Famed Illustrator George Pérez Dead at 67 ... DC, Marvel Comics Legend

George Pérez -- one of the most famous and prolific comic book artists of our time, with work in both DC and Marvel -- has died.

The famed penciller passed away Friday at his home, surrounded by friends and family -- this according to his official Facebook page, which announced the sad news. Perez was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year, to which some outlets are attributing his death.

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The tribute reads, in part ... "Everyone knows George's legacy as a creator. His art, characters and stories will be revered for years to come. But, as towering as that legacy is, it pales in comparison to the legacy of the man George was. George's true legacy is his kindness. It's the love he had for bringing others joy - and I hope you all carry that with you always."

Perez is, perhaps, best known for his work in DC ... although he technically got his start with Marvel, contributing drawings to the 'Avengers' series and 'The Fantastic Four' in the '70s.

It wasn't long, though, that he transitioned to DC -- where he did some of his most iconic artwork to date ... including helping launch "The New Teen Titans" in '85 alongside writer Marv Wolfman. They added key characters to the squad that would later become widely known and beloved on Cartoon Network in the 2000s -- namely, Starfire, Cyborg and Raven.

The new comic became a smash hit, but Pérez wasn't done leaving his mark with DC -- in addition to 'TNTT,' he also helped draw what became a divisive comic book series entry ... "Crisis on Infinite Earths," for which he drew much of the main art in the mid-'80s.

'Crisis' was big because it kinda put an end to the whole concept of the multiverse -- which was running rampant at the time in comics -- and unified all the DC superheroes in world/universe/earth ... and killing A LOT of the main costumed crusaders along the way.

In fact, so many heroes got knocked off ... that DC eventually had to reboot everything altogether just to crank out new storylines with some fan faves still in the picture.

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In any case, Pérez helped helm the comic book giant through some of its most formative years -- and his work will be long referenced and remembered. He was 67.

RIP

Christopher Reeve, Adam West Rumored to Cameo in 'Flash' Flick ... Multiverse Hoppin' Galore

Christopher Reeve and Adam West are coming back to don their respective capes in the 'Flash' movie -- that is, if you believe would-be leaks ... which have the DC internet ablaze.

Rumors have been lying this week about supposed cameos that both Reeve and West -- who, of course, are deceased -- allegedly have in the new WB offering ... which is now slated to come out next summer after a lot of shuffling around lately.

According to lionized movie leakers -- some of whom have solid reps for being in the know on this comic book-flick stuff -- the word is ... CR and AW are going to be featured in a scene where Barry Allen (The Flash) is hopscotching around different superhero universes.

Apparently, you only see them briefly ... and the Flash character doesn't interact with them either, but rather ... sees them in action in their own worlds/timelines.

The rumored cameos are said to be from old archived footage -- so, no, they're not making all new content/dialogue/scenes with these late actors via deep fake CGI ... or so it seems. Oh, and they're not the only DC OGs popping up apparently ... Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman is expected to also cameo in her prime as well -- at least according to these folks.

Different cuts of the film have been screened a handful of times now -- it's in the can at this point -- so take all this with a grain of salt ... Warner could majorly switch things up by 2023.

There's also the question of what this movie and all its implications might mean for the DCEU long-term. Beyond Ezra Miller's controversies, there've been reports Discovery honchos might want to overhaul the entire superhero strategy going forward now that they own it.

With all that in mind ... we wouldn't recommend getting too excited about any of the plotlines, character teases or mixing and matching of universes that might arise from this movie when it does release -- i.e. Michael Keaton's reprisal, or a potential Cavill return, etc.

Sounds like there's no clear vision yet as the new Warner Bros. Discovery gets started here ... so any or all of this could be scrapped or rebooted entirely -- and it may be all for naught.

But on the prospect of seeing West and Reeve back on the big screen in costume ... neat!

Superman Labeled a 'Boring' Hero ... Fanboys Come to His Defense!!!

The Man of Steel might actually be the Man of Snooze -- at least that's what one comic nerd thinks ... but they're getting drowned out by a swarm of fanboys who beg to differ.

A Twitter user that goes by "brandon" threw out a bit of a fireball of an opinion this weekend about good old Kal-El and his ability to titillate, writing ... "lmk if this is bad take but superman is an extremely boring superhero."

Well, the internet let him know ... and with fervor to spare. Superman lovers far and wide swooped in to defend their guy in tights, vehemently rejecting the idea he's a killjoy or a bore ... and they seem to have the evidence to back it up.

