Comic Books

PUNK ROCK JESUS #1

The newest reality show hit has the unlikeliest celebrity of all in this new black and white miniseries from writer/artist Sean Murphy (JOE THE BARBARIAN, Off Road)!

J2, the TV series starring a clone of Jesus Christ, causes chaos across a near-future United States in PUNK ROCK JESUS, a new miniseries written and drawn by Sean Murphy, the acclaimed illustrator of JOE THE BARBARIAN and AMERICAN VAMPIRE: SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST. J2 causes outrage and adulation. Religious zealots either love or hate the show, angry politicians worry about its influence on the nation, and members of the scientific community fear the implications of cloning a human being at all – let alone the Son of God. And what effect will this all have on Gwen, the young woman who is selected, through an American Idol-style process, to be the mother of the new Messiah? All this leads to the hiring of Thomas McKael, the clone’s bodyguard and a former IRA operative with a turbulent past who must protect the new Messiah – a baby who captivates the world, but grows up to become an angry teenager.

Written by Sean Murphy
Art by Sean Murphy
Cover by Sean Murphy

Price: $2.99
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 25.8%

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Comments

  1. This a public service announcement with guitars !

    But honestly this seems like to much of a cool idea not to pick up and Sean Murphy’s art is always a good thing.

    Also why isn’t this a Vertigo title ? Doesn’t this seems more their wheelhouse ?

  2. I am pumped for this book!

    Between this, Batman, The Massive and Peter Panzerfaust, I might agonize over my POTW for like ten entire minutes!

  3. So jacked fo this.

  4. This book sounds awesome and I can’t wait to read it, but it also shows how sadly ignored comics are by the American mainstream. If someone made a TV show or movie about cloning Jesus and him growing up into an angry punk rock teenager people would be freaking out.

    • agreed!

    • Very true. Your point became even more interesting to me when I considered that this comic is published by DC ie Warner Brothers, not an independent publisher. Would Warner Brothers or another major studio have even produced this as a movie or a tv show to begin with? Do they feel more free to release stuff like this because the medium has a smaller audience?

    • @baykid: Interesting point. I guess in a way it is actually a blessing in disguise. Because of comics relative small audience they can tackle issues and stories like this.

    • Christians are pretty tolerant and liberal. Now, on the other hand, if this were to be called Punk Rock Mohammed, then you’d see a new Fatwa and be shocked and awed about how big the audience is.

    • In regards to comics “relative small community” not justifying attention by the mainstream, wasn’t there “controversy” with the recent Gay Wedding comics (Marvel/Archie) and DC’s Green Lantern is Gay?. It makes you wonder how much of that publicity was contrived and encouraged for sells.

      To USPUNX’s point, this comic should have at least some Christians ready to scratch Murphy’s eyes out for even suggesting such a “blasphemous” story.

      Man, I can’t wait to read this. Saturday can’t get here soon enough!

    • @kmanifesto: That’s an interesting point regarding the recent Marvel/DC gay announcements. You would think the subject matter here would be every bit as controversial but I have seen no mainstream coverage regarding this comic. In that light, its hard not to see the Marvel and DC stuff as pure headline grabbing.

  5. Christian extremists might freak out but no one listens to them anyway. I’m pretty sure film has seen more controversial themes than a punk rock jesus.

    • They protested Harry Potter. Harry Potter. And the controversy isn’t punk rock Jesus, it’s cloned Jesus. I think a film about cloning Jesus would get a lot more people than just Christian extremists up in arms.

    • Sorry, I can’t imagine anyone but christian extremists freaking out over a movie about cloning jesus. I mean, you pretty much have to be an extremist of some sort to go bananas over something fictional. Normal people don’t do that.

    • I guess it all depends how you define “extremist” and “normal”. To compare it to something like The Last Temptation of Christ, that film caused a huge public outcry that resulted in protests, banning in several countries, and even an attack on a theater in France that was screening the film. The was over thirty years ago but I’m not sure the reaction would be too different today. When you create something that calls into question people’s basic fundamental beliefs, it can make people, even normal people, behave in strange ways.

  6. Reminds me ever so slightly of that subplot that ran through Preacher. This should be pretty interesting.

  7. I’ve really tried to like Sean Murphy’s work since so many people here love it, but it just leaves me cold. I can’t be the only one, right?

    I will give this book a look.

  8. Right on!!!!

  9. I think it’s a somewhat bizarre idea all around and I don’t see where it’s going to go.

    That’s why I’m picking it up!

