All this month we’ve been putting up articles every day covering aspects of LGBT culture in comics as part of LGBT History Month. Today we’re looking at the Daddy of comic artists, Phil Jimenez.
Content Warning: This article contains shameless thirst posts.
Phil Jimenez was born in Los Angeles in 1970 and studied at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, he never graduated because he was offered a summer job at DC Comics. His first printed work was War of the Gods #4 – a book by George Perez who Jimenez cites as his major influence in comics art and he would go on to work at several high-profile books at DC including Tempest, New Teen Titans, a long run on Wonder Woman, and eventually Infinite Crisis – the sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths. Jimenez also drew several issues of Grant Morrisons’ The Invisibles (itself a heavily LGBT-themed work) for DC’s Vertigo label which he credits with giving him the recognition as more than just a superhero artist.
Jimenez would eventually leave DC after tiring of editorial clashes left for Marvel where he went on to work again with Grant Morrison on New X-Men, the Astonishing X-Men, and Spider-Man among other titles.
He would return to DC in 2016 for the Rebirth initiative where initially he was to write and draw Superman but instead headed up the Superwoman comics instead.
Jimenez has been away from mainstream comics in recent years though he still active in the industry and currently teaches life drawing at the School of Visual Arts that he attended in his youth.
Jimenez’s art style often draws comparison with famed comics artist George Pérez. Where they both share an eye for detailed line and figure work, Jimenez art focuses a lot more attention on the anatomy of his figures and as such his characters appear more realistically proportioned so even heavy muscular superheroes still look like they are believably built and his female characters do not sport incredibly unrealistic breasts. Jimenez also does a lot of work with a few lines when it comes to faces, allowing his characters to display a great range of emotions through minor but detailed differences in eye shape, furloughed brows, and mouths.
His work tends towards that 80s style of densely populated and detailed compositions, but his pencilling is fine enough that the detail is not lost and instead invites the viewer to spend a long time looking over panels and picking out the individual features on each figure.
Here is a 2011 video from The Comic Archive on YouTube discussing the evolution of his art.
LGBT Activism & LGBT Representation in Comics
In 1996 Jimenez came out in the letters page of Tempest #4, in response to the death of his partner from AIDS-related illness in 1994. Jimenez was one of the first high-profile out gay men in comics and has gone on to be a big figure in promoting AIDS causes and LGBT activism. He has regular appeared at LGBT Comics events and spoken on LGBT issues at general conventions, as well as offering drawing classes at LGBT centres.
Jimenez has talked in the past that he feels that LGBT characters have had to force their way into popular media and that their stories do not often reflect real lives because they are often written by straight authors. He has said that he feels that LGBT character are best used when their sexuality is not the focus of their stories but are a subtextual part of their characters. He has commented that while he sees the high profile of gay characters such as Midnighter & Apollo as a general positive, the fact that they are linked with hyper-violence is not beneficial for the gay community as it does not provide positive representation of gay men.
As Aqualad, he was the teen sidekick and protege to his guardian, the super-hero known as Aquaman, bearing the same super-abilities as his mentor that allow him to breathe underwater and communicate with marine life. He also possesses superhuman strength and speed that allow him to move through the ocean with relative ease, as well as withstand the high-pressure depths of the ocean. As Tempest, he lost the marine communication powers, but gained mystic-based abilities that allow him to control the temperature of water and moisture surrounding him, as well as the ability to emit destructive force beams from his eyes. As the adoptive prince of Atlantis, he has at times been forced to assume his mentor’s responsibilities as ruler of the oceans during Aquaman’s absences, and has in recent years acted as Atlantis’ official ambassador to the surface world. Tune in to see how it all started here in AQUAMAN: TEMPEST. Collects TEMPEST #1-4, TEEN TITANS SPOTLIGHT #10, #18, AQUAMAN SECRET FILES #1.
Wonder Woman travels to Gotham to help Batman defeat the Joker, Scarecrow and Poison Ivy–only they’re possessed by even more sinister forces. Then Lois Lane joins Diana on a trip to the United Nations, to the White House for official business with President Luthor, on a visit with Steve Trevor and Etta Candy, as a guest on a talk show, and more. Before the day is over, Lois finally confronts Diana on her relationship with Superman. But it’s not the Man of Steel who seems to have captured Diana’s heart… Find all this and more in Wonder Woman by Phil Jimenez Omnibus! Collects Wonder Woman #164-188, Wonder Woman: Our Worlds at War #1, Wonder Woman Secret Files Origins #3, Teen Titans/Outsiders Secret Files 2003 #1-4 with variant covers by Phil Jimenez as bonus material.
The 7-issue miniseries event that rocked the entire DC Universe in 2005-2006 – a sequel to the epic CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS – is now available in an amazing softcover collection! OMAC robots are rampaging, magic is dying, villains are uniting, and a war is raging in space. And in the middle of it all, a critical moment has divided Earth’s three greatest heroes: Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. It’s the DCU’s darkest day, and long-lost heroes from the past have returned to make things right in the universe…at any cost. Heroes will live, heroes will die, and the DCU will never be the same again! This exhaustive volume contains every cover and variant produced for the project, annotations, character designs, excerpts from scripts, unused scenes, and much more!
- Spider-Man: Brand New Day Vol 1
- Spider-Man: Brand New Day Vol 2
- Spider-Man: American Son
- Spider-Man: Return Of The Black Cat
Shameless Thirst Posts
Here at Big Dog Books we have one more thing to say about Mr Jimenez – Woof.