Not too long ago, comic book creator George Perez, popular on the comic convention scene, said he would no longer attend shows in states that voted for Donald Trump. It caused considerable fuss and upset.
Recently Erin Manzo got to sit down with George Perez to talk about his Trump boycott, current projects, and influences for Bleeding Cool,
Kind and jovial, Perez was welcoming and fun to talk to. I started by noting that in the past, he's been very active in the convention scene. (Fans occasionally even cosplay as him, to his delight.) After the election, George said he would boycott the Trump states. I asked what he would tell his non-Trump-voting fans who happen to live in red states and would therefore have to miss out or travel? Perez explained that he has since realized he's committed to appearances through 2018, and therefore he had to choose to either renege on his commitments (which he doesn't plan to do) or launch a rather late boycott. Instead, he has cleverly come up with another option: At every appearance, he will have a sign explaining that proceeds from his sketches and signatures will benefit less than right wing charities, such as pro-LGBT organizations. He then forces the fan to make a decision. Either support a cause Perez is passionate about or abstain from getting that drawing or signature. "You want sketches? Contribute," says Perez.
Moving on, I asked what project he was most proud of. JLA/Avengers was his first answer, but after a second he added Teen Titans, saying that they saved DC, specifically noting Crisis on Infinite Earths. His eyes lit up as he said that, really though, his work on Wonder Woman is something he will always take pride in. He was given a rare chance to start fresh with an established character, and took that responsibility seriously. Through this work, Perez successfully set out to show that "a female character could work without being exploited."
When asked who his favorite character is (DC, Marvel, or otherwise), Perez rather adorably answered, "My wife, who's embodied my fantasies for thirty-five years." (Relationship goals, anyone?)
George has recently gone back to penciling. I wanted to know how he felt about that, and whether he missed inking and writing. It seems the change was out of necessity. Perez is diabetic, and his vision isn't what it used to be. While there are a few more details there, at his request, I'm refraining from sharing more until such time as he grants his permission.
I asked if he was into comics as a child, and Perez smiled and said "Yes! I learned English that way!" When I asked what most inspired him to work in comics, George listed Dick Sprang's Golden Age Batman run, as well as an English teacher to whom Gotham City Sirens is dedicated. As for his biggest writing inspiration, he credits Will Carrigan.
Who's his favorite Robin? Dick Grayson, of course.
And my final, vitally important question: Who is his favorite romantic partner for Batman? In his wisdom and benevolence, Perez answered "Catwoman," specifically the Julie Newmar incarnation. (Yes, I know my bias is showing.)
I thanked him for his time, and George was kind enough to sketch a Wonder Woman for me to take back to my daughter. After our discussion, that will surely be something we treasure for years to come. I look forward to seeing how his unique form of protest plays out. I think his approach is an intelligent one, and I'm curious to see people's reactions.