Murphy is probably best known for his artistic endeavors on titles like American Vampire and the recently released (and thoroughly intriguing) The Wake. Apparently working with writers like Grant Morrison and Scott Snyder has worn off on Murphy because you would never suspect him of being chiefly an artist as you read his work here.
Murphy has sculpted compelling characters and placed them in a world which, unfortunately, does not feel all that dissimilar from our own. I say unfortunately because Punk Rock Jesus is filled with the type of human tragedy and character flaws which hit very close to home. That is to say that Murphy builds a world which is slanted just enough to show the reader some of the problems of American society and characters just narrow enough to exemplify those problems while maintaining a realism which keeps the title moving.
I think this image of the cover on the left fairly well sums up the foundation of Punk Rock Jesus for me. You have Chris, the supposed clone of Jesus (depending on whether you are willing to believe the TV mogul who created him), looking rather angry and frustrated alongside both Christian and American icons. Murphy’s frustration with both organized religion and America in general seems to be the driving force behind the story of Punk Rock Jesus and I think that anyone with a similar stance as Murphy, or an extremely open mind, is going to enjoy that ride. However, Punk Rock Jesus is probably going to be a pretty difficult pill to swallow for anyone not willing to take a good hard look at America.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, if readers decide not to take a look at the title because of the microscope Murphy places our country under), that’s not all this title has to offer. What you really get out of Murphy’s work are characters which are real enough that you feel for them as they struggle through the things they, and those around them, put into motion. Certainly not an easy feat and something which Murphy deserves a lot of credit for.