Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Drawn to Sprider-Man: Out Comic Book Writer Phil Jimenez Went from Drawing Wonder Woman to Subbing for Tobey Maguire's Hands on the Spider-Man Set

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Drawn to Sprider-Man: Out Comic Book Writer Phil Jimenez Went from Drawing Wonder Woman to Subbing for Tobey Maguire's Hands on the Spider-Man Set

Article excerpt

Walloping webslingers, Spider-Man has gay hands! Out comic book artist Phil Jimenez, who currently writes DC's Wonder Woman series, earned his acting chops as a hand double for Spider-Man star Tobey Maguire in the Marvel superhero's bigscreen debut, opening May 3. Watch closely: After Maguire's character, nerdy Peter Parker, gains fantastic abilities from a radioactive spider bite, he sits down to sketch out the outfit he'll wear as Spider-Man. Enter Jimenez--or at least his hands.

The audition process involved no line readings but plenty of line drawings. "I created these fake high school notebooks with lots of drawings [and phony class notes]," he says, "and I E-mailed them digital pictures of my hands. Turns out my hands are an awful lot like Tobey's, and I got the job."

Spider-Man director Sam Raimi filmed several close-ups of Jimenez sketching superhero costumes, but the artist saw little of Maguire. The bulk of their time together was in the makeup trailer, having identical swollen spider bites applied to their hands. "We just saw each other a couple of times, shook hands," Jimenez says. "He was really working hard, focused on his work. I love any actor who does a superhero movie and takes the work seriously. I was really impressed."

Jimenez spent a week on the set, creating Parker's sketch-filled notebooks as well as artwork specifically for the close-ups. Because Raimi had to personally approve--or reject--hundreds of sketches, the director kept Jimenez nearby, relegated to an old couch in the editing rooms or stuck at the dining table in Spider-Man's kitchen set.

The couch and kitchen table were familiar territory for Jimenez. Early in his comic book career, unable to pay tuition at New York's School of Design, he wound up crashing with a pal. "A friend of mine let me stay on his couch for a year free," he says, "with the condition that if I became successful, I'd do the same for him. So I spent most of my 21st year sleeping on his couch and drawing [comic book] art on his kitchen table." As it turned out, he soon landed a job at DC Comics and was able to return his friend's favor.

Jimenez, 31, has been an avid comic reader since his early teens, although Spider-Man was not his first choice among superheroes. "My favorite characters were almost always women: Wonder Woman, Storm of the X-Men, the Scarlet Witch--or even Spider-Woman," he says. "I believe it's because these women were strong, powerful characters and the objects of desire of men. …

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