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Friday, November 28, 2003


ARLINGTON, Texas -- No one will ever accuse George Perez of taking shortcuts.

Do you like this week's cover of JLA/Avengers #3, with its hundreds of characters? It came at a cost -- physically -- for the artist.

"That's why I'm like this," Perez said, holding up his brace-covered right drawing hand last weekend at Wizard World Texas. "It took me three weeks to draw that cover and by the end, I was in utter pain."

The resulting tendinitis has pushed the series' fourth and final issue back a few weeks. But the crowd gathered last weekend for a question-and-answer session with Perez and writer Kurt Busiek didn't seem to mind a bit, cheering when Perez, "Hey, at least we got three issues out on time!"

In other higlights from the panel:

* Asked if he regretted that Mark Waid couldn't join him on the project, Busiek said that while he enjoys the work of Waid, he thought it was best if one writer was involved in the project. "With rare exception, the vision is purer that way," he said.

* Busiek said that although he couldn't have events that would impact the characters long term, he wanted the story to have meaning.

* DC will be publishing the collection of the series, mostly because at the time the book was announced, DC's trade paperback program was much stronger than Marvel's.

Pages from the original and aborted JLA/Avengers project from 20 years ago will likely be included. Perez said that 16 of the original pages have been tracked down and there are photocopies of other pages that can be used.

* Perez said next June will mark his 30th anniversary in comics.

"I love the fact that there are a wide number of people here who weren't even born when I started, and I think that's so cool," he said. "And there are people here old enough to me my dad.

"I've turned down animation and I've turned down advertising because this is simply what I love to do."

* Perez on the Captain America/Batman fight: "The Captain America versus Batman fight was one of the few fights that actually had some kind of resolution in the original JLA/Avengers, back in the eighties. But the challenge was, how do you draw a subtle feint? The script says, 'They barely move.' Oh, great! That's why I had Thor conjure up rain, so that I could show movement. I call it my Lethal Weapon sequence."

* Busiek on how the story is showing the differnce between the Marvel and DC universes: "I brought up the idea that the DC characters are all incredibly powerful guys who can move faster than their villains can think, and the Marvel characters are more tough, realistic scrappers. The Justice League tends to figure out solutions to the puzzle, to solve the crisis. The Avengers just beat the crap out of everybody. That's the difference between Gardner Fox and Jack Kirby."

* Perez said he has work lined up through mid-2005. Don't expect a sequel to JLA/Avengers, though. "I don't want to be chasing my own shadow," Perez said.

E-mail the Continuum at RobAlls@aol.com

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