CONVERSATION WITH PHIL JIMENEZ
Welcome to Impulse Gamer Phil! We're a huge fanboy
of your art so we'll try to put that to the side today!
Please don't... stroke my ego <laugh> I'm joking, I'm
So Phil, is this is your first time in Australia
and apart from Oz Comic-Con, are you going to visit any other places here?
This is my third time here. We arrived in Melbourne a couple of days ago, flew to
Adelaide and drove to Kapunda because my boyfriends great great grandparents are
from there and we've found a tombstone with four of his family members in a tiny
cemetery about a mile outside of Kapunda. So I'm not sure how much of Melbourne
we'll see but I've certainly seen plenty of farmland in Southern Australia on
That's pretty cool and you've got an Australian
It's incredible actually, the drive was wonderful
and no offence to the people of Kapunda but the town was like the one in the
remake of House of Wax. It almost felt like a fake town because there were so
few people in the streets and we were the only guests in this bed and breakfast
there. We were sure that any moment the house was going to melt!
So with Kapunda, have you taken any artist
inspiration from there for your future projects?
There's something about a haunted town in the
middle of nowhere in Australia and whenever I travel abroad, I always end up
taking stories back with me. We've just done a lot of research about Australian
farmers, miners and you can't help but think there is a ton of stories there.
You've had an illustrious career in comics, what
have been some of your highlights?
I would say that great highlights of my career are
probably the mini-series Tempest, my time on The Invisibles, JLA Titans which
was a really fun mini-series, getting to work on Planetary with Warren Ellis, my
time on new X-Men, Wonder Woman which had its ups and downs but it's still nice
to be attached to that legacy, Infinite Crisis which paid very well and I have
to say, having that Spider-Man Barack Obama cover on my resume has been very
nice as well.
Who's your favourite character to draw or read
My two favourite characters in comics are Wonder
Woman and her sister Donna Troy. But I like particular iterations of them,
particular versions so I like certain versions of those characters not
necessarily every story on every page. I have never been a completist, even when
I was younger. If I was reading a comic like Spider-man or Wonder
Woman and I
didn't like the creative direction, I would stop reading until the next creative
team came on.
With that in mind, what are your thoughts on
DC's reboot, the New 52?
I definitely think that as many people have said, that reboot did enormous
things for the industry which funnelled money and interest into this universe
and comics in general. For a year or a year and half later, the entire industry
was uplifted and forced itself to re-evaluate and reinvent its properties. I
actually think that's pretty great but not every version of the new stuff is for
me as I think I'm at that age now, I have my classic versions and I like them
and that's the way it works. Certain
versions speak to me and others don't but I would never say that we should stop
reinventing these characters. Keeping them stagnant never does any good. However
as long as they remain true to their core values and work as metaphors, they
should always evolve and change to meet the needs of the readership at the time.
If you could be given any title to draw, what
would it be?
My favourite character to draw is the pre-52 Wonder
Woman and I really like the Golden Age version of her. I also like the Perez
version of her, even sort of the Earth-1 versions of her and Donna Troy
as Wonder Girl, I'm always fond of drawing them. My takes on them, particularly
Troy are a little soft for the industry now which really seems to be targeting
young men of a certain age and as a result the stories tend to be heavier and
darker and that's not really my sensibility. There's a certain type of female
character that I like drawing the most and I'm finding that as I get older,
those characters get less and less popular who get killed off left, right and
center. It's making me feel a little old at the moment.
You've worked on Infinite Crisis, The
Invisibles, which writer would love to work with again?
My two favourite writers to work for easily are
Grant Morrison and Warren Ellis. My last outing with Warren on X-Men was kind of
disastrous because of the delays on that book. But if he could write me anything
without deadlines, I would be happy for the rest of my life. That guy, along
with Grant Morrison, they just write me stuff that I want to draw and they have
more ideas in their little pinkie than I will ever have in my whole life. I've
learned so much from drawing from the scripts of these two men.
When you get a script Phil, how long does it
take to draw a standard issue?
In an ideal world, it would take me six weeks. I've
drawn issues in 3 weeks and some in 3 months. It's never consistent and a lot of
it has to do with me, how late the script is and how familiar I am with the
material. I tend to be a slow starter and then I speed up. For example the first
issue of anything for me could take a couple of months as I'm figuring it out.
By the fourth issue, I'm on a regular schedule but the trick of course is giving
me enough lead time in the first month to know. You just never schedule me on a
book that's to come out next month as I need a couple of months. But schedules
are so strange right now, they're so hardcore that I really need that lead time.
So when you were growing up, who were your
artist inspirations? You mentioned George Perez and people have compared you to
him with your Wonder Woman and Infinite Crisis work.
