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Food or Comics? | Fantastic Fork

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item. I’m filling in this week for Michael May, who is off in Florida spending his splurge money on mouse ears and giant turkey legs.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Chris Arrant

Saga #7

If I had $15, I’d start of the week with Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples’ Saga #7 (Image, $2.99). Saga has become a real bright spot in comics for me being sci-fi without being “sci-fi,” being romance without being “romance,” and being great at being great. It gives me the same excitement the way Bone, Strangers In Paradise and A Distant Soil did back in the early 90s. Next up would be Punk Rock Jesus #5 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99) by Sean Murphy. Murphy’s really exceeded my expectations here, creating a nuanced and elaborate world that has great art as a bonus. You can really tell Murphy’s been thinking about this story for awhile now. After that I’d get Invincible #97 (Image, $2.99), to finally get the truth behind the new Invincible, Zandale. I’ve been enticed by what’s been teased so far, and I hope the inevitable return of Mark Grayson doesn’t prevent me from seeing more of Zandale in the future. Last up with my $15 budget would be my call for the best superhero book on the stands today, Wolverine & The X-Men #20 (Marvel, $3.99). I feel like the title isn’t getting the attention it deserves with Marvel NOW! upon us, but Jason Aaron and Nick Bradshaw are absolutely delivering it here.

If I had $30, I’d double back and double up on Brian Wood with Conan The Barbarian #10 (Dark Horse, $3.50) and The Massive #6 (Dark Horse, $3.50). The Massive has survived the monumental loss of artist Kristian Donaldson, forging on in Wood’s story of one ship trying to survive in an ecological destitute Earth. Over at Conan The Barbarian, Declan Shalvey looks to be bringing the goods and showing he’s more than a Marvel superhero artist. After that I’d get the second series debut of Where Is Jake Ellis? (Image, $3.50) by Nathan Edmondson and Tonci Zonjic. This is a mighty pairing, and seeing them peel back the layers on Jake Ellis has been fun.

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NYCC | Scott Snyder, Sean Murphy reunite for Vertigo’s The Wake

Batman and American Vampire writer Scott Snyder, who only yesterday confirmed his new Superman ongoing with Jim Lee, will reteam with his American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest collaborator Sean Murphy next year for a Vertigo miniseries called The Wake.

Announced today during the Vertigo panel at New York Comic Con, the underwater sci-fi epic uncovers suspense and horror beneath the ocean’s surface as “a discovery is made that will reveal a secret mythology.” Snyder promised sea monster and other creatures, adding, “Hopefully you guys will like it as much as we do!”

“I couldn’t be more excited about The Wake!” the writer told the Vertigo blog. “This is a story Sean and I have actually been developing together for more than a year, a big, twisted, sprawling science fiction and horror epic, all of which begins with a single, terrifying discovery at the bottom of the ocean. It’s one of the most ambitious stories I’ve ever done, and there’s no one I’d rather be creating it with than Sean Murphy.”

Murphy, who also illustrated Hellblazer: Survival of the Fittest and Joe the Barbarian for the imprint, wraps up his own Punk Rock Jesus miniseries in January. Read coverage of the full Vertigo panel at Comic Book Resources.

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Food or Comics? | Beurre manié or Building Stories

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Building Stories

JK Parkin

If I had $15, I’d start with a couple of Marvel firsts, even though one of them isn’t technically a first issue: Uncanny Avengers #1 ($3.99) and Red She-Hulk #58 ($2.99). This is the first week of Marvel NOW, and they’re starting with books by creative teams I’m excited about. Next I’d get Stumptown V2 #2 ($3.99) and wind things up with the Halloween Eve one-shot. I actually supported the Kickstarter for the latter, so my copy is probably already on the way to my mailbox, but hypothetically let’s assume that it wasn’t. It’s by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder, two creators whose work I’ve enjoyed in the past. So if it wasn’t coming to me in the mail, it would come home in a paper bag from the comic shop.

