George Perez’s Corporate Clash over Superman: “They Made Me Not Care”

Prolific comic book creator George Pérez says his short-lived stint on Superman, relaunched as part of DC Comics’ New 52 in 2011, soured him on “corporate comics” and marked the first time in his decades-spanning career he “didn’t care.”

“I think the only time I had any bitterness or uncomfortable feelings working was more recently. Because the fact the industry has changed so much, and now it’s corporate comics. We’re sometimes being asked not to create comics, but to manufacture comics,” Pérez said at Niagra Falls Comic Con.

“And that bothered me during my run on Superman, the New 52 Superman. It was a book being done by committee, and I don’t think I really got a chance to really create as opposed to, you know, ‘follow the dictates of what we have in mind, put your name on it,’ and yet they couldn’t make up their minds what they wanted from day to day. So that started to sour me.”

Pulling double duty as writer and penciller for the book’s first three issues, Pérez stayed on as writer for another three issues. By its seventh issue, Pérez was off the book entirely.

“I would send in the script, and then they would do the editing and whatever changes and send it back to me, until finally I just said, ‘Here’s your script. However it’s printed, whatever the final product is, it’s your job. If the fans love it, fantastic, my name’s attached to it. If they don’t like it, I can’t help that, even though my name’s still attached to it,’” Pérez said.

“And that was, for me, the nadir of my career, because for the first time working in the industry, I didn’t care. They made me not care. And I don’t blame the people at DC for it — they’re following the dictates of Warner that now has a much more hands-on policy.”

Pérez only opened up about his struggles on the flagship title when attending Superman Celebration in 2012.

Pérez said at the time his frustrations stemmed from contradictions that happened mid-story, the result of meddling from the committee, and that he was not made aware a secretive Grant Morrison was relaunching Action Comics — a book set five years earlier. When Pérez inquired about the fates and relationships of major characters, he received no answers from DC.

“One of the things I refused to do, when it was all happening, I never talked about it in the press. And only after I had left the book was it made public, because I was at a Superman convention, somebody asked me directly, and I wasn’t going to deny or lie to them,” Pérez said.

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“But it was the fact that, OK, maybe the time it is now the best thing for me because... this is what they want to do, they can be successful at it, if I’m the one who’s uncomfortable, then I should be the one to leave. Not because they’re doing it wrong, it’s just I can’t play in that field anymore.”

In 2012, Pérez admitted he “couldn’t wait” to get off Superman. “It was not the experience I wanted it to be.”