Oh yeah George Perez was obviously my teen idol and
I can't say enough about his influence on my work. Without him, I would have no
career and his work spoke to me the first minute I saw it. Thank goodness that
when I got into the industry, he and I became friends and he calls me his son
and working in the same vein as he does, carries on this artistic legacy which I
felt wasn't really being carried on by others. You know, those Image guys were
influenced by Jim Lee and for me it was George Perez and I wanted to carry on
What about the future of comics? Will it be
digital or print?
I have very mixed feelings about it as I try to
figure it out but my guess is that the future of comics is digital. The future
of most media is digital and around the world most people consume their media on
tablets and on phones. I know that when we're asked to design comics on digital,
we are actually designing for the shape of the iPad. I think for brick and
mortar stores to survive, they will need to offer opportunities and services
that you can't get online and publishing companies will have to provide material
for them that can only be found in brick and mortar stores. I don't think that
you can offer the same thing digitally and brick and mortar stores and expect
these stores to stay alive just for a matter of convenience. For example and at
least in the United States, women are more likely to purchase comics by
comicology than walk into a comicbook store. That's my sense of the future.
What are your plans for the next 12 months?
My plans for the next year would be doing a lot of
work for IDW for the Transformers, a lot of work for HASBRO, also the
Transformers, doing a lot of work for DC Comics licensing, a lot of work for
Archie, some work for DC Comics' digital line as well as some production and TV
development in Hollywood.
Can you elaborate on the TV development?
Just a couple of TV shows that I was interested in
doing and I just got some offers to do some world building and character designs
for a big film. I'm trying to figure out how I can schedule that and it's
kind of a fun thing to do and the money is good as well. It's a little bit
different than drawing comics. Like I said, particularly the New 52, those
versions of those characters don't speak to me like the old ones did and so my
sense was this was a great place to find alternatives and figure out what kind
of new avenues there was for me to do character designs.
So with your new character designs, what's the
most difficult challenge or even genre when you try to come up with these ideas?
The challenge for any character design and I was
just thinking of the exhibit which I saw here with costume designs, is making
sure the costume reads both visually and metaphorically. I'm not a big fan of
designing costumes and prints for the movies that is a big issue right now as
how it will translate into real life. But I think that the beauty of comics and
cartoon is that they're not real, they're fiction, they're flat and they're
drawn so it's a different medium. I find for me the most difficult thing is
trying to anticipate how a movie production designer or costume designer two
years from now is going to interpret the costumes. I really hate designing that way.
I like designing for the medium that I'm working in and letting other people in
other mediums figuring that out like making adjustments.
In relation to movies, are a fan of comicbook
movies like the Avengers, Man of Steel or X-Men?
You know what? As I get older, I find that I'm a
fan of some of them and I tend to be a fan of the ones that are just fun. I just
watched X2 and thought god, that's a really fun movie. I really loved the
Avengers and the Iron Men films but I'm not a fan of the heavier or darker ones
like Man of Steel or Dark Knight, simply because the world I live in and the
world that I want to exist in is not so dark and heavy. Because these characters
to me represent ideas and a force for bigger ideas, I don't expect them to
answer the dark psychological needs of some 40 year old me. I just want to see
fun movies about superheroes and super villains. I feel that the
Marvel version of comic films are marketed more successfully but it's not saying that
Warner Bros movies are bad. They're just not to my taste, they've obviously made
billions of dollars so they are doing just fine. I like the movies that tend to
be fun and light hearted and adventurous.
With Oz Comic tomorrow, what are you looking
forward to Phil?
I'm mostly looking forward to meeting people. The
fun part for me at these conventions as a guest is people like
you. Someone wanted me on the phone because they think I have something
important to say <laugh> because I draw people in their underwear fighting each
other over cities. I think that's kind of amazing and a genuine luxury. You
know, I travel to all these cities and get to meet people that I would have
never ever met for the fact that I tend to draw superheroes. I think that's a
huge gift so for me, the fun part about conventions is meeting people and
drawing for them.
At conventions Phil, what do fans often ask you to
The characters I get the most are Spider-man
and Wonder Woman. I love the fact that people identify those two characters to me
and it's very very cool. Then I get a lot of Batman and occasionally Superman.
But it's mostly Spider-Man and Wonder Woman and that always makes me really
What are you currently reading at the moment?
The X-Books, particularly the all women one, the Bendis relaunch, they're just super fun and most other books, I tend to float
through for their art. I tend to find that when I'm done drawing comics, I'm in
that phase where I don't want to read more comics but those X-Men books really
entertain and inspire me. I'm kind of loving those right now.
Thanks for your time Phil and hopefully we can
catch up tomorrow at Oz Comic-Con in person.
Please come by and say hi!
Thanks again for all your work over the years, it's
been a joy to read comics with your amazing art!
Thankyou, that's very sweet of you and that's why
I'm the luckiest boy in the world.
Phil Jimenez will be visiting Oz Comic Con in Melbourne
on the 6th and 7th of July at the Royal Exhibition Building
Copyright DC Comics, Nicola Scott and ABC