Sean Phillips

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Sean Phillips
Self-portrait of Phillips, shot in c. 2008
Born (1965-01-27) 27 January 1965 (age 59)
United Kingdom
Notable works
Devlin Waugh
Marvel Zombies
Marvel Zombies 2
CollaboratorsJohn Smith, Ed Brubaker
Awards4x Eisner Award (2007, 2012, 2016, 2018)

Sean Phillips (born 27 January 1965)[1] is a British comic book artist, best known for his collaborations with Ed Brubaker on comics including Sleeper, Incognito, the Criminal series of comics, Fatale, The Fade Out, and Kill or Be Killed.

He has also worked on the DC Comics' series WildC.A.T.s and Hellblazer.[2]

Early life[edit]

Phillips grew up in the U.K. fascinated by American comics, particularly those published by Marvel Comics. As he got older, his influences included Jim Baikie, Simon Bisley, Jamie Hewlett, Duncan Fegredo, Bill Sienkiewicz, Dave McKean, and Jaime Hernandez.[3]


Phillips began his career in 1980 in British girls' comics such as Bunty, Judy and Nikki while still at school.[3] After graduating art college (Lowestoft Polytechnic)[3] in 1988 he started working with John Smith on New Statesmen and Straitgate, as well as Pat Mills on Third World War, both at Crisis.[3] He was part of the British Invasion, getting work on Hellblazer[3] before returning to the UK. There worked on Devlin Waugh for the Judge Dredd Megazine,[volume & issue needed] and also provided the art on a number of series for 2000 AD, including Judge Dredd.[volume & issue needed]

In 1990, he illustrated the cover for the Stereo MC's album Supernatural.[3]

He returned to the American comic book industry in 2000 when he inked Scene of the Crime written by Ed Brubaker, a writer he would collaborate with a number of times over the following years. He moved on to Wildstorm for a long run[citation needed] on WildC.A.T.s with Joe Casey before teaming up Brubaker on Sleeper.

In 2001, Phillips and John Bolton illustrated a three-issue miniseries called User, written by Devin Grayson, and published by DC's Vertigo imprint. The series explores "sexual identity and online role-playing in the text-based MUDs of the nineties."[4] User was re-released as a hardcover by Image in 2017.

Phillips went over to Marvel Comics in 2005 where he co-created Criminal with Brubaker at the Marvel imprint Icon Comics.[5][6] He was also the main artist on the first two instalments of the Marvel Zombies series with Robert Kirkman.

Subsequent work includes Incognito, another series with Brubaker at Icon[7] and a US reprint of 7 Psychopaths at Boom! Studios.[8]

Phillips provided the art for The Criterion Collection release of the 1961 noir film Blast of Silence, as well as the art for the Criterion release of the 1957 legal drama 12 Angry Men,[3] based on a design by Eric Skillman.[9][10]

On 9 April 2011 Phillips was one of 62 comics creators who appeared at the IGN stage at the Kapow! Comic Convention in London to set two Guinness World Records, the Fastest Production of a Comic Book, and Most Contributors to a Comic Book. With Guinness officials on hand to monitor their progress, writer Mark Millar began work at 9 a.m. scripting a 20-page black and white Superior comic book, with Phillips and the other artists — including Dave Gibbons, Frank Quitely, John Romita Jr., Jock,[11] Doug Braithwaite, Ian Churchill, Olivier Coipel, Duncan Fegredo, Simon Furman, David Lafuente, John McCrea, and Liam Sharp[12] — all drawing a panel each, appearing on stage throughout the day to work on the pencils, inks, and lettering, with regular Superior artist Leinil Yu creating the book's front cover. The book was completed in 11 hours, 19 minutes, and 38 seconds, and was published through Icon on 23 November 2011, with all royalties being donated to Yorkhill Children's Foundation.[11]

In 2012, Phillips was one of several artists to illustrate a variant cover for Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead No. 100, which was released 11 July at the San Diego Comic-Con.[13]

Phillips and Ed Brubaker launched their Fatale series at Image Comics in January 2012. The series was initially announced as a twelve-issue maxi-series but was upgraded to an ongoing title in November 2012.[14] Jesse Schedeen of IGN stated that "You can't go wrong with a Brubaker/Phillips collaboration. Even so, Fatale is making a strong case for being the best of their projects."[15]

In October 2013, Phillips and Brubaker signed a five-year contract to produce comics exclusively for Image. Under the terms of the deal, Image will publish any comic they bring to them without having to pitch it to them first.[16] In 2019, Brubaker and Phillips signed another five-year contract with Image to produce comics exclusively for that publisher. As Phillips explained, "[W]e get to do whatever we want! We don’t have to pitch projects to Image, we don’t have an editor or designer, we can make as many or few books as we want. We get to choose format, paper stock, and everything else to do with our books."[3]

Personal life[edit]

Phillips' son Jacob Phillips is also a professional comics creator, having worked as a colorist on his father's comics[3] and branching out into illustrating his own series.[17]

Art style[edit]

