Title: Punk Rock Jesus #1 & #2 (of 6)
Author / Artist: Sean Murphy
Release date: July & August 2012
Verdict: I’ll be a Fan for Life
Sean Murphy has really made a name for himself these last few years, and I’ve picked up everything by him that I could find. I first saw his work a few years ago in a Star Trek comic from IDW. He did a Borg-themed one shot starring Captain Picard and the crew of the Enterprise-E. But where I’ve really gotten to know Mr. Murphy is through his amazing work at DC’s adult themed imprint, Vertigo. He collaborated with Jason Aaron on two issues of Hellblazer; with Si Spurrier on a five-issue Hellblazer mini-series; with Scott Snyder on the first mini-series spin-off of Scott’s award winning series, American Vampire; and most notably, with Grant Morrison on Joe the Barbarian. All were exceptional examples of Sean’s talents, and all were with some amazing writers.
Punk Rock Jesus, a black and white six issue mini-series from Vertigo, is the first piece I have by Sean Murphy that he has also written. I know not everyone likes the comic artist who also writes. We’ve seen it go wrong (we’re looking at YOU, David Finch!), but we’ve also seen some of the best most emotionally pure stuff come from writer/artists. Guys like Howard Chaykin, Brian Bendis (back in the day), Mike Allred, Mike Mignola, and Dave Gibbons come to mind. Punk Rock Jesus has been gestating in Sean’s mind for god knows how long, and the fruits of his imagination don’t disappoint.
The first issue introduces us to the world of this Jesus. It’s March 25th 2019, and a new reality show is set to premier. It’s called The J2 Project, and its star is the second coming of Jesus Christ. In this world, The Shroud of Turin isn’t a just a bullshit religious icon which carbon dating has found to be a fraud, but is actually what it is billed as. The shroud that covered Jesus’ face when he was placed in his tomb after he was crucified by the Romans. It is reputed to contain trace elements of his DNA, some of which was used to impregnate a virgin so ‘Jesus’ could come back to the world for ratings and mad profits.
Behind all of it is a heartless corporation called Ophis, who isn’t beyond modifying their ‘messiah’ to fit a certain image. The procedure is illegal in the USA, so it’s preformed in international waters. The embryo is modified so that ‘J2’ comes out looking like all those vinyl paintings of the thin white guy with perfect chestnut hair and a square jaw line. It seems so ridiculous because it is exactly what would happen if something like this ever actually took place.
The second issue picks up where the last issue left off, but to tell you about it may ruin the awesome revelation at the end of the first issue. Suffice it to say, the next few parts should get pretty crazy. When all is said and done, I would expect this series to be a cautionary tale of what could happen if people try and play god for their own profit.
So what did you all think? Do you like the black & white treatment, or would you prefer it in colour? What about writer/artists? Fan or not? Let us know! Sound off in our handy comments section below J .