If I had $30, I’d add an outgoing Marvel title (Marvel THEN?), Fantastic Four #611, which features the end of Hickman’s run before he moves on to Avengers and Matt Fraction takes over the first family of Marveldom. Next I’d grab Green Lantern Corps #13 ($2.99) as I like the direction the GL books have been headed in lately, and Conan #9 ($3.50), the second half of Brian Wood’s collaboration with Vasilis Lolos. Finally, I’d grab Point of Impact #1 ($2.99), the new crime book by Jay Faerber and Koray Kuranel.

This is a splurge in price only; if I had $50, then Chris Ware’s Building Stories would definitely have been at the top of my buy list this week. It’s a big box of little comics, as Chris put it, and as luck would have it I really do have $50 in gift certificates that I got for my birthday to buy it with. Thanks Mom and Dad!

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Artists band together for Twitter chat on copyrights, conventions, more


Last Friday, Sean Murphy and a host of comic artists and animators joined forces on Twitter for a live chat about exhibiting at conventions, copyright law and the issues of being a working illustrator. Partnered with deviantART, the group included artists Murphy, Eric Canete, Jeff Wamester and Chris Copeland and copyright lawyer Josh Wattles.

The chat came together following Murphy’s blog post “5 Reasons To Write,“  which created quite the fervor in the artist community. DeviantART, who hosts his blog, reached out to Murphy and used that post as a launching pad for the discussion. Although the chat is finished, readers can view it by searching Twiter for “#daChat” and looking at the Sept. 28 tweets.


Quote of the Day | Sean Murphy’s ’5 Reasons to Write’

“Frank Miller is a successful artist/writer combo. So is Paul Pope. Mike Mignola, Jeff Lemire, Bill Watterson, Will Eisner, David Lapham … the list goes on. And there are a ton of indy artist/writers that also put out a good product, although many will tell you that they don’t make a lot of money doing it. So if we know it’s possible to be a writer/artists combo, why don’t more artists try it?

The truth is that most attempts at being a combo fail. No one wants to be the artist who mills away for years writing (what he thinks will be) his opus, only to have it end up a laughable failure. But I think most of these attempts fail because artists don’t respect writing as an individual craft — rather they think that being in comics for long enough means they’ve developed writing skills simply through osmosis. Which is bullshit. And it’s disrespectful to your medium. Just because you can stand on a hardwood floor doesn’t mean you know how to build one.”

Sean Murphy, laying out his “5 Reasons to Write,”
an argument for comic artists to write their own books

What Are You Reading? with Ron Marz

Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading?, where today we welcome special guest Ron Marz. Marz has written everything from Green Lantern to Witchblade, and you can currently find him working on comics like Artifacts, Prophecy, Blackburn Burrow and The Ride: Southern Gothic. He also writes the column Shelf Life for Comic Book Resources and can be found on Twitter.

To see what Ron and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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Food or Comics? | Caviar or Cavalier Mr. Thompson

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Conan the Barbarian #8

John Parkin

If I had $15: Whoah, another tough week to narrow things down. Is every Brian Wood-written title required to come out the same week of each month? Do Dark Horse and Marvel get together and plan it that way, so that people who only buy Wood comics only have to go to the store once a month? I think more than half the DC titles I buy come out this time every month, too. So yeah, lots to pick from …

Anyway, I’d start with one of those Brian Wood comics, Conan the Barbarian #8 (Dark Horse, $3.50), which features Vasilis Lolos on art. Lolos drew one of my favorite issues of Northlanders, “The Viking Art of Single Combat,” so it’s cool to see the two of them working together again. I’d also get a comic I’m sure will be popular with a few of my colleagues, the first issue of the new Stumptown miniseries by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth (Oni Press, $3.99). Next I’d get Manhattan Projects #6 (Image, $3.50); this issue turns the focus from America’s secret science program to Russia’s secret science program. Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra are having a lot of fun with this one. Finally, I’d get Uncanny X-Force #31 (Marvel, $3.99), which really picked things up last issue … and this is a comic that’s usually running on twice as many cylinders anyway.