Phillips is known for the different art styles he has employed over the years, from clean-line superhero work, to scratchy, noir-inspired black-and-line work, to painted comics.[3][18]


  • New Statesmen (with John Smith):
    • "Downtime" (in Crisis, No. 5, 1988)
    • "Holding the fist" (in Crisis, No. 6, 1988)
    • "White Death" (in Crisis, #13–14, 1989)
  • Third World War (with Pat Mills):
    • "Symphony of splintered wood" (in Crisis #22–23, 1989)
    • "Remembering Zion" (in Crisis No. 24, 1989)
    • "Book of Babylon" (in Crisis No. 27, 1989)
    • "The calling" (in Crisis No. 31, 1989)
    • "The man with the child in his eyes" (in Crisis #33–34, 1989)
  • Straitgate (with John Smith, in Crisis, 1990)
  • Hellblazer (Vertigo):
    • No. 31, 34–36 (with Jamie Delano, 1990)
    • "Counting To Ten" (with John Smith, Hellblazer No. 51, 1992)
    • "In Another Part of Hell" (with Jamie Delano, Hellblazer No. 84, 1994, collected in Rare Cuts, ISBN 1-4012-0240-3)
    • #84–88 (with Eddie Campbell, 1995)
    • #89–100, 102–107, 109-114, 116-120 (with Paul Jenkins, 1994–1997)
  • Danzig's Inferno (with John Smith, in 2000 AD #718–719, 1991)
  • Strange Cases:
  • Armitage (with Dave Stone):
    • "Armitage" (in Judge Dredd Megazine (vol. 1) #9–14, 1991)
    • "The Case of the Detonating Dowager" (in Judge Dredd Yearbook 1993, 1992)
  • Devlin Waugh (with John Smith, tpb, Swimming in Blood, 224 pages, 2004, DC, ISBN 1-4012-0392-2, Rebellion, ISBN 1-904265-17-0):
    • "Swimming in Blood" (in Judge Dredd Megazine (vol. 2) #1–9, 1992)
    • "A Love like Blood" (illustrated text story, in Judge Dredd Mega-Special 1993, 1993)
    • "Brief Encounter" (in Judge Dredd Megazine (vol. 2) No. 26, 1993)
    • "Body and Soul" (illustrated text story, in Judge Dredd Yearbook 1994, 1993)
  • Judge Dredd:
    • "The Marshal" (with Garth Ennis, in 2000 AD #800–803, 1992)
    • "The Hunting Party" (with John Wagner, in 2000 AD #1033, 1997)
    • "A Death in the Family" (with John Wagner, in Judge Dredd Megazine (vol.3) No. 45, 1998)
  • Harmony (in Judge Dredd Yearbook, 1994)
  • Vector 13:
    • "Case Six: Marion" (with Dan Abnett, in 2000 AD No. 956, 1995)
    • "Case Two: It's Good to Talk" (with Nick Abadzis, in 2000 AD #1025, 1997)
  • Sinister Dexter: "Sucker Punch" (with Dan Abnett, in 2000 AD #1115, 1998)
  • Downlode Tales: "Tough Tushy" (with Dan Abnett, in 2000 AD #1126, 1999)
  • Scene of the Crime #2–4 (inks, with Ed Brubaker and pencils by Michael Lark, Vertigo, 1999, collected in A Little Piece of Goodnight, 2000, ISBN 1-56389-670-2)
  • WildC.A.T.s (with Joe Casey and Steve Dillon, Volume 2 #8–28, Wildstorm) collected as:
  • The Brotherhood #7–9 (with writer attributed as "X" and inks by Kent Williams, Marvel Comics, 2002)
  • Sleeper (with Ed Brubaker, Wildstorm, two 12-issue limited series collected into four trade paperbacks):
  • Black Widow: The Things They Say About Her (with Richard Morgan, 6-issue miniseries, Marvel, 2005–2006)
  • Marvel Zombies (with Robert Kirkman, 5-issue limited series, Marvel Comics, 2006, tpb, 2006, ISBN 0-7851-2277-X)
  • Criminal (with Ed Brubaker, ongoing series, Icon, 2006-ongoing) collected as:
  • 7 Psychopaths (with Fabien Vehlmann, Delcourt, 2007, 88 pages, Boom! Studios, December 2010, ISBN 1-60886-032-9)
  • Marvel Zombies 2 (with Robert Kirkman, 5-issue limited series, Marvel Comics, 2007–2008, hardcover, June 2008, ISBN 0-7851-2545-0)
  • Incognito (with Ed Brubaker, 6-issue limited series, Icon, 2008–2009, tpb, November 2009, ISBN 0-7851-3979-6)
  • Incognito: Bad Influences (with Ed Brubaker, 6-issue limited series, Icon, 2010–2011, tpb, 2011, ISBN 978-0-7851-5155-5
  • Fatale (with Ed Brubaker, limited series, Image Comics, 2012-2014)
  • The Fade Out (with Ed Brubaker, limited series, Image Comics, 2014-2015)
  • Kill or Be Killed (with Ed Brubaker, Image Comics, 2016-2018)
  • Pulp (with Ed Brubaker, Image Comics, 2020)
  • Reckless (with Ed Brubaker, Image Comics, 2020-2022)
  • Night Fever (with Ed Brubaker, Image Comics, 2023)
  • Where the Body Was (with Ed Brubaker, Image Comics, 2020-2022)
  • Houses of the Unholy (with Ed Brubaker, Image Comics, 2024)[19]