First off, some pointed out that Clark Kent is actually super relatable ... and in many instances, just like us when it comes to earthly matters -- especially in the embarrassing/overbearing parents department.

Others pointed to the source material in debunking Supes's alleged boring streak -- citing the very many comics and subsequent stories that have been written/drawn detailing his wild adventures. A handful of the ones a few felt would make Superman's case ... "Secret Identity," "Superman: Up in the Sky," "All-Star Superman," "Superman: Earth One" and more.

Reading these alone, some argue, will prove the Last Son of Krypton is a complex character ... who has to deal with a lot, and most definitely NOT dull or dry as far as caped heroes go.

Of course, there are others who simply offer up the many animations that have been made about Superman ... including the fabled 'Superman: The Animated Series' from the '90s, which many consider some of the best Superman depictions to date.

Somebody even threw together a quick compilation of the multi-Emmy nominated program ... reinforcing Superman battles not just people he has to beat physically, but politically and psychologically. Case in point ... Lex Luthor is considered one the best big baddies ever, and he doesn't even have powers or anything. He gets under Superman's skin in other ways.

And, finally, there are the live action movies and TV shows themselves ... with actors like Christopher Reeve, Brandon Routh, Tyler Hoechlin, Tom Welling, Dean Cain, Kirk Alyn and Henry Cavill ... who've all donned the red undies at one point or another, to much acclaim.

So yeah, boring might be a bit harsh ... as Twitter has clearly unanimously decided.

It's a bird, it's a plane ... it's an INTERESTING costumed alien who's been the blueprint for superheroes since the very beginning. Boring??? We think not!

WB's DC Extended Universe Future in Q Amid 'Flash' Rumors ... Affleck & Cavill Scrubbed???

While Marvel is having a ball in movie land, there are grave concerns among the DC fanbase ... especially amid rumors that their fave heroes are going to be nixed from the franchise.

Here's the deal ... there are a handful of movie insiders claiming to have seen a cut of the new 'Flash' film starring Ezra Miller, which just wrapped filming back in October. According to some of these folks ... Warner is going in a whole new direction with the DCEU.

One reporter, Grace Randolph, spilled the alleged beans ... saying that not only is this movie going to be the final Batfleck movie (meaning no more Ben Affleck as Batman) but it's apparently also going to feature Henry Cavill's Superman sparingly ... and then, never more.

Perhaps even more jarring ... the claim that an entirely new Justice League is formed by the end -- and that the new Batman, as it were, is actually going to be Batgirl (eventually), and Supergirl is the new Superman. She also says Michael Keaton comes back as his OG Batman -- because of reported universe jumping, a la 'Spider-Man' -- but he's old now (obvs).

She adds, "This is new DC, let’s be open minded & give it a fair shot." Another account that's deep in the DC weeds puts it even more succinctly, writing ... "the movie (The Flash) will erase every movie Snyder has done. Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Justice League never happened now. Erased from continuity. Affleck and Cavill are both gone."

Now, Ezra himself appears to have spoken out on these rumors -- somebody captured a DM that's been linked to his account, and in it ... he says Zack Snyder's work isn't undone.

The DM purported to be from Ezra reads, "No power or force in any known megaverse would or could ever erase Zack Snyder's might (work). You can take that quote."

Of course, that doesn't really address the theory of WB pivoting away from Cavill, Affleck and the rest of the OG DC heroes that have already been established in Snyder's world ... which, if true, is a huge bummer -- at least that's what fans online are saying.

You can hop onto the Twitter-verse yourself and read up on how folks are reacting to this would-be news ... and you'll quickly see, they think Warner is sticking its head in the sand on what the people really want.

And that would be ... more Superman, more Batman and more of what Snyder teased before stepping away from DC. All will be revealed soon -- 'The Flash' is due out in 2022.

Superman Bisexual Backlash Spurs LAPD Protection for Artists, Studio

Superman's bisexuality is having real-world consequences -- outraged fans targeting the folks behind the new comic series ... and cops stepping in to make sure things don't escalate.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... LAPD officers were recently dispatched to patrol the homes of some of the illustrators/production staffers who created the latest iteration of Superman. The extra protection comes after major backlash that included some so-called fans making threats.

We're told the pissed-off comic book readers inundated the studios to voice their displeasure with the character's newly-announced sexuality.

Our sources say the studios called LAPD, requesting for patrols to keep an eye out -- both at the private residences of some artists, and at the studio itself.

While nothing legitimate came from the threats, our sources say cops still patrolled out of an abundance of caution -- and that the situation has since settled down.

