In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, learn about a George Perez Year One miniseries that we missed out on getting due to Heroes Reborn.
Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and twenty-eighth installment where we examine three comic book legends and determine whether they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three legends.
George Perez almost wrote and drew an Avengers: Year One miniseries
After spending a decade at DC, George Perez made his triumphant return to Marvel in the 1990s with Infinity Gauntlet, while still doing Wonder Woman at DC.
After leaving that project, Perez most notably did work for Malibu Comics, both before and after Marvel purchased it. However, during that period, his return to Marvel also saw him do projects here and there for the publisher, like a cover for the Avengers Log in 1993 (as well as a classic 30th Anniversary poster that I used for the header for this post)…
(As an aside, even at the time I thought this, how annoying is it to see a classic artist like George Perez having to draw the costumes of that era for something like this? “Oh, we know Scarlet Witch is definitely going to be rocking that costume for longer than a year. Yessir, let’s immortalize that costume!”)
Perez was asked by Ralph Macchio in 1992 to do an Avengers graphic novel (presumably with the idea of having it come out in the Avengers 30th Anniversary year of 1993). Perez was hesitant as he had not been following the Avengers since he left the book in 1980, but Marvel’ then-Editor-in-Chief Tom DeFalco gave them an idea for the project, as he noted, “(Former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief) Tom DeFalco suggested I do a ‘retro’ story” which led Ralph and myself to come up with the beginnings of an Avengers ‘Year One’ story. Still, I needed a hook that would make it stand out from the rest.”
Perez found that hook by having the story be told from the perspective of the supporting cast of the Avengers (Happy Hogan and Pepper Potts for Iron Man, Jane Foster for Thor, etc.).
Perez recalled, “It was (the late Comics Buyer’s Guide editor) Don Thompson who made the comment, ‘Super-heroes are never as interesting as the people they affect.’ That’s what makes these modern gods so interesting – how people react to them. And, when I set out to write this story, I wondered how I would feel knowing someone with super-powers. So, through Jarvis, Jane, Pepper, and the rest – they were my proxies. Their first reactions to these heroes were similar to my reaction to these characters when I was introduced to them in the pages of Avengers and their own books. I also wanted to do what Kurt (Busiek) eventually did with Marvels, in that I wanted to show how people reacted when they first saw these heroes – that first palpable sense of wonder mixed in with a sense of duty, since the supporting cast was actually involved with the super-heroes. They were the hired help. In order for the super-heroes to be super, these characters had to take care of the mundane, everyday activities.”
While initially a graphic novel, as time passed (and Perez did other projects, like the legendary Future Imperfect prestige format miniseries), it eventually became a prestige format miniseries that was to be drawn by the great Angel Medina…
However, when it came time to do the project, Medina was then hired as the new regular artist on Incredible Hulk…
Remember Medina’s awesome Pulp Fiction homage cover?
Perez then recalled, “Having lost my penciller, I then asked Ralph, ‘Why don’t we get this guy by the name of George Perez to draw it?’ Because all of the time I wrote the story, I couldn’t help imagining what I was going to do with it visually.”
But then disaster struck (for the project, at least). Heroes Reborn was coming and obviously, a Year One miniseries was not going to be happening while the Avengers were being produced by Extreme Studios (and then Wildstorm Studios)…
Luckily, when that thing ended, Perez actually returned to the Avengers as the new regular artist on the relaunched series…
However, the project (which would have been called Avengers Assemble) was now dead in the water. Perez noted, “I had certain things planned with some of the characters’ backgrounds such as Iron Man that I can’t do now since Kurt Busiek wrote his book. And, I would never impose my opinions on other people’s stories. But, since he was also the writer of Avengers, and he and I agreed on how to depict specific characters, we were able to incorporate some of those ideas from Avengers Assemble into the series. But unfortunately, Avengers Assemble is a dead project, and that’s what it must stay.”
Be sure to check out Branden’s article for the full details of what Perez has planned with the plot. It sounds really cool, as it takes the Avengers all the way to the classic Avengers #16.
Check out some entertainment legends from Legends Revealed:
Check back soon for part 2 of this installment’s legends!
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