I decided to commit a bit of blasphemy on a Sunday and read the first two issues of Sean Murphy’s new limited series. It’s black and white and therefore slightly more affordable for you to go out and catch up before the new issue hits the stands. It’s worth the effort to do so.
A bit of pseudo-disclaimer: I’m a poet who has tried more than his fair share of times to evoke an array of different Jesus characters in his work. Never a Punk version, however. I wanted to cry bravo and foul at the same time when I first glanced at Murphy’s new title on the stands. The good news is that Murphy’s Jesus is nothing like my Jesuses. The sad news is that none of my work comes close to his future Jesus concept.
Two issues in, and it still feels like the story is taking time to breathe (it helps being 32 pages with no ads each issue. I only have inklings of why it’s called Punk Rock Jesus, as the primary focus so far is an allegedly cloned Jesus Christ as the subject of a corporate funded reality show with a handpicked Virgin Mary to carry the baby to term (the reaction to this is in the future of 2019 is pretty much what you’d expect in today’s political discourse) protected by the series’ main character, a former IRA member turned informant turned bodyguard to the new Madonna and child.
There are at least a couple of prospective characters that could give rise to the reason behind the title. I’m thinking of particularly the shock ending of issue 1 which (no spoilers) was truly a shock and actually made me pause before I dived into the second chapter. Credit has to go, of course to Murphy’s crisp dialogue and pacing along with his stunning line work, which is as effective without color and maybe more so. Still, a part of me wonders if we’ll see this series colored if there’s even an Absolute edition, which seems possible, given how much steam the book has been picking up steam since the first two issues came out.
As much as I liked Sean Murphy’s artwork in Joe The Barbarian, it was hard not to feel like I was reading a movie concept that was put into comics form to better impress Hollywood bigwigs. Punk Rock Jesus is high concept with an actual concept. Hurry up and catch up to this so far masterfully told story while it’s still only a white lie to say you were with the book from the start.