The Tom & Lorenzo Archives: 2006 -2011
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Getting Our Nerd On


Like you, we read the following and jumped with glee and clapped our little gay hands:

"On Aug. 26, Marvel will release the first issue of “Models Inc.,” a sartorially minded mini-series that unites some of its fashion-friendly supporting characters and pushes them into new starring roles.

The runway divas include Millicent Collins (a k a Millie the Model), Patsy Walker, also known as the superheroine Hellcat, and Mary Jane, the model-turned actress who is the sometimes wife of Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man.

Enter Tim Gunn of “Project Runway.” In the debut issue’s second story, Mr. Gunn becomes an action figure — jumping into Iron Man’s suit of armor to save a fashion exhibition from evildoers."

"It’s certainly a departure from Mr. Gunn’s usual role as a mentor to aspiring designers, but there is a connection. Mr. Gunn said he remembered comic books with Millicent, who first appeared in 1945. She was a comic romantic figure, who worked as a model for the Hanover agency.

Mr. Gunn will grace one version of the first cover of “Models Inc.,” drawn by Phil Jimenez, a popular comic book artist who also illustrated the cover of “Amazing Spider-Man” No. 583, which paired Spidey with President Obama. A sales analysis on the Beat, the comic blog of Publishers Weekly, estimated that more than 520,000 copies of the issue were sold."

But perhaps unlike you, we had a second reaction. "Phil Jimenez is drawing the cover! How perfect!"


You see darlings, it's well documented that we are fabulous. It is perhaps not so well documented that one of us is a hardcore nerd of the comicbook variety (Tom) and the name Phil Jimenez was very familiar to him from his work on ... oh geez, you name it. He's drawn everyone from Spider-Man to Wonder Woman (which he also wrote for a while) and because of the nature of this little corner of the blogosphere, it's notable that he is one of a very small number of gay comics creators working in the mainstream industry (which is code for "super-heroes"). All of the artwork in this post (with the exception of the vintage Millie and Patsy covers) are from his hand. As you can see, he's got quite the knack for drawing voluptuous kickass women.

We figured we could use our combined powers of nerdiness and fabulosity to offer a take more interesting than the bland NYT writeup, so what did we do? Well, we got in touch with BOTH Phil AND Tim to give us their thoughts on the upcoming book. First up, Phil:

A little birdie told us that you're friends with Tim. How did you two meet?

In one of those fantastic twists of fate, Tim used to work with my boyfriend Joe at Parsons. I'd had the good fortune of socializing with Tim in the past, and several friends of mine and I even threw him a Project Runway dinner party, replete with fried food and ornaments from Red Lobster (where we cornered him for hours and drilled him on behind the scenes secrets of the show), to celebrate his TV success. I've only seen Tim a couple of times in the past two years -- he's famous now, you know, or so I heard -- but we like to think back and dream about those days "we knew him when..."

Are you a fan of Project Runway? Are you into fashion?
Project Runway is one of my favorite TV shows ever; a group of my friends and I get together every week and watch a slew of reality shows with Project Runway and Top Chef always primed on the DVR. I'm obsessed with reality competition shows, especially ones where talented people have to perform on air, under extreme time constraints and bizarre circumstances, and make something amazing. Further, so many of these shows hinge on casting, and Project Runway is cast EXTREMELY well.

I'm waiting for the comic book version of such a show. Talk about casting --!

I love fashion, but I'm not into fashion. I have some favorite designers, but I wish I knew more and I always wish I was more experimental with my own personal fashion. I also think it's incredibly important to at least be aware of trends and designs, especially outside the United States. Not only are these looks inspirational, but are crafted with a point of view often so different from my own. I love that. I think artists of all types should look to inspiration beyond their limited circle; you never know what sort of wonders you might find. Beyond that, fashion trends tend to tell us about the tenor and mood of a season, a nation, a people. Fashion's a wonderful barometer for tracking social and political trends, and so I try to keep up with it when I can.

I also send my drawing students to see fashion shows and exhibits when I can, so they can see how garments hang on real people, especially women.

It should be said that I do use a lot of fashion designers as inspiration for character costumes, trying to mix and match traditional super-hero tropes with some of the more fantastic aspects of modern fashion (the new Kraven in the Amazing Spider-Man is an example of that).


As an artist, what's the one trait you have to nail in order to portray Tim? Or is there more than one? Did he pose for you?
Tim was actually very easy to draw. Part of this is knowing him from the show, part of it is having met him in real life and knowing his persona, his mannerisms, his body language. The trait that was easiest to go for was that, "I'm concerned" look Tim does so well, with one brow raised and his lips slightly pursed. That's just so...HIM.

