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Sexuality & Gender in Comics | First Person #9 | PBS Digital Studios


[INTRO MUSIC]
–Well, hello. We’re here at Bergen St. Comics, it’s an amazing place to get comic books,
and the reason that we are here is bcause today we’re talking to Phil Jiminez who’s
a writer and an illustrator for Marvel and DC, and we’re gonna be sitting down and talking
to Phil about the intersections between queer communities and comics. [TITLE MUSIC] –So I was totally shocked and..
–What’s the first time that you remember like sitting down and drawing.
–I’ve been holding a pencil since I can remember, there’s actually a little drawing over there
of Wonder Woman that I did when I was 7. –Oh, my god.
–I was like, oh that’s actually pretty good. –It is — amazing.
[Laughs] –I’m Phil Jiminez. and I’m a writer and artist
for DC and Marvel Comics. [Music] –It’s not a big deal, but I’m being turned
into a super hero at this very moment, so… –Portraits are all about capturing not just
traits, but the spirit of a person. –So what I’ve gathered is I’m very spirited. [Laughs] –You are very spirited. –How do you identify? –I absolutely identify as gay, probably more
than anything else, I knew that I was different at very young age, and I feel like I grew
up creating fantasies in my head all because of the sense of difference, if I told 7-year
old Phil that he would grow up to become a big deal comic book artist, I think he would
look at me and then turn back to the pad that he was drawing on, completely disinterested. –Talk to me about when you realized this
could be something that you did. –As a child, like a lot of children, I was
a big fan of monsters, dinosaurs, and sharks I used to love museums, diaoramas, and the
objects in glass cases, people design these spaces to tell stories, and they were taking
me on stories with them, and what I wanted to do was in turn tell stories, when I discovered
comic books in my teen years, the ting that blew me away was not just the fantastical
elements about them, but this narrative visual. –I came out in comics in the 1990’s in the
back of a comic book called Tempest in a tribute to my boyfriend Neil Posner who is the man
who hired me at DC comics, and had died the year before. –I cannot imagine a safer, more wonderful
place to have been out and gay, and the other thing that was really incredible was coming
out to a fandom that was hyper accepting. –I’ve always experienced so much of what
happens in the land of super heroes as a direct parallel to being a gay man, being a queer
woman, being othered, has that been your experience? –It has been my experience, I think only
in recent years have I realized how much by attending all these comic book conventions,
and seeing young people. Groups like geeks out, who did flame con, they see the medium
and try to interpret it through queer eyes, and sort of are able to actually manifest
its queer-ness.Like in a very visible vocal way, and um, make it more obvious to people
who are not sure that would have thought of it that way, just 20 years ago. –Right –Flamecon is New York City’s first LGBT comic
convention. It’s pretty awesome. –What really excited me about Flamecon was
seeing all these new, young artists across the LGBTQ spectrum presenting their work,
and their wares, and getting attention, and it was one of the best, most spirited, most
sexy conventions I’ve ever been to. –And you’ve done work on, um, X-Men characters,
right? –Oh yeah. –I have a big passion for the relationship
between like the mutant society Vs. the non-mutant society. — X-Men has often stood as a metaphor for
difference in the past 2 decades the difference really equates to being gay. To me the X-Men
was always a positive symbol as much as one that suggested sort of darker underpinnings
of the way human beings interact with each other. Yeah, they’re being persecuted, but
they’re so badass. –But they’re so badass and their beautiful
doing it, and they’ve created a world for themselves, they’ve created a life for themselves,
so despite that, umm, persecution, despite that the fact that sometimes they have to
hide away. They’ve created a niche for themselves. They can join hands and fight the world. –For me, umm there was sort of a beautiful
element to the X-Men too and that they had crafted these amazing lives, fabulous lives
for themselves. Certainly sheltered from humanity, but umm, they’d created a network of safety,
a place where mutants could be together, and be who they were and express who they were.
Comic books serve as outlets, right? So they’re not just entertainment, but they are projections
of fantasy, and so while I wanted the X-Men to serve as this you know, this utopian ideal
for me of fabulousness for many people the metaphor of otherness and fighting back against
those who persecute you, was very, very important. I can’t even begin to imagine how my relationship
to comics would be different if I wasn’t gay, because my reading of them has so much to
do with my identity, and my sense of myself and the way I navigate the world as an othered
person. –I wanted to ask you about these new characters
that are coming up, characters that are actually out as bi-sexual, as queer, as trans. –As long as I’ve been in the business, the
past 25 years there have always been some kind of character that represents queerness.
Usually gay, male characters. Sometimes gay, female characters, but what’s happened in
the past 20 years, is that we’ve seen, uhh people really champion them, and when I say
people I mean people behind the scenes who are making business choices. They care about
showing the diverse worlds they live in and they see financial opportunity in it. Even
though there are many now that are still relatively few, they end up becoming symbols. It’s an
unfair burden, I find for some of these characters, so what I’m looking forward to is even more
of them. The other thing I’m really interested in is how they are positioned in the larger
culture. SO using midnighter for example. Openly gay, makes comments about other guys
butts, etc., is still kind of like a kickass, leather wearing I’ll beat the shit out of
you, umm alpha male. What I get really excited about are the possibilities of expanding the
idea of what a queer character can be, and what a major company, publishes a book who’s
queer character doesn’t sort of still embody very straight archetype ideals. –Yeah, you want a character who breaks the
binary. –Yeah, completely, totally, aside from my
own personal social agenda, I think great stories come from that, right? It’s a new
point of view. –Comics are inherently gay, they’re inherently
queer if nothing else, and what’s beautiful about a medium like that is the ideas that
you can introduce subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, which can really have an impact
on the culture and certainly change the lives of the readers themselves. –I’m a superhero, I know I mentioned it a
couple of times, but this is amazing. Thank you so much. –Thank you! –Thank you for talking to us, but really
thank you for making me a super hero, you know I’m like I’m glad about the interview,
but this is really the money here. Thank you all for watching, and as always please subscribe
to our channel so you can keep seeing all the fun, amazing interviews that we have in
store for you, and today’s question for everyone at home is: I’ve been turned into a superhero
today, right? I have to think about what my super powers are going to be, but we want
to hear from all of you, who would you be as a superhero, and what would your super
powers be? Let us know in the comments, and have an awesome week! [OUTRO MUSIC] Subtitles by the Amara.org community

