Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Gushing, geeking out with George Perez, Marv Wolfman

CINCINNATI — The rumors are true. George Perez isn't just a legend in the comic book business; he's one of the sweetest men you'll ever meet.

Thumbs up for getting "face time" (literally) with a legend
— and one of my all-time favorite artists!!
George Perez was the one who initiated the thumbs-up gesture,
so naturally I joined him in the random craziness.
When speaking to a celebrity whose work has meant a lot to you, I find it's always appropriate to express my appreciation.

That's exactly what I did with legendary penciller George Perez at the Cincinnati Comic Expo this weekend. I told the incredibly personable comic-book artist how his run on the original AVENGERS series is one the best ever and how I was in the middle of obtaining all the issues of his 1998 to 2002 AVENGERS run with writer Kurt Busiek. (BTW, for you completists, Busiek wrote the following issues of the third volume: Nos. 1-15 and 19-56.)

"I've been blessed to work with a lot of great people — including this man," Perez said, motioning to writer Marv Wolfman, who was in the booth to Perez's right.

Later during the convention, I took a few minutes to speak to Wolfman, who is just as gracious as Perez although not nearly as personable.

I've always adored how Wolfman writes Nightwing/Dick Grayson — and told him so. He signed the front cover of NEW TEEN TITANS ANNUAL No. 2 — an issue he wrote and Perez drew.

Marv Wolfman.
Unfortunately, Perez's line was much too long for me to get his signature at that point; however, he was sweet enough to sign my convention program and take a couple pics with me.Back to Perez.I was the third person in line Friday during the so-called VIP time. So I had the honor of watching the master at work. The first guy in line paid $40 for Perez to draw a sketch of Batgirl.

Back to Perez.

I was the third person in line Friday during the so-called VIP time. So I had the honor of watching the master at work. The first guy in line paid $40 for Perez to draw a sketch of Batgirl.

Artist George Perez finishes the detailing on a Batgirl sketch. Amazingly, after doing the preliminary drawing in pencil, he used a black Sharpie on the rest.
But Perez wasn't phoning in this drawing. No way. No how.

First, Perez meticulously selected his drawing utensils. He outlined Batgirl's head and the rest of the drawing with a mechanical pencil. Then Perez drew the details with a black Sharpie. Let me repeat that so you get what I saw and what Perez did: He did most of the drawing with a black Sharpie — in other words, in permanent ink!
George Perez was incredibly gracious about my request to
have my picture taken with him.

To finish off the sketch, Perez added the outline of a skyscraper over Batgirl's shoulder and autographed it at the bottom. A fantastic drawing — all done in about five minutes!

The second guy in line had Perez sign multiple issues of AVENGERS and WORLD'S FINEST COMICS. He happily signed each and every one of them. Free of charge. And there had to be at least 12 comics in the pile!

Whe Perez got to FANTASTIC FOUR No. 194 (volume 1), he said: "The first issue I ever inked."

This is one of my favorite AVENGERS covers
by George Perez
One of the AVENGERS covers Perez autographed was issue 181. As seen here, this is an iconic cover in which all the superheroes who have ever been a member of The Avengers at that point (1979) are on the front cover surrounding the team's meeting table. I made certain I pointed out to Perez it's one of my favorite AVENGERS covers. He seemed to agree it's one of his also. Scoooore!

Remember how I said it's important to me to tell celebrities what their work has meant to me?

Well, I was in the middle of doing so with Perez when I realized I might be gushing. So I apologized.

Perez took it in stride with a big smile.

"If you can't gush here, where can you?," he said.

Oh and get this: The end of my literal face time with Perez was one for the ages.

As you can tell from the first picture, Perez had flashed a thumbs-up at the camera. Knowing a great photo-op when I see one, I joined him in the random craziness. Essentially we had an extended fist-bump as the convention volunteer took three pictures.

As I began to walk away, Perez "attacked" my thumb. Wrapping his thumb around mine, he exclaimed: "Thumb wrestling!"

So not only did I get to hang out with a living legend, I got to thumb-wrestle with him.

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