Thumbnail: For Phil Jimenez, More is Always More
There’s an anecdote told in a trade for DC’s weekly series 52. In an issue halfway through the run, Phil Jimenez was given a page breakdown from Keith Giffen that asked him to draw seven statues of fallen members of the JLA as part of the background, as a visual reminder of all that the team had lost over the years.
Jimenez, taking a look at this breakdown, presumably nodded to himself that this was a good idea, and included every single deceased member of the JLA who had ever existed in the scene instead.
Jimenez has always excelled at drawing to a ridiculous scale, especially when paired with the exceptional inker Andy Lanning. In that issue of 52 alone, Jimenez handles the above scene with 20-odd statues, plus a scene where he introduces about thirteen completely new superheroes who all promptly die two pages later, and a panel where about twenty pirates/cyborgs swarm towards the reader, and a final page featuring profile images of fifteen or so villains.
None of these needed such a huge scale, but Jimenez chose to deliver more each time. He’s developed an ability to juggle incredible numbers of characters on a single page, to the extent that it’s now one of the talents he’s most admired for.
In the recent prelude issue of the ‘Darkseid War’ storyline in Justice League, Jimenez was asked to do only one thing; draw the entirety of Crisis on Infinite Earths in two pages. In doing this he was also being asked to pay homage to the man whose work has clearly been his greatest influence, George Perez. Asked to try and top Perez, Jimenez not only captured the scale of the event in two pages, but also captured the essence of the story itself.
Notice how he rings the mystics in the bottom right corner to create a shield. And notice how he establishes a space to the right where Anti-Monitor’s heart should be, and places Pariah in that space. It’s not just a big splash with characters thrown anywhere, but a carefully constructed page with directed motion that points the reader to the central premise of the image and the story.
Jimenez is so good at getting the details right that when Grant Morrison took on Magneto for New X-Men’s ‘Planet X’ storyline, he spent only --- you guessed it --- two pages on Magneto’s actual invasion of New York. Jimenez only needs two pages to impress spectacle on the reader, so Morrison was able to spend the rest of the issue's page count on quirky character moments and building tension.These two pages sum up the horror of the attack better than anything else could:
Jimenez’s two pages also showcase the concept of Magneto’s power more vividly than any other artist had before, grotesquely warping New York in a fish-eye that rips the spine out of every skyscraper in sight. Again, the artwork doesn’t just show us spectacle --- it shows character through movement and placement. There's just too much for the reader to take in at one glance.
And, of course, if you ask Phil Jimenez to do a Wonder Woman cover, you get the all-time Wonder Woman cover.
More is more with Jimenez.
Best Wonder Woman Art Ever