Phil Jimenez is the modern day George Perez. And I think he’s better than Perez. There, I said it. You may accuse me of heresy if you wish, but I would much rather read a Jimenez-drawn book than a Perez-drawn book. They both excel at drawing pages and panels that are filled with characters and detail, with excellent anatomy and an ability to draw beautiful women that are not highly sexualised, which is something rare and special in the modern superhero industry.
Another Perez–Jimenez connection is Wonder Woman – both have written and drawn the character, although the Perez run is perhaps more lauded. Their starts were in opposite camps: Perez made his name at Marvel, whereas Jimenez started out at DC, which is where I immediately think of when I think about his work. Even though Jimenez is now on an exclusive contract at Marvel, and drawing their flagship character as part of the new approach to Spider-man (and he famously drew the infamous Barack Obama cover to Amazing Spider-Man), he did work on some Marvel books beforehand – he drew an X-Men mini-series as well as drawing some issues of New X-Men with Grant Morrison.
There is another connection to Morrison – he drew the second ‘season’ of The Invisibles, Morrison’s creator-owned book; this was rather unusual at the time because Jimenez was a superhero artist, working on the likes of the New/Team Titans and Tempest (which he also wrote), but it showed his desire to break out of the mould and try new things. Although he would continue working on superheroes (JLA/Titans, Planetary/Authority, his Wonder Woman run), he also created, wrote and drew Otherworld, a 7-issue mini-series for Vertigo.
The final connection to Perez is when Jimenez was the main penciller on Infinite Crisis, to complement Perez’s art on the original Crisis on Infinite Earths – if you want a superstar artist who can actually draw millions of characters in interesting ways, make them look cool and make you care about a huge company-wide crossover, Jimenez is the man to call. Although I didn’t enjoy the story, I did like Jimenez’s art, which was his usual high quality.
A discussion of Jimenez has to mention his sexuality – as one of the most well-known openly gay comic book creators in the mainstream, Jimenez is a role model for any young gay men wanting to work in comic books, and it’s great to see one of the superstar artists in a medium not exactly known for its open-mindedness is allowed to be gay.
For an artist I admire, I don’t own a lot of Jimenez-drawn books; I have The Invisibles, the JLA/Titans series, the Planetary/Authority one-shot and the New X-Men issues. I think it stems from not being a great fan of the stuff he’s done for the most part – his superhero work at DC has been on properties that don’t really interest me. Which is a shame, because I’ve missed out on a body of work that has superheroes drawn the way they should be: lithe, well proportioned, noble, exquisitely rendered, heroic and pure. His attention to detail in anatomy, design and backgrounds displays craft and love. His men and women are beautiful but not titillating – he’s one of the few artists who can draw a sexy woman in a mini-skirt and not make you feel dirty for looking at it. Now, if he can only work on books I want to buy …
Get a full list of his work at Comic Book Database [LINK] and see some of his art at Comic Art Community gallery [LINK]. There is an out-of-date fan site [LINK] or you can see him in person on YouTube [Part 1/Part 2].