Trailblazer: Celebrating The Career Of Phil Jimenez
Phil Jimenez is many things; he’s an artist known for work on on seminal comics runs such as Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles, he’s a writer renowned for his work on Wonder Woman, and he was one of the first out gay men in work-for-hire comics. Today, we celebrate Jimenez’s birthday, and in doing so we also celebrate his lengthy career as both a writer and artist, and as an advocate for LGBTQ rights and representation within the industry.
When Jimenez first broke into comics, it was with four pages in the final issue of George Perez’s celebration of Wonder Woman’s fiftieth anniversary, War of the Gods. Throughout his career, Jimenez has drawn comparisons to Perez; his work is highly influenced by the artist, and they have collaborated on a number of occasions.
Early in his career, he worked mostly on Teen Titans-related comics, bouncing from titles like The New Titans, Deathstroke The Terminator and Showcase. In 1994, he made his debut as a writer working alongside co-writer Jeff Jensen on four issues and an annual of Team Titans. From there, he branched out as an artist to more mature titles such as Guy Gardner: Warrior, Lobo and Swamp Thing.
In 1996, Jimenez wrote and drew the four-issue Tempest miniseries starring Aquaman’s sidekick Garth, the former Aqualad. In the final issue, Jimenez came out publicly as gay, dedicating the miniseries to his mentor and partner Neil Pozner who passed away two years earlier from complications arising from AIDS.
In the following years, Jimenez branched out from DC’s superhero comics to titles like Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles, and later to Marvel Comics for the four issue miniseries X-Men: Liberators. In 2001, he took over Wonder Woman as the ongoing writer and artist, and his three year run on the title offered one of the highest regarded takes on the character, up there with Perez’s own reinvention from the late 80s.
When it came time for DC to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s Crisis on Infinite Earths, Jimenez was chosen to work alongside Geoff Johns on Infinite Crisis, the sequel to the iconic event. Due to delays in publishing, Perez was enlisted to complete some of the pages.
When Marvel Comics announced its “Brand New Day” initiative, which took Amazing Spider-Man thrice-monthly with rotating creative teams, Jimenez was enlisted as one of the regular artists. As penciller on Amazing Spider-Man, he created the supervillain Freak alongside Back To The Future’s Bob Gale, drew the “American Son” arc, and penciled the instantly iconic cover to Amazing Spider-Man #583 featuring President Barack Obama.
Jimenez continued to work for both Marvel and DC on titles as varied as Adventure Comics, Fables spinoff Fairest, and Angela: Asgard’s Assassin. In 2016, he was announced as the artist of a new Superwoman title, starring Lois Lane taking on the mantle and powers of Superman.
Throughout his noteworthy career, Jimenez remains an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights in an industry that often neglects queer talents and queer characters. The industry would be much better off with more people like Phil Jimenez around, and today we wish him a very happy birthday!