If I had $30, I’d also grab two finales from DC Comics — Shade #12 and Resurrection Man #0 (both $2.99). Honestly, I never expected to see a Resurrection Man comic again, much less by the guys who wrote the original, so the fact that we got a good run of 13 issues is a pleasant surprise. Shade, of course, was planned as 12 issues from the beginning, and was a nice return to the Starman-verse by writer James Robinson. That leaves me room for three more $2.99 comics, which means I’m going to bypass X-Men, The Massive and Avengers Assemble this week (let’s assume that I’ll one day spend my splurge money on the trades) and instead go with Chew #28 (Image, $2.99), It Girl and the Atomics #2 (Image, $2.99) and Demon Knights #0 (DC Comics, $2.99).

Splurge: Assuming I wouldn’t spend my unlimited gift card on single issues, I’d be looking at the first Bucko collection from Dark Horse ($19.99) and Fantagraphics’ Is That All There Is? trade ($25).

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Food or Comics? | Gyoza or Godzilla

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Conan the Barbarian #7

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, it’d be an eclectic bunch featuring Jesus clones, retired spec-ops workers, environmentalists and Batman. First up would be Punk Rock Jesus #2 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99), following Sean Murphy’s big-time foray into writing and drawing. Murphy’s delivering the art of his career, and while the story might not be as great as the art, it still has a synchronicity to the art that few other mainstream books have these days. After that I’d get Dancer #4 (Image, $3.50); Nathan Edmondson seemingly made his name on writing the spy thriller Who Is Jake Ellis?, and this one takes a very different view of the spy game – like a Luc Besson movie, perhaps – and Nic Klein is fast climbing up my list of favorite artists. After that I’d get Massive #3 (Dark Horse, $3.50), with what is disheartedly looking to be the final issue of artist Kristian Donaldson. No word on the reason for the departure, but with a great a story he and Brian Wood have developed I hope future artists can live up to the all-too-brief legacy he developed. Delving into superhero waters, the next book I’d get is Batman #12 (DC, $3.99), which has become DC’s consistently best book out of New 52 era. Finally, I’d get Anti #1 (12 Guage, $1). Cool cover, interesting concept, and only a buck. Can’t beat that.

If I had $30, I’d jump and get Creator-Owned Heroes #3 (Image, $3.99); man, when Phil Noto is “on” he’s “ON!” After that I’d get Conan te Barbarian #7 (Dark Horse, $3.50). I’ve been buying and reading this in singles, but last weekend I had the chance to re-read them all in one sitting and I’m legitimately blown away. The creators have developed something that is arguably better than what Kurt Busiek and Cary Nord started in 2003 and shoulder-to-shoulder with the great stories out of the ’70s. This new issue looks to be right up my alley, as Conan takes his pirate queen Belit back to his frigid homeland in search of a man masquerading as Conan. Hmm, $7 left. Any other Food or Comic-ers want to grab some grub?

If I could splurge, I’d excuse myself from the table dining with my fellow FoCers and get Eyes of the Cat HC (Humanoids, $34.95). I feel remiss in never owning this, so finally getting my hands on the first collaboration between Moebius and Alexandro Jodorowsky seems like a long time coming. I’m told its more an illustrated storybook than comic book, but I’m content with full page Moebius work wherever I can get it.

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Comics A.M. | Top Cow reveals Cyber Force retailer incentives

Cyber Force

Publishing | Top Cow Productions has announced details of its retailer program for the relaunch of Cyber Force, which is using Kickstarter to raise enough money to make the first five issues of the reimagined series available for free, both digitally and in print: Retailers will be charged 25 cents per copy for the first five issues, but will receive incentive variant covers — with suggested prices of $10 and $20 — to offset the cost of the comics. The Kickstarter campaign has raised more than $50,000 of its $75,000 goal with 17 days remaining. [ICv2]

