The Justice League and the Avengers are coming together again, to honor one of the best artists to ever draw them. In December, legendary comic artist George Pérez announced that he was dying. Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Pérez announced to the public in a heartfelt Facebook post that he was opting to spend the last months of his life with his family, friends, and fans rather than try painful cancer treatments.
Over the course of his five-decade career, George Pérez has drawn definitive comic book runs on seminal superheroes at both DC and Marvel like the Teen Titans, the Avengers, and Wonder Woman. With writer Marv Wolfman, Pérez also co-created the 1985 DC event series Crisis on Infinite Earths; recognized as the first major superhero “crossover” event, Crisis on Infinite Earths’ influence continues to reverberate across pop culture (and it’s hard to imagine any artist but Pérez being capable of drawing so many different characters and fitting them together so seamlessly).
But while Crisis on Infinite Earths brought together almost every character from DC’s own convoluted continuity, one of Pérez’s longtime passion projects was an inter-company crossover featuring the premiere superhero teams at both DC and Marvel: JLA/Avengers. Originally published from 2003-2004 and written by Kurt Busiek, JLA/Avengers featured fights between Superman and Thor or Batman and Captain America, before the two teams ultimately reconcile their differences to defeat a greater threat. The four-issue crossover has been out of print for years now but will be reprinted in a special limited run of 7000 issues this spring by the Hero Initiative in order to honor Pérez.
The Hero Initiative is an organization dedicated to helping struggling comic creators in need, since there is so little financial security in an industry heavily based on freelance work. Pérez is a founding member of the organization’s board of directors, and they are honoring him and his longtime support of the organization by reprinting one of his seminal works.
Again, only 7000 copies of this JLA/Avengers edition will be printed (with a retail price of $29.99), so try to secure one from participating comic book stores. It will be available on March 16. This collection also features 64 pages of companion content and will reprint introductions by original Avengers writer/editor Stan Lee and Justice League of America editor Julius Schwartz. A bonus in the Hero Initiative edition is a new afterword by Busiek.