    That and it’s SGM…

  10. I’m not exactly sure what a Christian extremist is, but as a Christian I fine this concept intriguing. I’ll definitely reserve judgement until I’ve read the book. Let’s just hope this isn’t another way for Christians to be portrayed in a negative light.

    • I think this guy qualifies as a Christian extremist:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Peter_Woroniecki

      He’s my uncle by marriage, but I’ve never met him, my aunt or any of their kids.

    • boostergold04 stated, “…I’m not exactly sure what a Christian extremist is…”

      A Christian extremist is a Christian that adheres and believes that everything in the bible is literal (ie. talking snakes, the sun stopped in the middle of the sky for an entire day, etc…). In other words, they don’t cherry pick the Bible.

      Like any concept, it’s all in the execution. If done right, this title should appeal to both Christians and non-Christians alike.

    • “Extreme” is relative. The Amish might seem extreme until you compare them to people who protest military funerals or blow up abortion clinics. And I think “cherry picking” the Bible (or any other holy book) would lead to more “extremists” than reading and believing things in their proper context.

    • @Kmanifesto – I think what you described is just Christian. There’s nothing necessarily extremist about believing everything in the Bible literally. That’s what straight up Christianity teaches. Anything else is just an offshoot of Christianity.

    • Jr. Wormwood stated, “…There’s nothing necessarily extremist about believing everything in the Bible literally.”

      Today’s religious extremists are those that take a holy book as literal. Most world religions have moderated due to changing social norms.

      Christians are even told in the Bible by Christ not to take things literal as when Jesus spoke to Nicodemus offering a metaphorical description of a person’s spiritual awakening (“born again”). Nicodemus asked Jesus, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” He finally says to Nicodemus, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?”

      There is your Bible lesson on taking things literal.

    • That would be putting things into contest. By your example, Christians should take the Bible literally when Christ says “don’t take everything literally.” So those who take the whole Bible literally would inherently have to take this remark into account.

      We should be careful who we call extremists. How many different denominations of just Christians are there?? How many different theological points is it possible to disagree on?? I think there is a reasonable distinction to be made between people who have points of theological difference and and those who qualify as extremists. “Extreme” is a relative term. Again, what is more extreme, believing everything presented in the Bible or protesting military funerals and blowing up abortion clinics?

    • gnanniv stated, “…We should be careful who we call extremists…what is more extreme, believing everything presented in the Bible or protesting military funerals and blowing up abortion clinics?”

      Those who protest funerals usually do so as an anti-gay stance and use the LITERAL translation of verses from Leviticus which condemn such acts. Those are verses from the Bible, taken in context, and are used to justify their behavior.
      In a society that allows the gay lifestyle, we have chosen NOT to adhere to a LITERAL translation of Leviticus. Thus we have moderated our views in this area.

      If someone takes the Bible literally or has an extreme take on the text, then Christians can’t have tattoos, football is not allowed, divorce is not allowed, women can’t wear gold and men can’t have round haircuts (just to name a few).

      If someone believes in the LITERAL meaning of the scriptures, it doesn’t take a violent, physical manifestation of those beliefs to make someone any less an extremist in mind.

      I’m not sure Sean Murphy intended this sort of dialogue would be a by-product of Punk Rock Jesus, but I’m guessing he is not disappointed either. I have yet to read PRJ, but I look forward to picking it up this weekend!

    • I would argue that those who take the verses from Leviticus as their justification for their protest are taking Leviticus out of context of the Bible as a whole. It seems to me that they would be ignoring the Golden Rule and the whole “ye who have not sinned cast the first stone” thing.

      As to the idea of an “extremist in mind” we will just have to disagree. I am just not willing to call someone who thinks a thing an extremist. I do not find the thinking of thoughts extremist in nature. Now if one starts to act on those thoughts then it is another case entirely, but thought crime is a little too Orwellian for me.

      I can’t get to the store until tomorrow for my issue.

    • What, someone can’t have extreme beliefs or thoughts or ideas?

    • The part of Jesus talking about being born agajn with Nicodemus was not a statement about not taking scriptures literally but rather it was about allowing oneselfs old man to die and new one to be born, walking in Jesus’s teachings. The act of being born or birth was simply a metaphor so the concept being talked or taught could be grasped or understood better. I do not want to get into a whole rant/discussion on this topic, as really this is not the place. I may read this book, however I just blew a whole bunch of money on my normal pulls this week.

      Extremism is usually done by those that let hattred overtake them and then justify it by some type of so called belief or beliefs. This is done by believers of many faiths as well as non believers. Extremist is just another label used much like rascist to belittle someone or a group of people that others disagree with or they disrespect. I try hard not to do any of these actions to others, I do really try and listen and understand, may not always agree, but I can respect ones opninion and feelings.