Still, pretty scary and crazy ... considering Superman (and everything about him, including his bisexuality) is pure fiction -- and yet, some seem to have taken it very personally.

As we reported ... DC announced its new Superman, Jon Kent -- son of Clark and Lois Lane -- would be starting a same-sex relationship with a friend in forthcoming issues, and released drawings of them kissing.

While the move was celebrated by many, others clearly weren't happy about it at all.

New Superman Clark Kent's Son, Jon, Comes Out as Bi ... DC Comics Confirmed!!!

The Man of Steel is coming out of the phone booth like no other iteration before -- Superman's son will be bisexual going forward ... ushering in a new era under DC.

The announcement came down Monday by the comic book giant ... namely, that Jon Kent -- Clark Kent and Lois Lane's son, who's the new Superman -- is indeed both into guys and girls. Not just that ... but a male relationship will be explored within a forthcoming issue.

This new series, titled "Superman: Son of Kal-El," got underway back in July ... and it follows young Jon as he navigates taking on the red cape and the responsibilities as Earth's superest of heroes -- while his pops steps back. Starting in November, DC says Jon will officially come out ... with promotional photos of him kissing his pal, Jay, surfacing to tease the release.

The adventures of Jon are way more relevant and timely than anything Kal-El ever dealt with -- thus far, he's battled climate change crises, stopped a school shooting and even addressed immigration head-on ... not with fists, but with protest!

As for this new move to make him bi ... the series' lead writer, Tom Taylor, says they didn't want to pass up the opportunity to make Superman as modern (and inclusive) as possible -- saying the idea of making a new Superman another straight white savior seemed lame.

Of course, this comes on the heels of DC announcing that their latest version of Robin/Tim Drake would also be bisexual ... which was hinted at and way less explicit as this is.

Here, Superman is straight-up making out with a guy -- so DC's going all-in on LGBT representation.

Ned Beatty Dead at 83

UPDATE

3:28 PM PT -- Ned's manager tells us ... her client died around 7:30 AM this morning of natural causes, surrounded by friends and loved ones.

Ned Beatty -- a veteran character actor, famous for his work in "Superman," "Network" and several other iconic films -- has died ... TMZ has learned.

A family member tells TMZ ... Ned passed away in his sleep Sunday while surrounded by family at his home. No other details surrounding the exact circumstances of his death were immediately available -- however, we've been told his passing is NOT COVID-related.

The guy has appeared in a variety of different movies and an even bigger variety of roles over his five-decade-plus career ... giving us memorable characters and even better performances. He'll perhaps best be remembered for his standout monologue in 1976's "Network," in which he played a TV/communications chief, who tries convincing the protagonist to stop resisting a major merger deal that will adversely affect the masses.

It's an epic 5 to 6-minute speech he gives to the fictional truthteller, Howard Beale -- one of the only times Beatty appeared on screen in this flick, BTW -- ... and it earned him a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the Oscars that year. That's how great it is.

Beatty had scores of other unforgettable movie moments -- notably, as the bumbling sidekick to Gene Hackman's Lex Luthor, Otis, in the 1978 version of "Superman" in which he completely flipped the script from serious to comedic ... which he carried on for the sequel too. In other words, Beatty had incredible range -- and flexed it often in his acting.

Other remarkable film credits include ... "Deliverance," -- infamous for its "Squeal like a pig" rape scene, of which Beatty was the onscreen victim -- "Friendly Fire," "All the President's Men," "Silver Streak," "Back to School," "Nashville," "The Big Easy," "The Toy," "1941," "Captain America," "Rudy," "White Lightning," "Prelude to a Kiss," "Hear My Song," "Restless Natives," "Life," "Shooter," "Charlie Wilson's War" and even a couple voice acting roles in "Rango" as well as "Toy Story 3," in which he played Lotso ... the evil pink bear.

Ned had appeared in several big hit TV shows as well through the years, such as "Law & Order," "Roseanne," "The Boys," "Highway to Heaven," "American Playhouse," "Szysznyk," "The Rockford Files," "M*A*S*H*," "Homicide: Life on the Street," 'CSI,' "Murder, She Wrote" and countless others.

He's survived by his wife, Sandra Johnson, and his eight children and grandchildren. Ned was 83.

RIP

Originally Published -- 2:58 PM PT

'Justice League' Actor Ray Fisher Re-Asserts Racism Allegations Amid Black Superman Rumors

UPDATE

5:18 PM PT -- A former federal judge, Katherine B. Forrest -- who was hired to head up WB's independent investigation -- is also speaking out on their behalf, saying unequivocally that Walter Hamada did NOT interfere in their probe by any stretch of the imagination, despite Fisher's allegations.

