The Master Of Modern Comics Noir
♦ Tripwire’s editor-in-chief JOEL MEADOWS hosted a number of panels at the inaugural Portsmouth Comic Con, which took place two weekends ago. Here is his panel chat with Sean Phillips (Kill or Be Killed, Criminal)…
Sean Phillips began his career very early on working on girls comics like Bunty and Judy in the UK. He then moved on to draw strips for Fleetway’s Crisis and in the U.S., Hellblazer at DC’s Vertigo imprint.
He recalled his early days working as an artist in an interview with newsarama back in 2013: “I started drawing for the British girls comics when I was fifteen, pencilling for a comic artist called Ken Houghton. I’d been attending his evening art class which taught cartooning at my school since I was thirteen, and after a couple of years Ken thought I was good enough to give me a chance. I penciled for him and he saved it with his inks. Back then in the early 80s there were plenty of weekly anthology comics aimed at girls of every age and they were always looking to fill their pages every week.” Newsarama Sean Phillips interview
After working on Judge Dredd Megazine and 2000 AD, Phillips returned to the U.S. and began his collaboration with Ed Brubaker, firstly on Scene Of A Crime for DC, and later on Criminal for Marvel / Image.His other major work includes Marvel Zombies and he has also created many covers for DVDs and Blu Rays for companies like Arrow and Criterion. He continued to work with Brubaker on Sleeper for Wildstorm, followed by other noir series such as Criminal, Fatale, Incognito, The Fade Out and current Image smash hit Kill Or Be Killed, all featuring his highly evocative artwork, reminiscent of Dave Gibbons at his finest. Kill Or Be Killed has been optioned for the big screen with John Wick helmer Chad Stahelski attached as its director.
Back in an interview in 2014 with Flickering Myth, he admitted that despite drawing a lot of crime comics, he wasn’t necessarily a big reader or fan of this particular genre:”Actually, I’m not a particular fan of the genre. I’ve not read or seen hardly any of the classic books or movies. It just suits the way I draw!” Flickering Myths Sean Phillips interview
Considered by many to be one of the best in the industry, Phillips’s work continues to receive widespread acclaim. He is also one of the patrons of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, which is now in its sixth year. He is arguably one of the finest British comic artists still working today.