iFeature | REMEMBERING ICONS
Without the heart and talent of STAN LEE and the vision and masterful art of GEORGE PÉREZ the world of comic books wouldn’t be what it is today. MARVEL and DC reminded us of their impact on the medium this past season.
They were giants. It’s hard to imagine a world without Stan Lee or George Pérez. For comic book fans, these two talents single-handedly remade and remolded the medium and elevated the 4-color pulp comic magazine into a relevant lightning rod of popular culture that has proven seismically revolutionary to entertainment in the new millennium. There isn’t a theatrical blockbuster, television series, or new comic-book event that doesn’t owe them a debt of gratitude for their contributions to the genre.
Remembering George Pérez
This past year sadly, George Pérez rested after a battle with cancer, but his work would have a significant impact on the cross-publishing event DC had planned that started in the summer of 2022 and would culminate with the reimagining of a new infinite multiverse. The 7-issue Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths was considered a sequel to the earth-shattering event that started it all. To mark the 50th anniversary of DC Comics, Marv Wolfman and Pérez collaborated on Crisis on Infinite Earth in an effort to condense and reestablish the publishing imprint's decades-long continuity.
The series remains a landmark moment in DC history and was in the last decade adapted to live-action in primetime. It was unique in that it starred [nearly] every character that ever appeared in DC Comics, and even paved the way for some brand-new stars. Still, it is likely no other artist could have effortlessly handled a cast of hundreds and made every panel of the 12-issue maxi-series a work of art. Pérez would move next into his best-selling run on Wonder Woman perfectly establishing the Amazing Amazon as the third part of the inspiring trinity of tentpole heroes, including Superman and Batman.
Pérez's career is marked with major highlights that include fan-favorite runs on Justice League of America and The Mighty Avengers. The artist was also the perfect fit to bring these two branches of the planet’s most powerful heroes together for the epic Marvel/DC event that bridged these two universes. Among his most beloved work is his co-creating the return of The New Teen Titans with his long-time friend and collaborator Marv Wolfman. The pair would make the book the top-selling title in DC and even inspired the adaptation to the screen, Titans on HBO Max, now in its successful fourth season.
Stan Lee on his 100th
Stan Lee’s gift as a writer/creator along with Jack “The King” Kirby’s magnificent art led to the creation of the modern era’s most unique super-powered characters, that crossed from rainbow bridges of Norse mythology to the concrete jungles of New York City boroughs and even at times inspired by real-life science, for the 60’s unrivaled Marvel Age. Though many of these new heroes resonated with readers the most because at their core, they all had human flaws and insecurities but rose to become legendary! Stan Lee would have turned 100 this past year.
Marvel recently returned to the popular reprint “Marvel Tales” format with a specially-priced square bound issue entitled ORIGINS of Marvel Comics #1 reprinting four of the most profoundly essential books from Stan Lee that reignited audience interest in comics and launched the modern Marvel Age. The reprinted stories featured in the issue include Fantastic Four #1 (1961), Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962) introducing the world to Spider-Man, X-Men #1 (1963), and Avengers #1 (1963), the book that assembled Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Thor, Ant-Man, The Hulk and Iron Man in one book. These classic masterful works also present Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko as titans in the industry.
In the years that followed, Lee would continue to expand on his characters giving us some of the most memorable villains like Doctor Doom and Spider-Man’s Sinister Six, while growing the world to encompass heroes from across every continent including the defender of Wakanda, the Black Panther and even from beyond the stars like the star-faring Silver Surfer herald of the force of nature known as Galactus. Lee’s imagination appeared limitless and without Stan “The Man” Lee, Marvel wouldn’t be what it is today!
IN 2001, Lee was gifted (or rather, his readership) with the opportunity in his career to reimagine the major characters in the DC pantheon. Recently, DC greats paid homage by revisiting Stan Lee’s reimagining of Batman, Superman, Wonder Women, and others in the special edition one-shat Tales from Earth-6: A Celebration of Stan Lee forever immortalizing the creator's vision into the DC infinite multiverse. The issue also includes “Who’s Who” style profiles of Stan Lee’s creations, further cementing them into DC continuity!
A documentary about the life of Stan Lee is currently in the works.
With comic-book fandom achieved mainstream success in this modern era that includes multi-media avenues of endless opportunities for fans to dive in and enjoy their favorites stories from the past, and present, and even in some cases get a glimpse of what’s to come, if not for the talent, heart and endless creativity of these two pioneers, superheroes wouldn’t be what they are today! Stan Lee and George Pérez have inspired generations of enthusiasts and will continue to inspire legions of devotees who undoubtedly will pick up a story from one of these greats, and allow their legacy to continue.
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