Publishing | Former DC Comics editor Janelle Asselin, who now works for Disney, talks about her experiences at the editor’s desk and offers one reason there are so few female superhero comics creators: Women aren’t lining up for the job. “In my time at DC, exactly one woman reached out to me via email, and I hired her,” she said. “I didn’t hire her BECAUSE she was a woman, I hired her because she was good, of course. But in that same amount of time, probably at least two or three men a week contacted me looking for work, some of them intensely pushy and many of them decidedly not good. I think more female creators should put themselves out there. The numbers are growing, we all can see that, especially in indie comics and comics published by traditional publishers, but if there are women who want to work on super hero books, they need to speak up.” [Women Write About Comics]

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Taking a fine look at Sean Murphy’s original art for Punk Rock Jesus

Like the sound of a gasoline-chugging motorcycle drawing through a sleepy New England hamlet, Sean Murphy has steadily risen up the ladder from small independent comics to critical acclaim with works like Joe the Barbarian and American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest. And with the debut of his creator-owned series Punk Rock Jesus earlier this month, it seems like Murphy is aiming to make a statement.

This Brooklyn-based artist has become well known for his sinewy and striking artwork, and is one f the few remaining artists in comics whose finished work (sans lettering) is done entirely by hand. With the black-and-white publication of Punk Rock Jesus, Murphy’s entire story is done by hand with pencil and brush on his drawing board. That makes the debut of his original art online even more special and attention-getting, even if you don’t have the wallet to afford the pages. Murphy just released the original artwork from the first issue of Punk Rock Jesus for sale at his art dealer Essential Sequential.

I can’t be the only one who’ll look on this showcase as a chance to pour over Murphy’s pages here and over at his DeviantArt site, to really see the intricacies and honest-to-god ink put on these pages. Take a minute — or 10 — and sink in and blow these pages up hi-rez on your computer screen while we wait for issue 2 to come out on August 8.

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Food or Comics? | Tales Designed to Sizzlean

Parker: The Score

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Graeme McMillan

While the offerings on show at my local comic store this week won’t compare with those available at Comic-Con International, if I had $15 this week, I’d pick up Sean Murphy’s Punk Rock Jesus #1 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99), the new Bloodshot #1 (Valiant, $3.99) and the final issue of the enjoyable Kirby: Genesis #8 (Dynamite, $3.99); the first for the art alone (I know very little about the story, but Murphy’s art is always worth checking out), the second for the high concept, and the third for the payoff that I know is coming from Kurt Busiek, Alex Ross and Jack Herbert’s resuscitation of the King’s concepts after following the series thus far.

That said, if I only had $30, I’d put both Punk Rock Jesus and Bloodshot back on the racks for another week, and add Darwyn Cooke’s new Parker adaptation, Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score (IDW, $24.99) to my pile, instead. Cooke’s Parker books are consistently must-buys, and I can’t see why this one would be any different.

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Food or Comics? | Mais or The Massive?

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Spider-Men #1

J.K. Parkin

With my first $15 I’d get the following: The Massive #1 (Dark Horse, $3.50), X-Men #30 (Marvel, $3.99), Spider-Men #1 (Marvel, $3.99), and Saucer Country #4 (Vertigo, $2.99). That leaves me roughly 50 cents out of my budget. I dunno if it was planned this way or not, but two of Brian Wood’s latest projects, The Massive and his run on the X-Men (of the un-Ultimate variety), kick off this week. We also have the debut of Spider-Men, the crossover that features Peter Parker of the 616 Marvel U meeting up with Miles Morales from the Ultimate-verse. I’ve enjoyed the Miles Morales/Ultimate Spider-Man stories this far, which is the reason I’m getting it. Finally, Saucer Country is the best of the new Vertigo titles, featuring clever writing by Paul Cornell and great art by Ryan Kelly.