Tim didn't pose for me; I found numerous pictures of him online and in magazines, and used two or three to make the portrait.


You also drew the much-reported cover to Amazing Spider-Man #583 with President Obama. Which real-life person was easier to draw, him or Tim?
TIM! Talk about pressure with Obama! And least if I f***d up Tim's drawing, I could apologize in person! Nobody wants to mess up a portrait of the new president, especially one with such a high approval rating!

Will we see Tim in spandex?

I'm not sure about spandex (it takes a special type to pull spandex off in the light of day), but I'm told Tim might end up sporting some pretty fancy armor...

There was a time when characters like Millie and Patsy headlined their own books. Do you think mainstream comics can still branch out from superheroes and highlight other interests, like fashion? Is there an untapped fashionista market for comics?
You tell me! I have a hard time believing most Vogue editors would go to a comic book store every week to pick up their comics. However, I do think that if you could make comics for and about them, and provide them in a platform they would enjoy, they could make them. It's a constant debate in our medium which, like the rest of publishing, has shrunk considerably as we compete against the internet for attention. Will anyone read comics if you just make ones for them? Will they read them in the standard format? If you make lots of comic books about models and fashionistas, would they support them? Comic reading is an acquired skill and language. Some people get them. Others don't. I'm not sure -- I have no answer -- that it's simply a matter of making comic books for a target audience. I think the audience has to also be inherently interested in the medium. This is why I think we need to get more kids/teens reading comics -- get them young, and develop their interest early!


In a similar vein, as one of the few openly gay creators working in mainstream comics, do you think there's an untapped gay market out there? We're living proof that there are plenty of gays reading mainstream comics, but there aren't many comics (none, really) that are openly courting the gays. How can we get our brothers and sisters interested in this medium?

There's an substantial segment of comic readers who are openly gay -- I see it every year, and belong to groups like the GLA, an organization of gay comic fans, and at the Gays in Comics Panel at the San Diego Comiccon, our industry's largest event (which is so well attended it has, in the past, been spread over two days). And wow, there are lots of gays behind the scenes, actively trying to shake things up and bring their point of view and sensibility to this kind of work. I see it every day, and it's wonderful.

However, mainstream super-hero comics still cater to a very particular audience and still tell a particular kind of story. Many super-hero comic readers are actually quite conservative, and I'm not sure how they'd accept, or not accept (and therefore purchase in quantity) comic books about gay male leads (lesbians are a little safer, as long as they're hot, like Batwoman). On the other hand, a lot of my gay friends just love a good super-hero yarn, and read Green Lantern or Avengers as voraciously as straight folks, with or without gay content. I think mainstream super-hero comics court a certain kind of reader -- gay or straight -- who appreciate a particular kind of power fantasy. Developing more fully rounded gay characters within those books, though -- that should be a major priority for creators, and should always be a demand from progressive-minded consumers.

However, there's wonderful material out there for gay readers from independent companies, and some terrific gay themed material in DC Comics' Vertigo line. And there are certain characters that always seem to appeal to gay readers (Wonder Woman, the X-Men) because of content, camp value, child-hood love, etc. If I were in charge of these companies, I'd definitely target that material to the gays, and advertise quite heavily to them (and maybe generate comics in easier to find formats that the gays could get to, and then invest in!).


Thanks Phil! If you're interested in finding out more about Phil's work, you can always start at Amazon, but chances are your local bookstore has a couple collected editions of titles he's worked on, like Wonder Woman and X-Men and Invisibles (buy it for the Brazilian drag queen/voodoo witch character) and Infinite Crisis. Also, Models, Inc., co-starring our very own Tim Gunn will be in your local comic shop on August 26th.

Next up, Sir Tim! We caught him in the middle of doing something whirlwind, since that's all he ever does anymore and he was typically funny, polite and deviously gossip-y. We can only print the part where he talked about Phil and the comic:

"The Marvel comic book is too surreal for words. I’m in a state of awe. What’s more, do you know how fabulously talented the great Phil Jimenez is? He’s a legend of the industry. I never dreamed that Phil would do the cover. It’s such an incredible honor. (And did you meet Phil? If not, then you need to know that he’s one of the few men I would ever describe as being simultaneously stunning and adorable. He is!) So, August will be some month: Project Runway 6 launches on the 20th and the comic book on the 26th!"

And then he dropped some hints about how excited he is about the season and how he can't wait until we see this ONE THING that happens that's apparently going to drive us crazy. He's such a little tease.