    • Ideas never hurt anybody. I’m just not in the practice of policing people’s thoughts or ideas or beliefs. I reserve the term extremist for someone who does something extreme. I think calling someone an extremist is a pretty damning thing to do. If you want to call a person an extremist for sitting there and thinking the wrong thoughts, more power to you.

    • How is it possible for someone to think extremist thoughts and not have those thoughts effect their actions? You can’t draw a line separating thought and action, that’s ridiculous. Thought influences action. A person with so called extremist feelings might not go out and bomb and abortion clinic but the feelings they have will manifest themselves in other ways. Condoning extremism in any way is a corruption of the First Amendment, not a defense of it.

    • Lets get this very clear, this started with the clame that people that believe in a “literal” interpretation of the Bible are Extremists. I took issue with with the use of the word extremist against these people. I think there is a distention to be made between these people and people that take extremist actions. The term extremist is usually associated with someone who does some sort of vile or violent act. I do not think that people who simply believe in the “literal” interpretation of the Bible and do nothing else fall into that category.

      “You can’t draw a line separating thought and action” – You and I will simply have to disagree on this point. I think people are a bit more complicate than that. People do things that are against what they believe all the time. Also, I did not condoned extremism.

    • @Kmanifesto: Just because certain sections of society have chosen to ignore certain parts of the Bible doesn’t make it right. Live your life as you see fit, but He is pretty clear on what is right and what is wrong.

    • Just so that I’m not accused of not responding…

      @Kzinti stated, “…The part of Jesus talking about being born agajn with Nicodemus was not a statement about not taking scriptures literally but rather it was about allowing oneselfs old man to die and new one to be born..”

      I understand what the text was saying (…clearly) and we now know you understand stand it, but it was Nicodemus who was slow on the uptake and couldn’t grasp the ‘born again’ concept. It was to Nicodemus’ confusion that pushed Jesus into saying (in modern terms), “Don’t be a prat, Nicodemus… I don’t mean LITERALLY be born again…I mean metaphorically.”

      @boostergold4 stated, “…Just because certain sections of society have chosen to ignore certain parts of the Bible doesn’t make it right. Live your life as you see fit, but He is pretty clear on what is right and what is wrong.”

      I understand your point, but I guess one could say the reverse,…Just because certain sections of society adheres by a certain holy book, doesn’t make their views right either. How many religions claim to have the absolute truth?

    • I think the main sticking point here is the definition of “extremist.” Whatever the true meaning of the word is, when our society hears that word these days, they immediately think of terrorists, whether they be Muslim, Christian, any other religion, or even secular. It brings to mind people who hold to their beliefs so adamantly, that they are willing to commit violence to prove their point, even if violence goes against the belief system they’re defending. I believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God. Because of that, I know I’m not supposed to hate anybody, even my “enemies,” and there is certainly no justification for violence against anybody. So while I’ll admit that my beliefs are extreme (my wife and I are moving to Africa as missionary teachers in a month because of our beliefs), I don’t think that I’m an extremist the way our society currently defines the term.

      Oh, and I would say the argument about Leviticus is not about literalism, but rather whether we are still under that covenant, and the difference between moral and ceremonial laws, but that’s a whole other conversation right there.

    • @gnanniv – it actually started when I said the only people that i thought would be up in arms over a story like this (cloning jesus) are extremists. you might be uncomfortable with someone asserting that beliefs, thoughts and ideas can be extreme but… of course they can. it’s like the people who protested jerry springer the opera. when i went to see it live at the theatre there were morons outside trying to persuade people not to go in, handing out leaflets about how the show was evil and jerry springer was the devil. they had their little signs to hold and i think they even sang some songs about jesus. their views were extreme. their views led to their actions. people without those those extreme views thought they were ridiculous and hilarious. generally, to the non-extremist public, extremist are seen as pretty crazy. if people were to protest punk rock jesus if say, it was a film or something, then i would call them extremists too. an extremist doesn’t mean you are violent or a terrorist. someone is an extremist based on their beliefs. just like someone is liberal or a socialist based on their beliefs.