Add another $15 and I’d also get Captain America #13 (Marvel, $3.99), Uncanny X-Force #26 (Marvel, $3.99), Resurrection Man #10 (DC Comics, $2.99), and Frankenstein: Agent of Shade #10 (DC Comics, $2.99). Again, with some change left over for a candy bar or whatever. I laughed out loud at the big reveal at the end of the last issue of Captain America, as we learned who the new guy was behind the Scourge mask. I assume this is a What If? comic, along the lines of “What if (name redacted for spoiler reasons) wasn’t lame?” So I have to see this through. I mentioned this weekend on What Are You Reading? that I’d downloaded a whole bunch of the current run of Uncanny X-Force for 99 cents from comiXology, and since then I’ve completely caught up on the book, so I’ll definitley be getting the current issue. Add to that one of the final times I’ll get to see Abnett and Lanning’s Resurrection Man comic (sniff … well, it was probably a longshot anyway, based on how well his last comic did) and the debut of Matt Kindt on Frankenstein, and that rounds out my week of comics.

I don’t really have anything on my splurge radar this week, so maybe I’ll just hold onto the cash and save it for next time.

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Sean Murphy on the affair of the Wolverine ABCs

Sean Murphy's Wolverine ABCs

Last week, in the wake of the Gary Friedrich case, Joe the Barbarian artist Sean Murphy said he would no longer sell sketches or do commissions of characters he doesn’t own.

Over the weekend, Murphy explained how he learned from personal experience that even a small, innocently conceived project can put a creator into legal jeopardy. Murphy did a set of Wolverine ABCs and printed it up into about 200 sketchbooks to give to friends—including Marvel creators and editors—as gifts.

Because I was a pro and because I wasn’t selling them, I figured I’d be fine. After three conventions of EVERYONE telling me I should sell them, I broke down and sold some. At the last show that season, I sold the remaining 40 copies or so.

Then Marvel called. I explained that I didn’t have a warehouse of sketchbooks, I only made around 200 (or close to that) and mostly I gave them away. I explained how none of the Marvel editors complained when I handed them one, and my lack of hiding the ABCs should show the innocent nature of my endeavor. I even offered to sign a Cease and Desist, and pay them the money I made selling the last 40. But Marvel wanted the rights to the ABCs–they wanted to own them and pay me nothing. I wasn’t willing to do that, so I got a lawyer. And we eventually came together and agreed to drop the subject if I simply removed them from my site and promised not to make any more sketchbooks.

Murphy readily admits that he was in the wrong, not only in using characters he doesn’t own the rights to but also in thinking that Marvel would overlook something so small. While their reaction seems excessive, they were within their rights. And he is in no way reassured by the statements made by Marvel execs Dan Buckley and Joe Quesada about not making any new policies and not wanting to interfere with creators who are “providing a positive Marvel experience for our fans.” They seem to him to be purposefully vague, leaving the door open for them to take action if they choose—as, in his case, they already have.

(Via Blog@Newsarama.)

What Are You Reading? with Chris Duffy

Optic Nerve #12

Welcome to What Are You Reading? Our special guest today is Chris Duffy, editor of First Second’s Nursery Rhyme Comics. We spotlighted this anthology project all week here on Robot 6; check out our interviews with Chris as well as contributors Scott C., Aaron Reiner, Richard Sala and Eleanor Davis.

And to see what Chris and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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Life after Joe: Looking at what Sean Murphy is doing next

Artist Sean Murphy has been tearing up the fringes of mainstream comics. Although he’s yet to make a big splash in the super-hero genre, he’s found his own path with a string of projects at Dark Horse, Oni and IDW. For the past few years he’s called Vertigo home, and his first major series for the DC imprint, Grant Morrison’s Joe the Barbarian, just finished.

But for people who have followed him over the course of his career, or just followed his active DeviantArt account, you can easily tell he’s got a lot on his mind and an itch to get it out. Right now Murphy’s prepping to begin a spinoff miniseries for Vertigo’s American Vampire as well as writing and drawing his long-gestating series Punk Rock Jesus (which he talked about with Comic Book Resources in December). But besides that, he’s been prone to just draw whatever’s on the top of his head — like the amazing pin-up to your right. Murphy’s got a lot more, from a stellar Carl Sagan pin-up (who ever thought you’d see those three words together?), as well as an exclusive early look at Punk Rock Jesus, which isn’t due out until 2012.


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