Artist Jorge Jiménez returns to Justice League this week for an epic storyline pitting the team against a future version of themselves, and for Jorge it's also the debut of a new side of himself: a writer.
This week's Justice League #19 marks the artist's first time co-writing a comic book at DC, and is also the first book under his just-renewed 'exclusive' contract with the publisher. The original contract was signed back in 2016 as he segued from Earth-2 to Super Sons in the early days of "Rebirth," but now the artist has become one of the company's top talents with his dynamic work on Justice League.
With news of this new contract, his writing debut, and the new Justice League arc, Newsarama spoke with Jiménez and co-writer Scott Snyder about how it all came together, and what's to come. Thanks to Pepe Caldelas, Jorge's agent from Nutopi@ Agency, for helping facilitate this interview.
Newsarama: Jorge, what are you working on today?
Jorge Jiménez: Now I'm working on the Justice League series with the great Scott Snyder, in the arc "The Sixth Dimension," where I draw all the issues and have had the pleasure of helping on a part of the script. So... Basically, I'm doing my most important comic so far and I´m very excited and looking forward to showing it to you.
Nrama: Scott, how would you descibe working with Jorge?
Scott Snyder: Frankly, it's inspiring to work with him. He’s the best kind of partner - confident and visionary, a risk taker, but also hungry to challenge himself. He’s a great guy, too - kind and generous full of passion. It's always a great bonus when you become buddies with a creator you hope to work with far into the future.
Nrama: Jorge, this week's Justice League #19 is your return to drawing the series, but the co-writing aspect is completely new. How did that come about?
Jiménez: Scott. He made this possible. Some time ago he told me that he was open to ideas that I can think of, that he is passionate about teamwork, and that being able to dialogue between writer and artist is one of the most beautiful phases of creating comics. The thing is that what Scott said was totally true! He is really humble.
Snyder: When we started together, Jorge told me about a sequence he had in mind, this scene with Superman he’d always wanted to try - he had it in his head for years. I don’t want to go too much into the scene itself, because it'd spoil part of our story, but it was a quintessential representation of who Superman is, and also really different than anything I'd ever seen. Extremely creative.
Jiménez: So I talked to him about an idea that occurred to me and that I would love to draw someday, about Superman, but it would never work in the Superman series, or Action Comics (when you read the comics you will know why), but that would be great for Justice League. So I did a complete storyboard and wrote text explaining my intention. And to my surprise... he told me that it would fit perfectly in his Justice League plans!
Snyder: I think sometimes people assume that writers don’t want any kind of ideas from our creative partners because we want to come up with everything ourselves, but most of us love the collaborative potential with these kinds of creative partnerships. If Jorge has a great idea for something, or any artist has one, I’m happy to incorporate it, use it to inspire better stuff from me, and of course credit them properly.
Jiménez: And with some adjustments by him, I have to admit that it is much better than what I had initially thought of! Because he is Snyder! [Laughs]
Nrama: I'm told you two talk frequently. What are those conversations like?
Jiménez: Whenever Scott is writing issues in which I'm involved, and he comes up with some great idea, he says "Dude, this will be amazing!"
He knows how to infect that positive energy, then I immediately start asking and asking, because I am very emotional and when I am immersed in a project; I am like a small child playing with their action figures. I think we are both very similar in our way of working and focusing day-by-day.
Normally, we talk about work and technical issues, maybe something that I cannot understand and he quickly clarifies for me, other times we end up talking about references, or other forms of art, without going further I think that I have gotten his whole family hooked on anime! [Laughs]
Nrama: In this new arc, you are getting to design a Justice League of Tomorrow. This isn't your first time doing alt versions of the Justice League, given your previous Earth-2 work. What can you say about the Justice League of Tomorrow?
Jiménez: I don't want to give out any spoilers, but I will talk about the asthetic designs of these characters.
They are from an indefinite period in the the future, so practically all of the characters have aged - and gotten more experience. They had to look very powerful, but also with a certain elitist air with heavenly style and touches of gold - as if they were demi-gods more than superheroes now.
Speaking of Earth-2, I took the opportunity here to use part of my Earth-2 Batman design - specifically the gabardine coat with Japanese sleeves. Sorry, but I was proud of those sleeves and I wanted to get one more time with that design for those who did not see it in Earth-2. [Laughs]
Nrama: This arc debuts just as I have learned you renewed your exclusive with DC for another two years. In the two years since your first exclusive contract, you jumped from Super Sons to Action Comics and ultimately here with Justice League. What is it about your recent work with DC that made it the right choice for you to renew?
Jiménez: My time on Super Sons was magical in many ways, I have been working in comics for years, but I notice exponentially the arrival of new readers to my work thanks to this series and my passage through "Rebirth"'s Superman. It also coincided with Scott knocking on my door and DC giving me the opportunity to do Justice League.
DC has bet on me, and I feel protected and very cared for by the publisher and my editors. I am working on one of the best series, with all my favorite characters, and one of the star writers of the moment. With this scenario, obviously, I want to keep working hard, doing my best, and see what the future holds.
Nrama: Scott, you've worked with numerous artists over the years at DC, but Jorge seems to have burst out of nowhere and become one of DC's top artists. To you, what makes his work so infectious?
Snyder: I could go on about the particulars of his work: the wildly fresh blend of digital and traditional styles, the textures he uses nobody else does, the manga influence, all of that’s there.
His style is so immediately recognizable as his because it’s elastic and energized and yet also full of emotion.
But I really think his secret weapon - the thing that has made him the fastest rising star in comic book art, and deservedly so - is his passion. His passion for comics, the characters, the fans, and his craft. He's genuinely all heart. It keeps me young as a writer, keeps me hungry and energized and I’m deeply grateful to him, and grateful we’re partners and friends.
Nrama: Jorge, for this exclusive, is there something specific - be it characters, creators, editors, or simply the pay - that makes it worthwhile for you?
Jiménez: Working as a comic book artist is magically, but soetimes it's very hard too. And it's even harder than that if your dream is to be among the best. That means giving up many things, and to have a period of your life in which you have to foresake doing other things.
However as a child I spent hours drawing; it was my entertainment... it was my game. I see all of this as if it were a comic book story itself, and drawing is my 'superpower.' It is what makes me special, and I believe in making the most of our abilities - and showing ourselves and others the importance of exploring our limits. This is the best way to live a life and contribute something positive to society.
That's why if you have the perfect opportunity with one of the great editorial groups ever, and that makes your work reach every corner of the world... Yes, in my opinion, all of that effort is worth it.
Nrama: Big picture, what are your career goals for 2019 and beyond?
Jiménez: I don´t have a fixed goal. I just want to stay happy doing what I love... keep drawing comics!
Nrama: Scott, as a writer, writing professor, and former lead of DC's Writer's Workshop, could you see Jorge doing more comics writing - if he wanted to?
Snyder: Oh sure! Obviously he’s one of the best artists in the business, but I think one of the things that makes his style so special is his storytelling. Moment to moment, beat to beat, he tells a story in a highly emotional but also dynamic way. To my mind he’s already a double threat. [Laughs]