events was me lying in a box.”
It was amusing at the time, I thought.
Now, not so much. On November 29th I received confirmation that, after undergoing surgery for a blockage in my liver, I have Stage 3 Pancreatic Cancer. It is surgically inoperable and my estimated life expectancy is between 6 months to a year. I have been given the option of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, but after weighing all the variables and assessing just how much of my remaining days would be eaten up by doctor visits, treatments, hospital stays and dealing with the often stressful and frustrating bureaucracy of the medical system, I’ve opted to just let nature take its course and I will enjoy whatever time I have left as fully as possible with my beautiful wife of over 40 years, my family, friends and my fans.
Since I received my diagnosis and prognosis, those in my inner circle have given me so much love, support and help, both practical and emotional. They’ve given me peace.
There will be some business matters to take care of before I go. I am already arranging with my art agent to refund the money paid for sketches that I can no longer finish. And, since, despite only having one working eye, I can still sign my name, I hope to coordinate one last mass book signing to help make my passing a bit easier. I also hope that I will be able to make one last public appearance wherein I can be photographed with as many of my fans as possible, with the proviso that I get to hug each and every one of them. I just want to be able to say goodbye with smiles as well as tears.
I know that many of you will have questions to ask or comments to make, and rather than fueling the fires of speculation and well-meaning but potentially harmful miscommunication, I will be returning to the arena of social media by starting a new Facebook account where fans and friends can communicate with me or my designated rep directly for updates and clarification.
Please search for @TheGeorgePerez on Facebook if you’d like to join the page to receive updates. For media and press inquiries, please use the contact information on the page as well. Please respect the privacy of my wife and family at this time and use the Facebook page rather than reaching out through other channels.
I may not be able to respond as quickly as I would like since I will be endeavoring to get as much outside pleasure as I can in the time allotted me, but I will do my best. Kind words would also be greatly appreciated. More details to follow once it’s up and running.
Well, that’s it for now. This is not a message I enjoyed writing, especially during the Holiday Season, but, oddly enough, I’m feeling the Christmas spirit more now than I have in many years. Maybe it’s because it will likely be my last. Or maybe because I am enveloped in the loving arms of so many who love me as much as I love them. It’s quite uplifting to be told that you’ve led a good life, that you’ve brought joy to so many lives and that you’ll be leaving this world a better place because you were part of it. To paraphrase Lou Gehrig: “Some people may think I got a bad break, but today, I feel like the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”
Take care of yourselves—and thank you.
December 7th, 2021
We owe George Pérez for so many important comics moments in the past 40 years. With Marv Wolfman, he co-created The New Teen Titans, living on in popular culture and HBO Max as both Titans and Teen Titans GO! Only Pérez (after Jack Kirby) had the stamina, the grit, and the crazy to draw the company-wide crossover that did truly change comics forever with Crisis on Infinite Earths. And he followed that by rethinking Wonder Woman — both Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot owe much to that take. Then he gave us runs on Justice League and Avengers, even (finally) getting to draw the JLA/Avengers crossover. There were stops at other publishers along the way, including the wonderful madness that was CrossGen.
On a more personal note, I lost my mother a year ago to pancreatic cancer, so this hits me particularly hard. God bless you, Mr. Pérez. You may never read this, but your work gave me respite in troubled times, and inspiration in better ones.