American comic book artist/writer (1954-2022). He was born in the South Bronx. He claimed that he's never had any formal art training -- as a child he practiced drawing comic book characters on his family's dirty clothes hamper, and in high school, the only art class let students draw as much as they wanted but didn't actually teach anything.
After high school, Perez worked as a bank teller, but attended numerous comic book conventions to show off his portfolio. He eventually got work doing fill-in jobs on a number of different Marvel comics, including "Deathlok" and "Man-Wolf" -- the writers of those books, in fact, liked his work enough to get him promoted to the regular penciller on both series. Perez' later work on Marvel books like "The Fantastic Four," "The Avengers," and "The Inhumans" helped establish him as a primo artist for team books and also helped him crossover to DC Comics.
At DC, he drew the Justice League and co-created (with writer Marv Wolfman) the colossally-successful "New Teen Titans," which updated the old Teen Titans series of the 1960s with a splash of sex and teen angst (which had already helped turn the X-Men into Marvel's biggest-selling book of the 1980s). Perez stuck with the Titans for four years -- after that, Perez and Wolfman took on an even more important project: the apocalyptic "Crisis on Infinite Earths," which allowed Perez to draw almost every major character in the DC Universe and, again, played to his ability to jam a colossal amount of detail (and a colossal number of characters) into each panel.
After "Crisis," Perez worked on the "Wonder Woman" relaunch for over five years, helping reinvent the character for the Post-Crisis world (less secretarial duties at JLA meetings, more ass-kicking, way better hair). In addition to artwork, Perez also took over plotting and scripting chores on the series.
Perez next moved back to Marvel to work on "The Infinity Gauntlet" and the "Future Imperfect" series for the Hulk, then started working on a number of series for independent and smaller-company comics, including "Sachs and Violens," "UltraForce," and "I-Bots." He also inked several comics, including an adaptation of "Jurassic Park" with comics legend Gil Kane and a new version of the Titans with Dan Jurgens.
In the late '90s, Perez relaunched "The Avengers" with writer Kurt Busiek (the early issues featured every character who had ever been a member of the Avengers, once again allowing Perez the opportunity to draw hordes of superheroes). He drew the epic "JLA/Avengers" miniseries in 2004 and, in the process of drawing the cover of the third issue, gave himself tendonitis from the strain of drawing every single character who'd ever been a member of the two teams.
Perez also wrote and drew a creator-owned series called "Crimson Plague" in which the entire cast was made up of real people -- you could send in your name and a photo, and Perez would add you into the comic. Of course, since the main character of "Crimson Plague" had lethally poisonous blood and released a supervirus every time she had her period, there was a good chance that your character was going to die horribly.
In 2006, Perez returned to working at DC, drawing most of the first year of "The Brave and the Bold." He also worked on "Infinite Crisis" and later "Final Crisis," giving him the chance to work on all three parts of the so-called Crisis trilogy. When DC relaunched their comics as the ill-regarded "New 52" in 2011, Perez was put in charge of the new "Superman" series -- this time as the writer, not the artist, though he provided cover art and breakdowns of interior art. He only stayed on board for six issues, citing serious problems with editorial meddling. In 2014, he wrote and drew his own creator-owned sci-fi/superhero series called "Sirens" for BOOM! Studios.
Perez had been diabetic for years and had surgery for diabetic retinopathy. He had a heart attack in 2017 while traveling to a convention and was fitted with a coronary stent. He announced his official retirement from comics work in early 2019, citing his age, health problems, and vision difficulties. While many were sad to lose him as a comics artist, most also felt he deserved a happy retirement after almost 50 years of creating great art in some of the most famous comics on the planet.
In December 2021, Perez revealed that he had been diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer and had decided not to undergo treatment to delay the end. The next six months were filled with tributes and remembrances from comics publishers, comics creators, and comics fans, with many sending cards, well wishes over social media, or even paying visits to him to tell him what his work had meant to them over the years, making him one of the very fortunate people in the world who pass away knowing exactly how much he was loved. Perez died on May 6, 2022 -- ironically, the day before Free Comic Book Day.