Eisner Awards[edit]

Best Cover Artist[edit]

Best Limited Series or Story Arc[edit]

  • 2016 Winner for The Fade Out (with Ed Brubaker)[21]

Best Graphic Album—New[edit]

  • 2018 Winner for My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies (with Ed Brubaker)[22]

Other awards[edit]


  1. ^ Miller, John Jackson (10 June 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Archived from the original on 18 February 2011.
  2. ^ Irvine, Alex (2008). "John Constantine Hellblazer". In Dougall, Alastair (ed.). The Vertigo Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. pp. 102–111. ISBN 978-0-7566-4122-1. OCLC 213309015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Thomas, Ian. “We Get to Do Whatever We Want!”: An Interview with Sean Phillips," The Comics Journal (Jan. 26, 2022).
  4. ^ "User HC". Image Comics. 17 May 2017. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  5. ^ Contino, Jennifer M. (8 August 2006). "Sean Phillips: Breaking The Law With The Criminal". The Pulse. Archived from the original on 28 September 2012.
  6. ^ Richards, Dave (27 February 2008). "CRIMES PAST: Phillips talks New "Criminal" #1". Comic Book Resources.
  7. ^ Ed Brubaker on Incognito, Newsarama, 16 September 2008
  8. ^ Pepose, David (5 April 2010). "BOOM! Brings 7 PSYCHOPATHS to USA, Phillips Draws Tanks". Newsarama. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  9. ^ Smith, Zack (11 April 2008). "Sean Phillips on the Blast of Silence DVD". Newsarama. Archived from the original on 5 December 2008.
  10. ^ "12 Angry Men". The Criterion Collection. 2010.
  11. ^ a b "Kapow! '11: Comic History Rewritten On The IGN Stage". IGN. 14 April 2011
  12. ^ "Guinness World Records at Kapow! Comic Con". Guinness World Records. 9 April 2011
  13. ^ Logan, Michael (4 June 2012). "Exclusive First Look: The Walking Dead Comic Hits 100". TV Guide.
  14. ^ Brothers, David (1 November 2012). "The Ed Brubaker Captain America Exit Interview". Comics Alliance. Archived from the original on 10 September 2013.
  15. ^ Schedeen, Jesse (15 August 2012). "Fatale No. 7 Review". IGN. Archived from the original on 22 August 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  16. ^ Joshua Yehl, Joshua (16 January 2014). "Brubaker Talks About His Exclusive Deal with Image Comics". IGN.
  17. ^ Johnston, Rich (21 February 2020). "Jacob Phillips' First Ongoing Series as Artist, That Texas Blood With Chris Condon From Image in May, Previewed". Bleeding Cool. Archived from the original on 5 March 2021. Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  18. ^ Keilly, Karl. "CCI: Spotlight On Sean Phillips: Best-selling artist Sean Phillips sat down with long time friend, "Hellboy" artist Duncan Fegredo, and discussed his three decades in the comics industry and how it took 25 years to break into the mainstream," CBR (AUG 03, 2010).
  19. ^ Club, Comic Book (6 December 2023). "Ed Brubaker And Sean Phillips' Next Book, Houses Of The Unholy, Tackles The Satanic Panic". Comic Book Club. Retrieved 6 December 2023.
  20. ^ "Fantagraphics and Image Comics Lead Eisner Awards Nominations". Syfy Wire. 7 May 2017. Archived from the original on 8 October 2017.
  21. ^ Schedeen, Jesse (23 July 2016). "Comic-Con 2016: 2016 Eisner Award Winners Revealed". IGN. Archived from the original on 17 April 2016. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  22. ^ McMillan, Graeme (20 July 2019). "Eisner Awards: The Complete Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 13 March 2022. Retrieved 17 August 2022.
  23. ^ ER. "International Miscellanea: 1993 UK Comic Art Awards," The Comics Journal #161 (August 1993), p. 40.
  24. ^ Jacobs, Evan (9 October 2006). "Spike TV's Scream Awards 2006 Winners!". Movieweb. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  25. ^ Morris, Steve (25 May 2012). "The Final Eagle Awards have Landed". Comics Beat. Archived from the original on 6 June 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  26. ^ Glyer, Mike. "2021 Dragon Awards Ballot". File 770. Retrieved 15 August 2021.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Hellblazer artist
Succeeded by
Preceded by WildC.A.T.s artist
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Sleeper artist
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Criminal artist
2006–2007, 2008, 2009–2010, 2011, 2019–2020
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Fatale artist
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Kill or Be Killed artist
Succeeded by