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16 thoughts on “Sexuality & Gender in Comics | First Person #9 | PBS Digital Studios

  1. Love this episode! Chad Sell is another great queer comic artist. Would love to see an interview with him!

  2. I think this is my favourite episode so far I loved it!! I don't know what I'd really do as a superhero but if I could have any power it would be to fly! Basically I love flying it just feels awesome but I guess I could fly around and save people 🙂

  3. What an amazing episode and perspective! It's so cool what Phil does and how he thinks about the ways in which his work interacts with the world and moving it forward. Loved the interview! Keep up the awesome work- it matters 🙂

  4. Rumble Girl: Power to control low frequency vibrations. Create localized earthquakes around my enemies, stop the quakes that cause Tsunamis… the list goes on!

  5. if i had a superpower, i think i'd want to be able to be a shapeshifter. kind of like a metamorphmagus from harry potter.

  6. I really like this concept of going for much more inexplored fields of the lgbtq+ community and related things to it such as non-monogamy or like here queerness in comics, because we already have so many interviews of white cis gay people but we also need to talk about less explored topics in the community, so awesome job on doing that you guys! I love the fact that I get to learn so much about my community 🙂

  7. Super Hero Name: Captain E
    Super Power: The ability to cause others to fully feel empathy for those who are dramatically different from themselves.

  8. Jimenez seems like a great guy–and he is cute…but I've never been a fan of his work.  I do know many people are though–so, more power to him.

  9. I've been reading a lot comics and queer media lately so this video fits in very nicely with that! American Comics have such a vivid history really, and especially queer comics. Right now I'm reading No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics edited by Justin Hall and it's really cool to see all of that queer comic history all together! I highly recommend it!

  10. So stoked about this episode, and SO HAPPY to see Billy and Teddy from Young Avengers! YA was my introduction to comics! Also, at the moment, I'm pretty sure the Young Avengers team is entirely queer!

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