UPDATE

She says, "I am disappointed by continued public statements made suggesting that Walter Hamada in any way interfered with the Justice League investigation. He did not. I interviewed him extensively on more than one occasion and specifically interviewed him concerning his very limited interaction with Mr. Fisher. I found Mr. Hamada credible and forthcoming.  I concluded that he did nothing that impeded or interfered with the investigation. To the contrary, the information that he provided was useful and advanced the investigation."

A Black Superman film might be among us soon -- but a Black actor who already starred in a DC flick is pouring cold water on it, re-affirming his claim he experienced racism on WB's watch.

Ray Fisher -- who played Cyborg in 2017's 'Justice League' -- reminded folks Saturday that as hyped as they were on the idea of Michael B. Jordan potentially donning the red cape ... there are still issues he believes run deep at the studio.

He resurfaced claims he made last year against Warner Bros. and a handful of WB execs, including Walter Hamada ... whom Fisher alleges swept his concerns under the rug, and tried covering for another exec, Geoff Johns, while using other folks involved in 'JL' as scapegoats.

It's a long story, but essentially ... Fisher claims director Joss Whedon (who replaced Zack Snyder mid-shoot) was abusive on the set, while also alluding to racist behavior -- without getting into the nitty-gritty. Fisher alleges when he brought these issues to the attention of Hamada -- the Prez of DC Films -- the guy gave him lip service and brushed him off.

On top of all that ... Fisher claims WB's independent investigation into his claims -- which found no evidence to back his characterization -- was also BS, and hindered by Hamada.

The backdrop to all this, of course, is that it was reported this past week author Ta-Nehisi Coates, an African-American, would be penning a new Superman reboot -- with J.J. Abrams attached to produce -- and that WB's "intent" was to intro a Black Superman.

That kicked the rumor mill into high gear that MBJ would be brought on -- which had been speculated about some years back. Some say he could play Val-Zod ... a Black character from Krypton who's part of DC canon, and who's got all of Kal-El's superpowers.

It's a neat idea, but Fisher seems to think it's nothing but an empty make-good -- in light of what he claims happened to him. For the record, WB denied Fisher's claims before, and doubled down again Saturday ... saying there's simply no truth to it.

A rep for the studio says, "As we have stated before, an extensive and thorough third-party investigation was conducted. Our executives, including Walter Hamada, fully cooperated, no evidence was found of any interference whatsoever, and Warner Bros. did not lie in the press." They add, "It’s time to stop saying otherwise and move forward productively."

Originally Published -- 3:18 PM PT

Henry Cavill 'Superman' Conflict is Fake!!!

The social media firestorm over Henry Cavill's fate in the next installment of 'Superman' turns out to be an invented conflict ... TMZ has learned.

Sources in the know tell TMZ, there's no real discussion over the main role because there's no active 'Superman' project. It's true ... Cavill has felt he was underpaid for the role and that's an issue, as is what some say was an underwhelming performance.

We're told if and when the next 'Superman' project is greenlit, Cavill along with others would be in play. If, for example, a director felt he was the perfect guy for the role, he could end up with another cape assuming he and the studio could come to terms.

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Cavill posted a video Wednesday insinuating the door is not closed.

The whole brouhaha started when Cavill turned down a cameo in "Shazam!" over money, and then accepted a Netflix deal for "The Witcher." Apparently, some people thought he moved on from 'Superman,' but the fact is there's no conflict ... because up to this point there's no movie project.

Kat Graham Let's Get a Super Hombre!!! Put Latino Star in the Cape

TIME FOR A SUPER SWITCH-UP
TMZ.com

Kat Graham wants to see a major twist in the DC cinematic universe ... telling us it's time for a minority to play Superman.

We got Kat Wednesday at LAX ... and the 'Vampire Diaries' actress said it's time to break the mold and have a black, Latino or Asian actor do the Man of Steel thing.

Kat gives us her A-list for the role. As we told you, there's a report Henry Cavill is hanging up the blue tights and red cape.

Kat -- who's broken boundaries herself by being the first black woman to voice April O'Neil on the animated reboot of 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' -- says it's time for Kal-El to break some boundaries too ... 'cause America and the world (and Krypton too) need a change.

Henry Cavill Hold the Kryptonite ... He's Hanging Up Superman's Cape!!

4:47 PM PT -- Cavill just posted an odd video with a Superman action figure ... but still no clear answer as to whether or not he'll wear the cape.

