I’ve put off writing this, because I just couldn’t bear the thought of my old friend George Perez’s diagnosis of stage 3 pancreatic cancer. That changed today with George’s statement released on BLEEDING COOL. 

George showed true grace under fire in his message to his family, friends and fans as he spoke of his plans and preparations for the brief time he has left. There’s no trace of self-pity in any of it, which is about what you’d expect from George if you ever had the pleasure of meeting him.

I first met George at a small convention in Atlanta in May of 1982, the weekend STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK opened. The organizers sent people to purchase tickets and stand the line to hold places for the guests so we could attend the first showing. George was as excited as a little kid as he bowled over the crowd and settled into a seat in the exact center of the theater. You could hear him cheer when the film started and at every climactic point after that. That kind of joy shows in everything George does.

After a full day of signing and drawing for fans, George settled in for serious work. I watched in amazement as he began penciling pages for THE NEW TEEN TITANS without any preliminary sketching or block-in, as if he saw the image in his mind and projected it onto the paper, then simply traced what he saw. He started with a head, then built a figure and another… and another… and another until he had a panel full of action. Every line was put down with confidence and surety. I don’t think he owns an eraser.

Oh, and he did it lying on his back, like Michelangelo. Appropriate. 

That same confidence and directness shows through today as he prepares for the next step in his journey. He outlined plans for his final appearances and beyond. He knows what lies ahead and he faces it with courage and grace that I admire, determined to live his life to the fullest. There’s a lesson in this for all of us.  

After all, life is drawing without an eraser.


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