Thursday, May 16, 2024


Just heard that artist Don Perlin has passed away at the age of 94.

When I started working with him on Defenders in 1980, Don had been in the business for decades—he started in the late 1940s—but he never let the difference in our age or experience come between us: never talked down to me, never pulled rank. In fact, Don was such an enthusiastic collaborator, so bubbling with creative energy, that it sometimes seemed he was the wide-eyed new recruit, not me. We’d talk on the phone regularly and soon became friends: two kids from Brooklyn, separated by decades, but united by a love of comic books. If you’re working on a monthly series, you hope for an artist who’s a skilled visual storyteller. Don was certainly that—but he was also a warm, genuine human being.

Heartfelt condolences to Don's family and friends.


  1. I love that you used that image to start your tribute, because it is burned into my brain.

    As I have brought up on this website before, despite already having read and loved Kraven's LAst hunt, as well as Spectacular Spider-MAn #200...which I consider a just about perfect comic... it was your opening Defenders run that made me actually seek out the Dematteis name on books.

    I can still remember quite a few images from that story. The Angels (that turned out to be demons" coming from the sky to visit Corey's cult. Corey in complete disarray when she realized the truth. The cracked mirror version of citrusville. The Glam rock musician Ghost Rider was roadying for standing before a screaming crowd.

    And of course the beaten and defeated sunshine in his ramshackle apartment.

    I won't lie, Perlin was a name I saw and instantly connected with enjoyed Defenders stories, but might have trouble specifically remembering where his run started and ended. But Goddamn, those images are stuck in my mind years later. And I was reading them some 20 years after they came out.

    He is also at least partially responsible for ALL of your success, because as we all know the creation of Sunshine, and the unprecedented Sunshine mania that never cooled is both what has been getting you work all these years AND keeping Marvel afloat as they sink good money after bad into Spider-whomever and the X-whosits and Captain some country and the incredible Huh?


    1. Glad you have such great memories of Don's work, Jack. He was an excellent artist and a good man. God bless him.

      (As for "Sunshine": I shouldn't tell you this, but he'll be leading the Avengers in the next round of live-action movies. But keep it to yourself.)

    2. Hopefully Sunshine can boost the sale of those also-rans.

      I did not know how old Mr. Pelin was before your tribute. I think that may explain why his art stuck in my head so well. There was a lot of great comic art in the 70s and 80s, but most of it was inspired by Kirby, Ditko, and ROmita. All great talents, but Mr. Perlin had a style developed free of those influences, which would make it pop.

      Still though, it was clearly more than just being different than the era's usual baseline. Another image of his I remember clearly is Defenders 101... wherein is raining heavily outside in the beginning. Why do I remember that?

      Well, I often say the best illustrator of water is Will Eisner, and I stand by that. However, captured what wet cement looks like in the rain so perfectly. Having the Hulk and Namor exist Doc's home in that environment really sold Marvel's claim of "The World outside your window." Like they could really be there.

      The issue also perfectly captured the mood after a heavy rainstorm. The strange melancholy that comes from the mix of sun coming pout, and the wet world.

      And Kyle Richmond;s face. The look of defeat was so painfully human. And the way he depicted the African tribesmen sitting alongside the Surfer and Doc, again making the fantastic look so real.

      And I swear to God, I have not peaked inside that book in years. It is all memory. Okay...I did go to the marvel wikia to make sure I was remembering it being Africa correctly...and I WAS, but still no images to jog the memory.

      Point is, it was nice that you had someone to talk to from Brooklyn in your early days, another country boy to make you feel at ease in the big city. Talking about growing oates...or whatever.

      Of course, I heard that Brooklyn was just the Bronx in a fake mustache, so who knows.


    3. DEFENDERS #101 remains one of my favorites from that run. Whatever I asked of Don...some of it strange indeed...he went for it and hit the bullseye. A true professional and a wonderful man. God bless him.