There’s no comic book company on the planet celebrating the history of comics better than IDW. From their oversized Artist Editions to their new Marvel Artist Select Series, the company is the master of collector-friendly deluxe collections. Last fall, IDW released their first IDW Marvel Artist Select Series title, highlighting the work of Sal Buscema on the Incredible Hulk. This time around, the latest artist to get the treatment is the legendary George Perez, whose various runs on the Avengers are highlighted.
When it comes to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, there are few artists more closely aligned with them than Perez. As he details in his exceptional interview with IDW CCO Chris Ryall, there was something about team books and the multiple characters that fill their ranks that simply spoke to the artists’ innate abilities, even when he was still young and honing his craft.
The Marvel Artist Select Series takes us through a variety of Perez’s work on the Avengers, beginning with his first take in #141. At the time, few artists were enamoured with team books – they were a lot of work, there were no royalties, and artists were paid the same whether they were working on a solo title or on one with multiple players. Perez leapt at the chance to take on the Avengers though, thus beginning one of those relationships that ultimately marry the artist’s name with the series in a way that few others have.
A personal highlight for me comes with the run of issues featured in the book from Volume 3 of the Avengers, the Heroes Return storyline that found Perez working with writer Kurt Busiek. Together the duo helped bring the team back from the relative failure of the Heroes Reborn series from the mid-1990s. Having Busiek and Perez together led to a run that many would compare favourably with the artist’s epic Teen Titans and Wonder Woman endeavours. The issues compiled in this Marvel Artist Select Series (#1-3, 10-13) simply pop off the page. They’ve never looked better, and I’d argue that, at least for his work on the Avengers, Perez has never been better. His mastery of multiple characters on the page is simply astounding, and as his talents grew, so did his ability to imbue each of those characters with their unique attributes. Kudos have to go out to inker Al Vey, who was the sympathetic partner that Perez finally had on this title to bring out the best in his art.
As usual, IDW houses these classic works between the most glorious covers. Limited edition and hand-signed by Perez himself, who also cherry-picked the stories enclosed, the Marvel Artist Select Series puts the talents of this artist if not in a whole new light, at the very least, in a gorgeous one that honours his legacy. Highly recommended for long time fans or newcomers who want to see a strong sampling of George Perez’s legendary Avengers achievements.
You can order IDW’s Marvel Artist Select Series: George Perez directly from IDW.