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It’s May 2022 and I’m about to go set up my table at the comic store to greet comic fans and spend a wonderful day amongst other artists. I love FCBD, you get the chance to meet other artists and share your work with fun wonderful people. And did I mention you also get FREE comics? Days like these I remember why I love what I do. To create worlds and characters capable of doing amazing and wonderful things. I get to see kids in awe when they see me draw something on a piece of paper. It’s like they’re watching real magic happening before them.
Growing up in PR finding comics wasn’t easy at first. I would grab whatever comic I could find at our local pharmacy. We lived in small island in the Caribbean and comic stores weren’t a thing at the time. As time went by I became a more serious collector. I wanted to know the name of the artists, the writers, what other work they’ve done before. So naturally I started to learn more about the artists and writers. I started to wonder if I could do this, is it possible for this kid from PR to do comics?
Then one day a friend gave me a Superman book. My mind was blown when the credits said George Perez listed as artist. I didn’t know he was puertorrican I only new he had the same name as one of my classmates. It meant that someone like me could do this. I could do this!
It sparked something in me so I started to copy comic panels to learn how to draw. I tried as best as I could to make these drawings as close to the original as possible. At the time there were like 5 comic readers in my school, we would talk for hours about comics and ideas for characters. We wanted to create wonderful worlds and astonishing characters.
It is 2015 and I just finish drawing my first full comic book, written by one of my friends from school. we finally did it, we finished a full comic. That same year I married Freya, we had 3 ceremonies in different occasions. One in PR for my close friends and family, one in Atlanta, at Dragon Con for her closest friends and the oficial ceremony, a private gathering for us.
Dragon Con 2015 was my first time going to convention outside of Puerto Rico. If you’ve never been to DC let me tell you, it can be overwhelming at first. We had just moved from PR and I had not started to work yet, so things were a bit tight and there was a possibility we wouldn’t be able to make it. One day Freya says ”we have our tickets and a hotel room”. I asked her about it and she told me her ”Uncle” had offered to help us.
We get to the venue and get our passes, it turns out her ”Uncle” was George Perez! She had previously mentioned that she knew him and that she referred to him as Uncle. I was so excited we were going to this convention that when she said uncle it didn’t register who she was talking about. We were guests of George Perez!
I was about to meet one of my heroes! We found him in the middle of taking a group picture with all of the Wonder Woman cosplayers. Taking pictures with cosplayers and fans was something he loved doing. He saw us and without hesitating he gave me a kiss and a hug and right there, that moment I new why they called him Uncle George. He talked to me as if he had known me for years, I knew who he was, but I’m no one, why was he being so cool and nice? It turns out he was everything they told me he was: caring, loving, hugger, fun and easy to talk to. Someone that took the time to listen and talk to you, and here I am in front of him and he is treating me like family.
That weekend we held a flash wedding ceremony in the Marriott hotel surrounded by a shit ton of people I have no idea who they were. As I’m there waiting for Freya to arrive he shows up, “I wouldn’t miss this for the world” he said. Turns out he left a dinner a bit earlier so he could make it to the ceremony. We talked a little bit and I asked him ”would you do me the honor of holding the rings for us” to which he said ”yes, it would be an honor”.
We met a few more times after that and always he would treat me like family. Like an uncle you get to see in family reunions, but he’s the one you’re looking forward to seeing. Always with a smile, he took the time to engage with every single fan that would stand in front of him. I enjoyed seeing him at a table sketching and talking to his fans. Smiling, taking pictures and telling stories.
Before I met him, he had already helped shaped the artist I am. It’s amazing how meeting him in real life helped shape me even more. A generous, loving person the type that will give you hope just by being close to him. I got the chance of a lifetime and I am grateful that I got to meet him.
It’s Dec 2021 and I’m at HolMat having diner with with George and some of his closest friends. We talked about puertorrican food and other things. It was a great day, one I will treasure for ever.
In these past few months we saw tributes and articles celebrating this man in life. Hearing many good stories about him and how he positively touched so many peoples life through his words, work and actions.
It’s FCBD May 2022, I’m about to set up my table and greet comic fans at a local comic store. I’m getting a message with the news of his passing. After a few minutes to process I went on to celebrate Free Comic Book Day thinking of how fortunate I am to have met this man.
Thank you George, today I am a better artist, a better husband, a better friend… a better human being because of you. I count myself lucky to have existed in the same timeline as you.
Below is a video I made for him a few months ago.