Late last year, legendary artist George Pérez revealed that he has Stage 3 Pancreatic Cancer, and that he is foregoing treatment in favor of spending his remaining days as fully as he can. Pérez was a founding member of The Hero Initiative’s board of directors, and now the non-profit organization dedicated to providing financial support to comic creators in need has announced that, in association with DC Comics and Marvel Comics, they will bring one of Pérez’s most iconic works, JLA/Avengers, back to print in a limited softcover edition.
The new Hero Initiative edition of JLA/Avengers will be a 288-page softcover volume, with a cover price of $29.99. It will be limited to 7,000 copies, and will be available to order through Diamond Comic Distributors, rush-solicited for release in March. Along with previously-released bonus material including introductions by Stan Lee and Julius Schwartz, the new edition will also include a brand-new afterward by Busiek.
On his Facebook page, Pérez commented on the new edition:
I am so incredibly overjoyed to hear that my fanboy dream is going to be available to a whole new generation of comic book fans who weren’t there when it was printed that many years ago. And it’s wonderful that it’s happening while I’m still alive to see it.
Whatever it was that allowed this reprint to be released I am very grateful and on behalf of the fans all I can say is well done DC and Marvel! And of course, I am so elated that all profits from this reprint are going to one of my favorite personal charities! -George
Originally published in 2003-04, the four-issue JLA/Avengers was written by Kurt Busiek, illustrated by Pérez, colored by Tom Smith, and lettered by Comicraft. The four-issue series saw the two publisher’s signature super-teams come together across time and space in a tale that was, somewhat fittingly, to date the last time DC and Marvel ever collaborated on a project.
The four-issue JLA/Avengers has been collected twice before, with a deluxe, slipcased hardcover edition released in 2005 and a softcover edition out in 2008. Both versions have been long out-of-print, though, and demand for the series to return has been rising since Pérez revealed his diagnosis. It’s good to see DC and Marvel putting their differences aside to bring this book back to benefit an artist as universally beloved as Pérez.
The new edition of JLA/Avengers will be available in stores in March. You can donate directly to The Hero Initiative here.
Why so few copies?
Why not a deluxe signed and numbered edition as well?
Probably going for $200+ on eBay by April. Why would DC and/or Marvel limit the print run like that? The eBay sellers won’t donate their profits to Hero Initiative, so it’s simply found money for scalpers.
With approx 3200 comic book stores, each of us are likely to get allocated to 3 or fewer copies.
I could sell 60, out of the gate, is the problem, so the book will end up being chased by speculators.
I doubt we will put any on sale, but will instead eBay the copies ourselves, then donate all of the proceeds to THI. We will see, once the allocation is announced.
Good idea, but suboptimal execution.
Don’t you think this involved constraints imposed by Marvel and DC? I still can’t believe even this much is happening.
Torsten, George already had to cancel a scheduled CGC at-home signing due to his health.
I’m kind of curious how many copies the original edition sold. Just going by the numbers on Comichron (ie North American direct market only), the first month (November 2008) it sold 6,653 copies, then a decreasing amount from the next three months, bringing the total to 8356 copies, before falling off the chart (then Top 300, usually capturing anything over 400 copies a month) and never appearing again. I assume it only had the one printing, which was gone after a few months? The only numbers for it on the Bookscan leaks from Hibbs I see are for 2009, where it sold 4867 copies.
So now, thanks to over a decade of willful negligence, it could sell significantly more out the gate, thanks to not being available during the years “Avengers” became a household name with three of the top ten grossing movies of all time, and the JLA… also having a movie? Not too surprising, but a shame. I’m sure the creators (both with publicly known health issues affecting their ability to create new work in that time) could have used the steady royalties over the last decade. Hopefully this will encourage the companies to reach a deal for a more widely available edition, as well as new editions of all the other crossovers for which there’s a demand (I’d love to get the Batman/Hulk book, and the two Batman/Spider-Man team-ups). Maybe permanently consign the profits for all the crossovers (after royalties to the individual creators) to the Hero Initiative.
I am glad this is happening but its execution leaves a lot to be desired. The print run will disappear into the hands of speculators, shore up the exorbitantly priced supply on the secondary market, and leave The Hero Initiative and interested fans alike out-of-luck. What’s more: a regular-sized softcover? Really?
In a perfect world, IDW or another quality publisher could reprint all the crossovers, take an operating profit on each item sold, and give the rest to the content owners, Basically a third-party licensing deal.
Very happy that this is being done out of respect for George Perez, and I’d love to see more of this for creators in need.
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