CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS
… The far-reaching scope of the project made it ideal
for the character-loving, detail-obsessed artist, and Pérez
proved up to the task, packing panel after panel, issue after
issue, with some of the most magnificent linework of his career.
“Thanks to Jose Garcia-Lopez, I tried to give Crisis
a little more,” he admits. “Jose followed me on
Titans, and when I saw his first issue, how incredibly great
an artist he is, I knew I had to kick butt. So when I worked
on Crisis, I put every bit of blood, sweat and tears into
those pages, adding details and using interesting panel design
and body languages.”
The workload was, on its own, substantial, but Pérez—fervent
in his desire to progress as an artist—took “substantial”
and turned it into “tremendous.”
“For me, the biggest test was when they told me they
only needed certain characters in a specific image,”
he says. “Then I asked myself, ‘How many characters
can I draw in the background here?’”
Though the format of the story may not have been ideally suited
to Pérez’s style—Crisis averaged 7-8 panels
per page, leaving few opportunities for big, “wow”
shots—the artist excelled.
“No one else could have done what George did,”
Wolfman exclaims. “His basic storytelling was so superior
to anyone’s at the time…no one else could have
come close to doing what he did.”
Since there were relatively few places within the issues for
Pérez to, as Wolfman says, “do what George does
best, which is draw big pictures of incredible stuff,”
the artist brought his “wow-able” abilities to
bear on Crisis’ covers.
Based on a request from Pérez’s wife, who felt
her husband was pushing himself too hard on the series, Wolfman
suggested his artist draw a simple cover for Crisis’
fifth issue, an uncomplicated image featuring only three faces
and two merging Earths.
The cover Pérez submitted did contain two merging Earths—along
with 96 faces. Once the artist got started, he simply couldn’t
stop drawing; if he saw sufficient open space, he added another
character’s head. He was having too much fun to stop.
“This was a once-in-a-lifetime project,” he says.
“I was having a hard time going to sleep because I didn’t
want to leave my drawing board.”
Because Pérez didn’t follow all of DC’s
individual titles, the sheer number of characters involved
in Crisis meant there was a larger learning curve on the project
than, say, Titans; an actuality that resulted in the need
to do reference work. A lot of reference work.
“It wore me out—it still takes time to draw that
many characters in that many locales in that many pages, but
I was having the time of my life,” he admits. “I
knew that if the DC Universe wasn’t going to be the
same again, this was going to be my one shot to draw some
characters I would never have an opportunity to draw again
afterwards. I got to draw the Metal Men. I got to draw Dolphin.
I snuck in the Secret Six—who even remembers the Secret
Six? I drew characters I had never heard of before.
“It was a lot of fun.”