[Photo: Getty Images?Phil Jimenez/DC Comics/Marvel Entertainment/
Wikipedia]


Post a Comment
65 comments:

Tim Gunn to the rescue! I can't wait.


Wow. Fabulous interview with Phil Jimenez, boys. I have a new crush. He is ADORABLE and obviously very, very bright and talented. He sounds so frickin' smart. He's the total package. Now if only I was a gay man.... I am not a fan of comic books, but I am totally smitten with Phil Jimenez. Sigh...

Thanks for doing all the work you do, TLo. The fabulousness just never stops!


I love this blog; you cover everything I dig as of this entry. xD

Tom, did you ever read The Authority? Two of the superheroes are lovers in it (they're both men), and it's a really great read. If you haven't, you'll want to start from the beginning with Vol. 1.


Wow, you bitches are CONNECTED!
Loved the interview!


August is going to be a wonderful month!


What a way to pair two things I adore: comic books and Project Runway/Tim Gunn. When I read the initial newstory, I thought I was in heaven; now you guys made it even more potentially sublime! Thanks!

Oh yeah, and besides Phil's incredible looks and outsized talent, you have to love someone who has the temerity to throw a Red Lobster-themed party for The Gunn.


Mariana (The Unoriginal)

This is awesome!! My boyfriend is a HUGE comic book fan (Marvel mostly), he'll love this.


Awesome! I can't wait to but it.

Phil is cute : )


Doing a happy dance over here! Thanks for the interview, and I can't wait for August. Love Phil's work!


OMG! How fantastic this is, and the mainstream media isn't even writing about it...grrrr. I have a 'Modeling with Millie' issue from 1964 for sale in my shop, with the magnificent Millicent Collins running for political office (I found the whimsy and irony of this early '60s story line DELICIOUS in all of its dimensions!). Thanks so much, TLo..once again, your depth and breadth of knowledge is amazing.


His Wonder Woman looks like Madonna's current incarnation -- not good.


yay! Now the whole family can go to the comic book store on Saturdays, instead of just dad and the squids...


Oh, and maybe Laura Bennet's character can make an appearance... They should contact Robert Best!


Can't wait until August.

And, I am going to repeat myself, cause I commented this elsewhere ...

I think they should create a special Iron Man Suit paint job, just for Timm Gunn = Dark Blue Pinstrips with White Gold accents, doncha think?

Phil Jimenez -- do a special poster and it will sell like hot cakes! I'll buy some for my bedroom wall, like a teenage fan boy.

Just sayin-

P.S. TLO, yall get the BEST interviews and I am soooo green with envy.

P.P.S. I know yall are working hard, but when you head to Fire Island later in June, take some time to relax and enjoy each other cause yall have been WORKIN it lately and BRINGIN the best!!

P.P.P.S. You two are the hardest workin gurls these days!!! And we sooo appreciate it!!!


Wow. Cool interview. What an amazing guy Phil Jimenez is, so young to be so sucessful too.

