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George Perez -- Storyteller

If this were a monthly comic review, I'd be giving a grade to this magnficent volume, and to be honest, it wouldn't be fair. I don't think there's anything that Dynamite could have done that would give this book any less than the A I would give it. The body of work that George Perez has put out is so superlative, that even if this was a 200-page hardcover with just paste-ups of his past work, it would be fantastic. However, Christopher Lawrence and Dynamite have gone far beyond that, and chronicled and examined the different periods in Perez's career, the affect he's had on the industry and art, and talked about some of things we all know about from a different point of view. In short, Perez is a master, and this book a celebration of his mastery.

From the foreward in the opening by Kurt Busiek, to the end of the book where his extensive list of credits resides, you can't help but be drawn into George's story. My first exposure to him was through the pages of Wonder Woman, but it's easy to forget how many characters and teams he's worked on, created, or reimaged. Not only Wonder Woman, but also the Teen Titans, Crossgen, Ultraverse, Hulk, the FF, Crimson Plague, the Avengers, the JLA, and even more than you can count. In fact, thousands of readers when they view those characters in their minds, are seeing Perez's version of them without them even knowing it. He's been just that influential.

And what we get here is a treat for everyone, those who have been with Perez for decades, those who came in in the middle like me, or those who only know him for his 21st century work. It's all in there. Mixed in with the stories from professionals, fans, and his own memory are pictures of his work, in full-color form, in black and white pencil & ink form, and what looks like actual yellowing copies of the comics – as if you were holding them in your hand yourself. The book goes through what he views as his favorite works, including JLA/Avengers of course, but also some of the work he did for Sachs & Violence, Crimson Plague (which he says was a thank you to his fans) Teen Titans, War of the Gods, and of course, Wonder Woman.

Reading the book itself was a lot of fun indeed. George Perez is one of the truly great artists, and has spanned generations of comics fans, and keeps amazing all of us. Flipping through the index, you uncover things you never knew. Perez did Witchblade? Shi? GI Joe? When did all this happen? The answer, I think, is that it happened when we weren’t paying attention. Mr. Perez has had a Hall of Fame career, if there were such a thing in the comic industry, and this tome is one worthy of that career. Well written and loaded with art, it’s a book you’ll be able to open again and again, read a few pages at a time, and learn something new – or remember something old – for many reads in the future.

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