One of the most recognizable artists in the industry today, Phil Jimenez has been gaining new fans each month with his work on DC Comics' "Wonder Woman" series where until just recently, he was both writing and illustrating the series, though he is only currently writing the series. When his exclusive contract with DC expires in August, he'll begin to do work with some other companies, including "New X-Men" for Marvel Comics and he couldn't be more excited. Somehow finding time away from the drawing board, Jimenez spoke to CBR News about his upcoming X-Men work and his final plans for "Wonder Woman."
"I've been working with DC for a couple of years exclusively and Marvel offered me the chance to work on 'New X-Men,' currently my favorite comic book, and it was a chance to work with Grant Morrison again so I took it," explains Jimenez of why he didn't re-sign with DC. "It's just sort of a chance to remind another part of the audience that I'm out there."
Jimenez has never made a secret of the fact that he is a huge fan of the X-Men and that the Claremont/Byrne "Uncanny X-Men" comics had a huge impact on him, which is making this particular job quite exciting. "I'm very happy working on the series right now because it's going through its creative renaissance if you will- I just read a letter by Bruce Timm in the letter column raving about it! It's exciting because obviously Grant's excited, the fan's are excited, I'm excited and so it's a fun time to be working on it for those reasons specifically. It's really funny that the cast of 'New X-Men' doesn't include my favorite X-Men characters, but I just love the series so much right now that I enjoy reading it anyway and I got have a few cool guest stars in the issue I'm currently working on, so I'm quite happy."
Unfortunately for fans, that issue of "New X-Men" (which is slated for a September release), is the only one planned for Jimenez at this point in time and he isn't on the rotating art team as other news venues have earlier reported. "Well, they sort of misspoke when they called me part of the rotating team, that hadn't been decided yet, though I will be doing more for them later," explains Jimenez. "It will depend greatly on my own schedule only because I have plenty of work left for DC and a top secret project you'll be hearing about in the near future, but I do hope to do another 3 issues of 'X-Men' over the next nine months or so. I also think that Grant is gearing up to do some new kind of 'Phoenix Saga' [a reference to the now classic X-Men story from the 70's] so I'd love to be part of that."
If you've been a fan of comic books for at least the past year, the name of Grant Morrison is well known to you and is one that polarizes fans. But to Phil Jimenez, who's collaborated with Morrison previously on "The Invisibles," he has nothing but respect and admiration for the acclaimed scribe. "There are a couple of things that really get me about Grant's work. One reason I like working with Grant is because he thinks so differently than I do- I think he's a master storyteller. He uses characters, uses dialogue in a way that I wouldn't normally and I think that balance brings us together really well. He lifts me up and makes me think far more broadly than I ever would about high-concepts and characters, while I tend to ground his more so called 'out there' stuff with a little sense of mainstream reality that makes his work more 'accessible.' I think it's a neat combination- I tend to glam up his work a little bit. His scripts are also really easy to work from and so the actual working experience itself is quite pleasurable."
As was mentioned before, Jimenez still has a lot of work left with DC and that includes "Wonder Woman", which he'll be with till December's issue #188. "There's two more story arcs planned," reveals Jimenez. "We'll finish up the current 'Skartaris' story-arc and then we pop her back in time to World War 2 where she meets Hippolyta- her mom- and Miss America, which will be fun because we'll have all there super heroines together in a story. But the general idea is from afar that Diana (aka Wonder Woman) can take a look at what he mother did on a human scale to influence the women and the rest of the people of that time. And it's about a year since Hippolyta died in last summer's 'Our World's At War' crossover so this will be a nice little homage and it'll be a nice homage to Hippolyta, who's always nice to draw. I've also never drawn the World War 2 era before, so it's a nice change too. Then the comedy ensues as well because a herd of dinosaurs get stuck in WW2 Virginia and Trevor Barnes has to take care of them, while at the same time as the remaining members of Villainy Inc get loose. It's kind of a big farce because as he's trying to find and defeat these women, he has to keep this herd of dinosaurs hidden from the locals. Part of the point of the story too is to have fun and hopefully people understand that the point of the story is to have fun- it's supposed to be a farce so people can have fun while there's also the more serious aspect with Diana as well. Following all that, we're going to wrap up the Cheetah/Silver Swan story - they haven't been seen since issue #175- and the final issue will be Trevor and Diana finally being able to go on their date uninterrupted."
While "Wonder Woman" has featured some talented pencillers in Jimenez' absence, fans of his work shouldn't worry- he'll be back doing double duties soon enough. "I'll be back with issue #184 and I'm already done #185."