Spiderman, Ironman, Superman, Batman, they're HUGE in this house.
My fantasy career for one of my sons is in comic book/graphic illustration.

~~~~~~~~~~~
I loved Millie and her arch rival Chili when I was a child in the 70's and sometimes at the used bookstore you could find Katy Keene, she was a model comic from the 40's that looked like Betty Page.


Actually Phil did have a faboo but brief run as Wonder Woman's writer and artist. He's actually considered to have 1 of the best takes on her character after George Perez (and George is a pretty faboo gay friendly fellow himself).

Phil's a pretty respected artist who is known for rich details and someone who is good with female characters. A rare find amongst comic book artists

Frank

You bitches are into everything-I love it!


Heyy!!! Maybe Alex could do a special Partay at Rocketship!!!

And Maybe Alex could do a special strip for TLO about the new season of Runway and Timm Gunn and Models, Inc!!! How very meta-meta and cross promotional ...

Yall are so connected!!! Make a few calls and make something happen.

Just sayin-

P.S. And I do agree that Laura Bennet's character (from Robert Best with love) should make a special cross-over appearance!

P.P.S. And they should add another item to the list of wonderful prizes for Project Runway ... a special guest appearance in Models, Inc. comic book ...


To PJ: I know of several "mainstream media" outlets that are talking about the Tim Gunn comic book, including NPR.


Fantastic, guys! I guess I have to buy my first comic book : )


Great news, great interview and Phil is so young.
I can't wait for August! I miss Tim so much!!


"flaming_mo said...

What a way to pair two things I adore: comic books and Project Runway/Tim Gunn."


I know, right? That's so cool.


What a hoot to see the Millie the Model comic cover. I read that as a kid but haven't thought of it in years. Is it still published? That, along with the Archie comics, was one of the few comics that seemed to appeal to girls. So much of the comic book universe seems specifically targeted to male adolescents.

Can't wait to see the Tim Gunn comic. TLo, can you tell us where we can buy it? I have no clue where to buy comics. They don't seem to be sold in any bookstore I visit.

And yes, Phil Jiminez is a total hottie.


I remember those model comics. There really was a day when models shaped like Patsy and Millie could get work, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and a model was expected to be a size 8.


I have a love, not a voracious love, but a love, for comics so I will definitely be picking these up in August. My boyfriend on the other hand is of the superfan variety so maybe I can get him to read, after all he did enjoy the lovely and girly Spiderman loves Mary Jane series.
Interview was fabulous, I'm happy to share the Jimenez last name ;)


PJ said, the mainstream media isn't even writing about it.

Honey, I heard about this a couple of weeks ago in the New York Times. If that's not mainstream media, I don't know what is.


I can't believe I am saying this, but my bobblehead doll of Tim needs a friend. I haven't bought an action figure since Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Cowabunga.


Margo Anderson said...
I remember those model comics. There really was a day when models shaped like Patsy and Millie could get work, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and a model was expected to be a size 8.



Oh, Margo I hate to do this, but...

In the 1940's models were expected to be a size "12". The US Bureau of standards "12" in the 40s was 30- 25-33. Yes that's 30" bust on a size 12.
In the 1970's a size "8" measured 31-1/2- 24- 33-1/2.
So, yes models once did wear an "8" but it wasn't the same "8" that you buy at the store today.

If you go over to the Bravo site you will find the size they are now calling "0" measures 31-23-33. Which by the way is not a standard size, it is vanity sizing run-a-muck.


I can't wait for this comic to come out! I don't read a lot of American comics anymore (I'm more into manga these days), but I'll be looking for this one.

Does anyone know if it can be pre-ordered online or if I have to find an actual store?


Boys - thanks for the great interviews! I am always thrilled to hear about other queer comic book nerds like myself, especially ones that are as fabulous as you both are. Phil is super dreamy and incredibly talented and I thought what he had to say about the industry was fascinating and smart. Bring him back! With more pictures! I hope this won't be the last time you boys blog about the world of comics - a smart gay perspective and commentary is much needed. Thanks so much!!


What, no mention of the Mizrahi comic books about "Sandee the Supermodel"?! I bought a set of those a dozen years ago for my best (gay) friend and we were both thrilled to read them.

But this sounds SO MUCH BETTER. I haven't bought many comics since the 70s when I too read Millie and Archie titles, but I will definitely look into this.

Thanks for the fabulous report!


Oooh, and I agree: we need Robert Best to contribute to that crossover with Laura!!


I love superheroes, I love PR, I love Tim, and I love Phil, but I'm taking a pass on this one. The concept of putting a RL celeb in the Iron Man suit makes my eye twitch -- the Colbert stuff during the election was bad enough. This is way too silly and pandering for my taste.


formerlyAnon

Your interviews are an ongoing treat, now - no longer rare, exciting happenings. If I start getting jaded & taking for granted, somebody slap me upside the head.

I heard they announced that Archie will be marrying Veronica later this year! If it's true, that is SO wrong. The vain ho is gonna cheat!


Great interview, guys! Very interesting info, I didn't know anything about these comic books.


LOVE IT!!

NERDS = FASHION = UNITED!