    • Also, someone put together a set of criteria to define a christian fundamentalist and also a christian extremist, using various sources. The criteria does include taking the bible literally, but it’s not the only definition, and neither involve violence or terrorism:

      Christian fundamentalist:

      Biblical Inerrancy/Literalism (at least with regard to creation)
      Evangelism
      Premillenialism (expectation of second coming, rapture, etc.)
      Separatism/Sense of Persecution

      A christian extremist fits all of the above plus:

      Exclusivity (conviction that those who do not share their religious viewpoint are not “real” Christians)
      Other-Condemnation (intolerance and condemnation of the other)
      Anti-Intellectualism (especially with regard to science)
      Social Conservatism and Anti-Liberalism
      Theocratic Strivings (biblical law takes precedence over secular law)
      Opposition to Modernism

      “But what about Christian terrorism? Unlike fundamentalism and extremism, in which the focus is generally on one’s worldview, terrorism involves a focus on behavior. A terrorist is one who engages in acts of terrorism, not one who simply contemplates them.”

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Aaand I’m gonna stop you right there. Our terms of service stipulate that we avoid religious and political commentary. It’s been fairly civil so far, but any further comments of this nature will be removed.

      Thanks, people.

    • As a non extremist young pastor 😉 I just couldn’t bring myself to pick this title up. It seems interesting enough and I have no problem that its out there, I just would rather not read something that will most likely offend me at some point. In the world of fiction there are all kinds of depictions of gods and views on religion that I’ve read and enjoyed. This one seems a little closer to home so I chose not to spend my money on something I don’t think I will enjoy.

      I thinks its reasonable that one could be offended by this, just if someone made a fictitious version of my mother and made her sleazy that would be upsetting too. To a Christian Jesus is just as important as mommy 😉

      I’ve often wondered how Oppenheimer’s family feels about how the Manhattan Projects depicts him. If I was an Oppenheimer I probably wouldn’t read Manhattan Projects because it would be upsetting. I’m not an Oppenheimer but I am a Christian so I stay away from the title but do read Manhattan Projects. I don’t have a problem that this book is out, I just think its not a stretch to see why as I Christian I don’t want to read it.

      @Paul Hopefully this didn’t fall into religious commentary as I didn’t attend to press my religious views in this post.

    • Sorry for the typos… There really needs to be an edit button.

    • @jpriester73 You are forgiven. Now go and typo no more 😉

    • Nice @Kmanifesto 🙂

  11. DDangelico DDangelico (@DavidDangelico) says:

    Ive been stoked for this ever since that talksplode episode a month or so back. This should be really great!

  12. “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”…..a certain conservative cable news network has message boards that are quite….’colorful’ hint, hint, hint. =)

    This book sounds rad. Need to pick it up.

  13. Ok, I loved this book but I got confused by the time setting. The opening scene I assume takes place in 1987 because later we see a newspaper clipping with a picture of a young Mckeal and the date says 1987. The opening scene, assuming was 1987 (because he looked like the same age boy in the newspaper), transitions to present day with “25 years later” printed (showing young Mckeal transition to older Mckeal). Ok…fine, but then wouldn’t that make it 2012? But wait…they are trying telling me it is 2019? What am I missing here? it bothered me…but I still found some really great moments in this book. Pick it up.

    • That’s a great point. I thought the whole thing was absolutely amazing, regardless, but there does seem to be an error there somewhere. There’s a 7 year mistake somewhere. Either it was 1994, or the “25 years later” is wrong because it’s definitely set mostly in 2019.

      It’s obviously a minor thing. I’m guessing it could be the 25 years later, because the date in the paper was obviously deliberate and it’s obviously 2019. The violence in Ireland doesn’t exactly clear up the date either cos it lasted forever.

    • It’s more likely that the 1987 date was correct because in ’94 there was a ceasefire. So I think the 25 years later bit is just a mistake.

    • I just reread it and take away the 25 year confusion…this book is hands down the best book of the week. It kicked big huge ass! I really wish it was an ongoing series. Seems like it would be perfect for it. But maybe I’ll feel differently after all 6 issues are out. Pick this book up! Enjoy it! Make it your pick of the week!

    • Couldn’t agree more Juhl75

    • Murphy tweeted that 25 years later was a mistake

  14. Punk rock, Sean Murphy, and mocking religion. Sounds like this sucker is going to be my pick of the week.

  15. This was really cool. The art was awesome as expected, and I thought Murphy did a fine job writing as well. With how things ended, I’m itching to read the next issue already.

  16. Not only is Sean Murphy an amazing artist, and my personal favorite as well, but he’s a pretty good writer too! I hope he keeps doing writer/artist stuff going forward. Overall, a strong start. I probably would have liked this more if I read it before Walking Dead (first book I read this week), but it’s gonna take me sometime to get over that. Fun doesn’t exist anymore.

