Easton Newburn (Newburn)

Created by Chip Zdarsky (text) and Jacob Phillips (art)

“Okay, enough’s enough. Who the fuck is this guy?”
— a confused cop

“All I’ve ever wanted to do was get to the TRUTH. And being a cop stopped being the place for that.”
—Newburn tries to explain to Emily why he left the police (#7).


Talk about double-dipping.

Not content with handling the art for his and writer Chris Condon’s stellar crime comic That Texas Blood, a primo slab of hard-boiled Lone Star darkness, Jacob Phillips is tackling the art for Newburn, a bonfide hard-boiled P.I. comic book as well.

Written by Chip Zdarsky, the monthly follows EASTON NEWBURN, an ex-cop turned private investigator (and non-practising attorney) with a very select list of clients: New York City’s crime families. Utterly without loyalty, Newburn’s an ice-cold go-between, protected by a hands-off policy that allows him to resolve conflicts (and hopefully keep the peace) between various rival factions without interference by any of the involved parties–or the cops.

He’s not exactly winning friends, though–almost everyone distrusts him at one time or another. He’s cold, hard, curt, generally humourless and totally professional. He doesn’t play games, or pick sides–he just does his job. The cops and the criminals both view him as an irritating but necessary evil. Because nobody–not New York’s finest, not the gangs, not the ordinary Joe on the street–wants a mob war. It’s bad for business.

He favours dark suits and ties, and the streaks of grey in his hair give him a distinguished, gentlemanly air. He’s driven around town in his limo by his personal chauffeur, Henry, and while he’s no spring chicken, he’s not averse to using violence to speed things up, and he knows how to handle himself, especially with that retractable batons he carries. He’s still got “pep in (his) step,” according to Henry.

But the one he really counts on is protege and assistant Emily Walker, a street-smart police academy dropout and would-be-crook who he takes under his wing. She’s a willing and eager apprentice, although Newburn’s shape-shifting ethics give her pause.

“I don’t get you, man,” she confides in him is Issue #7, “You’ve got this… weird moral code. But you work for the worst people.”

The series  has a sharp noir vibe present, and plenty of grit and wit on display, and a tone-perfect blend of big city swagger and surprisingly nuanced characterization. Judging from what I’ve read so far, we’re all in for a wild ride. Keep an eye on this one, folks.


Chip Zdarsky is probably best known for his work on Sex Criminals and Marvel’s Daredevil (and soon DC’s Batman), while Phillips is best known–so far–for his work on That Texas Blood and Brutal Dark: The Adventures Of Ezra Cain P.I. The influences are obvious–think Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ epic Criminal. Not sure where Zdarsky got it–maybe he just has great taste in crime comics, but Jacob comes about it more obviously–he’s Sean’s son.


  • “Zdarsky’s comedic and dramatic chops continue to shine resplendently, and Phillip’s art helps articulate the world wonderfully. Fans of noir and procedures, you’re gonna wanna make sure this one is on your pull list.”
    — Black Nerd Problems


    (2021, Image Comics)
    Created by Chip Zdarsky (text) and Jacob Phillips (art)

    • “Brooklyn Zirconia: Carmine’s Apartment” (November 2021, #1)
    • “Brooklyn Zirconia: Everything I Told You Was True” (December 2021, #2)
    • “Brooklyn Zirconia: We’ve All Lost Men” (January 2022, #3)
    • “Brooklyn Zirconia: Bring Some Heat” (February 2022, #4)
    • “Spook-a-Rama: Luck Ran Out” (March 2022, #5)
    • “Spook-a-Rama: My Lucky Night” (April 2022, #6)
    • “Spook-a-Rama: Getting Away with Murder” (May 2022, #7)
    • “Spook-a-Rama: They Know Me” (June 2022, #8)


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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