C'est moi, c'est moi Lola

I don't think anyone else has made the comment, but since I'm always willing to go lowbrow:

Tim Gunn in Iron Man's pants - who would've thought it?

Thanks for the interview boys!


Tim Gunn IS a superhero!

What a fitting homage!


I want to see Tim in tight LOL Please?


Excellent interview for anyone who likes to read comic books. Thanks, guys.


" FashionFanatic said...
Wow, you bitches are CONNECTED!
Loved the interview!"

It's amazing.

I'm so glad Tim Gunn keeps in touch with you guys. I still remember the Ode to Tim Gunn post you guys wrote long time ago and your first trip to Emmett's store; that's when I first discovered your blog and fell in love.

Congrats Tim, Phil, Boys!!


gigglehairflip

So cool, guys. Thank you for this! And Phil is a hottie. Just sayin' : )


JUST when I think you guys have given me the best, you blow me away with another incredible post. Awesome! Tim Gunn is my hero!!!


We've all known for years that Tim Gunn is a super hero.

God, I love that man!


I can see Tim looking at himself in the mirror in the Iron Man garb and saying, "Hmm, this is a lotta look!"


Sewing Siren said, So, yes models once did wear an "8" but it wasn't the same "8" that you buy at the store today.


That is so true! I remember several years ago when, for a benefit, a women's group I know tried to find a member who could fit a Size 12 1940's WAVE uniform. They finally had to get someone's size 4 daughter to model it.


re: Gay-themed comics - there was also Northstar, from the Canadian superhero team Alpha Flight, who I believe was one of the first superheroes clearly identified as gay in mainstream comics (Marvel). I was in my early teens (early 1990s) when he came out in the series, and I remember being both stunned (that Marvel was recognizing sexual diversity) and delighted.


"Robert said...
I can see Tim looking at himself in the mirror in the Iron Man garb and saying, "Hmm, this is a lotta look!"

LOL. I can so hear him say that.


" flaming_mo said...
Oh yeah, and besides Phil's incredible looks and outsized talent, you have to love someone who has the temerity to throw a Red Lobster-themed party for The Gunn."


True.


I squeeked with glee when I heard about this. Tim Gunn in THE Iron Man suit? Comics AND Project Runway? DO WANT.

I'm surprised you boys haven't blogged about it until now! :D Fab interview, LOVE Jimenez.

Now if only Tim would say, in Watchmen style, "I'm used to going out at 3 AM in the morning to do something stupid." THAT would blow my brains out, tbh.


I am a giant comic book nerd, so melding two (well, maybe three if you include Tim Gunn) of my favorite things in the entire world is so exciting I can't even bring myself to use the caps lock key.

..Okay, maybe a little.

EEEEEEEE!!!! *dances* :D :D :D <3!!!


"You also drew the much-reported cover to Amazing Spider-Man #583 with President Obama. Which real-life person was easier to draw, him or Tim?
TIM! Talk about pressure with Obama! And least if I f***d up Tim's drawing, I could apologize in person! Nobody wants to mess up a portrait of the new president, especially one with such a high approval rating!"


Fucking awesome, guys. I had no idea about this. Very interesting.


Love it <3

I just wish that more women could get into comics


PinkPrincess

"And then he dropped some hints about how excited he is about the season and how he can't wait until we see this ONE THING that happens that's apparently going to drive us crazy. He's such a little tease."

Oh, I can't wait.


" Dan said...

Boys - thanks for the great interviews! I am always thrilled to hear about other queer comic book nerds like myself, especially ones that are as fabulous as you both are."


YES! We're here. We're comic book queers.


Aw. Thanks you guys!

This is all so cool.


formerlyAnon,

They can say that Archie will be marrying Veronica, but we all know that they will move into a tiny, Brooklyn apartment, have a huge fight, she'll throw a cat and a computer and Archie will call 9-1-1 and press charges.


How I love that you are comic book geeks. Another reason this blog feels like home!


I will buy, definitely, to find out if Sir Tim and Jarvis have the bitchiest dialogue ever between man and supercomputer.


Love comics, love Tim Gunn, LOVE THIS BLOG!
Forever and ever.
As someone who doesn't know that many people who like both fashion and comics, I <3 this little bastion on the net.


Love the interview, guys!


Honesty.not.pc

AWESOME! So excited about the interview. I am a huge comic book nerd (I collect DareDevil comics) and was so excited when I saw this article.

Thanks for the post, comic books, fashion and Tim Gunn... I am in Heaven!!!!


I think MARVEL needs Gunn's rival; I make Tim Gunn look like a nun! Take that - RUN-a-WAY!


This is freakin' awesome. I'm more excited about this than PR. Tim truly is a superhero! : )


I believe that this comic should feature Tim Gunn fighting the Beauty Butcher, and he gets his own awesome pinstripe Iron Man armor.

This will definitely be featured on a future episode of The Geekly World News:

geeklyworldnews.blogspot.com


Great interview, guys (as if you need somebody else to confirm it).

Hardcore comic geek, hardcore Project Runway fan. Yet straight AND I have a kickass fiance. Go figure. In fact, she got me hooked on PR and its slightly inferior spawn, The Fashion Show.

Anyhoo, I agree with Deliciously Girly's comment. If you haven't checked out THE AUTHORITY (even if you're not a comic reader), please do. Midnighter & Apollo are the gay equivalent of Batman & Superman. Great art, great writing.

It's good to see comics opening up to gay characters that aren't blatantly thrown into a story (i.e. Northstar from ALPHA FLIGHT). Okay, the geek stripes are showing a little too much. I should just go.





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