Sean Gordon Murphy’s project Punk Rock Jesus is one of the hottest titles on the comic book market today. The project tells the story of a reality show featuring a clone of Jesus Christ and the chaos he creates across the United States in the near future. People living in this world are split on the show, causing both outrage and adulation of the newly made sensation. When the network wants to cut Jesus’ mother from the reality show, Jesus decides to form a punk rock band, and go on a journey of his own. He then goes to war against the company that helped create him. Sean Gordon Murphy took time out of his schedule to speak to Indie Reader about the title and how he came up with the idea for Punk Rock Jesus.
IR: Tell us about Punk Rock Jesus and your creative processes behind it?
Sean Gordon Murphy: My latest project is a book I wrote and drew called Punk Rock Jesus. My goal was to challenge a lot of ideas we have in America about religion, politics and entertainment. Obviously religion is a touchy subject for many readers, and as an atheist I had to try and be provocative without being outright offensive to many of my religious readers. But I thought the challenge and the risk was worthwhile. And it was much more satisfying than working on corporate characters like Spider Man and the X-Men.
SGM: A lot of my influences in comics come from European and Japanese illustrators. While I enjoy the normal superhero type stuff, it’s not a genre I’m compelled to work in. One of the reasons I started working in comics was to push the genres we don’t often seen in US mainstream books: crime noir, adventure stories, science fiction, etc.
IR: What would you like people to take in when reading your comic/s?
SGM: When people read Punk Rock Jesus, I’d like them to be more challenged than if there were reading other comics. If they blow through the book quickly then they haven’t considered a lot of the weighty topics within the plot, which means I haven’t done my job as the creator. However, if they come away feeling more thoughtful about the book (even if they don’t agree with some of the concepts), I feel like I’ve done my job.
IR: What other projects have you been working on and what kind of stuff would you like to do in comics?
SGM: My next project is for DC Comics and it’s called The Wake with famous Batman writer Scott Snyder. It’s a science fiction/horror story that takes place in the oceans, so it’s allowing me a lot of opportunity to draw things that I haven’t worked with before: boats, waves, scuba gear, etc. There’s plenty of research going into the pages, and I love the challenge.
SGM: I’ve been catching up on Batman lately with artist Greg Capullo. Scott has been doing a killer job on the series and I want to support him.
IR: What are your plans for the future?
SGM: I plan on working in comics for the next few years, and then maybe take a break and work on video game concept design or something with movies.
IR: When will your projects be released?
SGM: Punk Rock Jesus came out as a collected book in April and The Wake began coming out in May.
SGM: I love watching documentaries on history, military conflict, and geography. So a lot of my writing usually filters through those subjects. There’s usually a small science fiction element I’ll slip into the plot, but I try to keep the subjects mostly contemporary.