|"Criminal" #4 Final and Roughs|
In talking with Brubaker, the writer mentioned how the birthing process of "Criminal" took quite some time, a fact which Phillips reiterated. "It took almost a year after finishing 'Sleeper' to decide what to do together," Phillips told CBR News. "Ideas for other books came together and were discarded until we decided to concentrate on what we do best. Which in Ed's case is crime stories without the distractions of superpowers or secret headquarters. I think I'm best drawing those type of stories, character based stories set in a recognizable real world of grimy, rain-slicked streets."
Phillips changed his usual storytelling technique to bring to life the story in "Criminal." "Hopefully my art is always evolving anyway, but for 'Criminal' the change is more in the storytelling than the drawing style," Phillips explained. "Whereas 'Sleeper' was all cascading panels with no notion of a grid, Criminal is purposefully more structured. Every page is based on a three tier grid split into as many panels as is needed. I wanted to make the comic as easy to follow as possible, accessible to even a new comic reader."
|"Criminal" #3 Final and Roughs|
When drawing an issue of "Criminal," Phillips works hard to bring to life every element in Brubaker's script. "I just want to do it justice," Phillips stated. "Ed's written a great script and I try not to mess it up."
Phillips also found Brubaker's scripts to be invaluable tools when designing the cast of characters in "Criminal." "I usually do all my character design work as I'm drawing the pages," Phillips explained. "I find working out the character's acting style and body language much easier with the script in front of me. The faces aren't fully formed until the inks are done. Leo came together quite easily, based on one very loose sketch. I was thinking of Steve Buscemi's character in the film 'Trees Lounge' as an inspiration, although I haven't watched the film since it came out years ago. I was pleased with how the crooked cop Jeff turned out, too."
|"Criminal" #2 Final and Roughs|
Finding time to draw "Criminal" while working on other assignments has been the most difficult aspect of working on the series for Phillips. "Just finding time to work on a book that pays on the back end is hard enough," Phillips stated. "Getting pages out of Ed has always been difficult since the days of 'Sleeper!'"
|"Criminal" #2 Inks and Pencils|
Phillips hopes everyone gives Criminal a chance because he wants to keep working on the book for a long time and he ended his interview with CBR News with a cryptic clue about another one of his assignments - a Marvel Zombies prequel. "I've got me some zombies to draw," said Phillips.