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When ya look up in the sky ... it might be a bird, might be a plane, but it damn sure won't be Henry Cavill -- he's leaving the role of Superman.

Henry was in negotiations with Warner Bros. to put on the blue tights and red cape for a cameo in its upcoming "Shazam!" movie, but talks broke down and both sides walked away ... according to The Hollywood Reporter.

HC bolting leaves a couple of HUGE holes in the DC cinematic universe, since Ben Affleck already ditched the Batman suit.

Cavill played the Man of Steel 3 times and had been expected to do it again for a solo Superman flick and a 'Justice League' sequel. While the Kal-El role is over and done for Henry ... we hear it's not a bitter split, and the door is still open for him to work with Warner Bros. in the future.

Word is Warner Bros is in the market for a couple of young guns to fill Aflleck and Cavill's rubber boots. The only good news is they've still got Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller on board as Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Flash.

The want ads in Metropolis and Gotham just got way more interesting.

Margot Kidder Fighting Flu Days Before Death

DAYS BEFORE
The Drew and Mike Show

"Superman" star Margot Kidder was battling the flu just 4 days before she died, and talked about her struggle during what appears to be her final interview.

Kidder phoned in to “The Drew and Mike Show” in Detroit on May 9 to promote an upcoming appearance at Motor City Comic Con. She told the hosts she was "in bed with flu" because she's "puking every hour and a half." Kidder sounded rough, very raspy -- and, even though she was in good spirits, she said the flu battle was "not fun."

As we previously reported ... Margot was found dead Sunday at her home in Livingston, Montana. Cops responded to a call that Margot was unconscious and not breathing. Her death is under investigation, but police have said they don't suspect foul play.

Kidder was 69.

Chrissy Metz Oh, of Course I'd Play a Superhero! I'm Split on Which Universe

THIS IS SUPER
TMZ.com

Chrissy Metz says she'd love to throw on a cape and save the day on camera -- now the harder question ... DC or Marvel?

We got the 'This Is Us' star Saturday at LAX, where we asked about a revelation she made in her novel 'This Is Me' regarding abuse she suffered as a child. She offers some heartfelt advice to girls going through similar situations ... and then pivoted to spandex tights.

Our guys asks if she's a 'Black Panther' fan since her co-star, Sterling Brown, acts in it. Surprise ... she is, and wouldn't be opposed to donning a mask herself if the opportunity presented itself. Sounds like she's open to any and all, too. Whip up those scripts.

'Smallville' Star Sam Jones III Allison Mack Hid Her 'Inner Freak' ... 'Sex Cult' Shocks Me!!!

SMALLVILLE, BIG CULT
TMZ.com

One of Allison Mack's co-stars on "Smallville" says she was fairly normal while shooting the show, and never showed any signs she might have been part of an alleged sex cult.

We got Sam Jones III -- who starred alongside Mack for 3 seasons -- and he tells us she had a boyfriend at the time, and he never suspected she would get arrested for alleged ties to the self-help group, Nxivm -- for which she's accused of recruiting women to be "sex slaves."

Smallville's Pete Ross offered his ex-castmate some advice ahead of her trial, where she's facing sex trafficking and conspiracy charges ... and could get 15 years in prison. His tip has to do with the residuals from the show, which -- as Sam showed us -- are still pretty fat.

Batman vs. Superman The Battle Goes On ... Line Via Costume Auction!!

It's time for fans to decide once and for all who tops in the DC superhero world ... by bidding on vintage Batman and Superman movie costumes.

Michael Keaton's Batsuit from the 1992 sequel "Batman Returns" and Christopher Reeve's iconic Superman costume from the eponymous 1978 film are both on the auction block. Check out the pics ... there's even an up-close shot of the original tag still intact and labeled for Reeve.

The Man of Steel "muscle tunic" has a slight edge with bidding starting at $40k ... bidding starts at $35k for the Batsuit. Fanboys and girls can bid online at Nate D. Sanders Auctions 'till January 26.

Fun fact -- Reeve refused to wear an extra muscle suit under his costume, and instead trained with famed bodybuilder and Darth Vader actor Dave Prowse to bulk up.

Superman Crashes 'Supergirl' Set ... Nice Shin Guards, Bro

Here it is ... the first time Superman has touched down on the set of "Supergirl" ... and it's bad news for anyone planning to kick the guy below the knees.

Check out Tyler Hoechlin in his full Kal-El getup on the set of the CW show in Vancouver -- the dude looks pretty good ... he's even got the front hair curl in full effect.

By the way, Supes even took a few selfies with some of the people on the set ... 'cause that's how a super hero gotta do these days.

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