Comic book artist George Pérez(1954-2022) is not as famous as James Whistler, Georgia O’Keefe, and Howard Pyle, but that may be about to change.

George was respected by fans and his colleagues for his artistic talent and loved by fandom for his jovial personality. Now, in 2024, he is being honored by his nation. George is now included in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

George is the first comic book artist to be honored in this way by the National Portrait Gallery. Several of DC staffer Steve Cook’s photographs of George are now on display, including this photo of George taken shortly before his death, depicting him as an angel.

{photo credit Steve Cook}

Between 1983 and 1987, George Pérez won several Comic Buyers Guide Fan Awards:

  • In 2022, Pérez was awarded the Inkwell Awards Stacey Aragon Special Recognition Award (SASRA) for his lifetime achievement in inking. In 1979 he won the Eagle Award for Best Continued Work for Avengers #167–168 and #170–177,
  • In 1980 Pérez on the Eagle Award for Best Comic book Cover for Avengers #185.
  • In 1983 he won an Inkpot Award.
  • In 1986 he won another Eagle Award for Favorite Artist (Penciller).
  • In 2017, he was inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame.

George worked for both Marvel and DC over the years and drew nearly every major superhero in existence. He co-created White Tiger, the first Puerto Rican superhero, with Bill Mantlo and co-created the New Teen Titans with Marv Wolfman.

Andrew Farago of ComicsBeat.com said : “As notable as Pérez is for his artistic contributions to the comic book medium, the love held for him by everyone in the comic community is unequaled. He has been universally known to all as one of the kindest, most generous people to ever grace the comic book industry. For 15 years, Pérez served as a founding board member and an enthusiastic fundraiser for The Hero Initiative, a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance for comic industry professionals in need. Through his appearances at comic book conventions worldwide, the tireless ambassador of comics personally raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide vital financial support to his friends and colleagues in their time of need. “

The National Portrait Gallery was authorized and founded by Congress in 1962 with the mission to acquire and display portraits of individuals who have made significant contributions to the history, development, and culture of the people of the United States. Today, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery continues to narrate the multi-faceted and ever-changing story of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts, and new media, the Portrait Gallery presents poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives form our national identity.

More of the portraits can be seen in the National Portrait Gallery’s archives

{photo credit Steve Cook}

My distinguished colleague, Andrew Farago of Comics.Beat.com called George “an American icon.” I cannot disagree with him.

Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress ”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.