    • It really does deserve it, Walking Dead was great don’t get me wrong but, this really took a lot of balls to put out their and some of the stuff thats in the book won’t appeal to mainstream Christian America.

  17. Shame five pages of a guy gettIng his head bashed in got pick of the week over this. This book right here deserved it.

    • not if we can help it, it wont

    • As I write this, Punk Rock Jesus is the community pick of the week. I hope that holds out….it deserves it.

    • It’s not now. As much as I loved this book, the weight and impact of Walking Dead 100 far overshadows this. Read them both. Which one stays with you? To readers of WD, especially long time readers, there’s no contest. I think it’s a shame that something as “go to, shock and awe” of using religion to be controversial could beat out an issue that sees the emotionally heavy and brutal death of a loved character. Preacher basically already covered what Punk Rock Jesus is doing.

    • @Jr. Wormwood stated, “…I think it’s a shame that something as “go to, shock and awe” of using religion to be controversial could beat out an issue that sees the emotionally heavy and brutal death of a loved character.”

      scratches head/

      …Are you saying it was a coincidence that on issue #100 of The Walking Dead that Kirkman & team didn’t go for the ‘shock & awe’ of killing, in a brutal fashion, a much loved character of the series?

    • @Jr. Wormwood The Walking Dead #1-#99 already covered what #100 is doing. ZOMG someone died!!.. and it was BRUTAL! Never saw that one coming in a million years.

    • Walking Dead was a Walking Dead issue. This was actually interesting.

    • Kmanifesto said – “…Are you saying it was a coincidence that on issue #100 of The Walking Dead that Kirkman & team didn’t go for the ‘shock & awe’ of killing, in a brutal fashion, a much loved character of the series?”

      Of course not. But the entire premise of Punk Rock Jesus is designed to press buttons. And again, it’s already been done. I’m sure it will take some turns, but the sheer emotional impact of TWD #100 stays with you long after you read it, unless you’re not a fan of the book. PRJ #1 doesn’t, at least not in anywhere near the same fashion.

      Agent Graves said – “The Walking Dead #1-#99 already covered what #100 is doing. ZOMG someone died!!.. and it was BRUTAL! Never saw that one coming in a million years.”

      No, issues 1-99 did not cover what 100 is doing. This had much more weight than much of what has come before. This is setting something up. Something big. It changes the book, at least for the next few arcs. That’s like saying everything we’ve ever read in a superhero book has been done before, so why bother reading them?

      Firevine said – “Walking Dead was a Walking Dead issue. This was actually interesting.”

      Clearly not a big fan of the Walking Dead book. Not that there’s anything wrong with that 😉

  18. The art in this book is astonishing. But apart from the Irish dude, the characters are cliched–especially the executive running the show.

    • But to be fair, Thomas is the only one who got any major backstory in this issue.

      I wouldn’t call the doctor a cliche at this point though — I think the fact that she’s skilled enough to create the first human clone but is more passionate about saving the environment is an interested bit of character.

      And while Gwen might come off as a bit of a type (doe-eyed virgin, being manipulated by forces she doesn’t comprehend), I think that’s kind of the point at this stage in the narrative. She’s supposed to be “Mary 2.0” and so our view of her isn’t much more developed than the television audience’s view of her.

      Given that the main character is only in a couple panels in this issue (and a newborn infant), I’d say things are just getting started, and there’s a lot more characterization to come.

    • @ken: I have to agree with ptheiss her, these characters felt very stock to me. The stoic body guard with a troubled past, the slick only cares about money executive, the naive young girl being controlled by forces larger than her, the smart mouthed ‘tech assistant’ there for comic relief, and the scientists who doesn’t agree with what she’s doing but is there ‘just for the science.’ They all seem pretty stock and cliched to me. This is only issue one but their is going to have to be some pretty amazing characterization to give any kind of depth to these people.

  19. This book was super duper. I’m pumped about the rest of this story as well as for all the SGM books to follow.

  20. I picked up this issue because I started reading the reviews here, and it really was a good choice! I was surprised to find the pages inside in B&W. It reminded me a lot of the Dark Horse translated manga that I used to read years back, like the person said Gunsmith Cats in their review. I really liked this comic, and I’ll definitely come back for another issue!

  21. A+

  22. Over all this was pretty much eh. The characters didn’t do much for me and the general lack of outrage over the cloning of Jesus seemed unrealistic. Also the art didn’t blow me away. I’m a big fan of Murphy’s stuff and also a big fan of black & white comics but I don’t think it worked here. The art didn’t seem as polished as I’m used to from Murphy. I think his work just loses something when its not colored.

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