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For several months, there’s been a great amount of interest in Sean Murphy‘s work on Joe the Barbarian (the artist’s latest project/eight-issue miniseries with writer Grant Morrison, the first issue of which goes on sale this Wednesday, January 20). I was looking forward to meeting Murphy at the late October 2009 SCAD event (covered here). After talking about his craft with him (and seeing his work first hand), I am genuinely enthused to see the release of the first issue. I truly relish Murphy’s candor, as evidenced in this interview, and appreciate him giving me the opportunity to discuss Joe the Barbarian (as well as other topics).
Tim O’Shea: How did you come to be involved with Joe the Barbarian?
Sean Murphy: I’ve had a rough ride with DC for many years it seems. After Batman/Scarecrow: Year One I couldn’t get work there. My editor apparently pushed hard for me but the people in charge didn’t like my stuff and blacklisted me from the DCU. I’ve got a Teen Titans story that was never published because of how I reinvented Cyborg (shame on me for bringing him out of the 90s).
Then one day Karen Berger calls from Vertigo. She wanted me to work on this book they were doing with Neil Young called Greendale. Needing cash, I of course agreed. But there were a lot of delays for about a year. At one point I passed on Spider Man 1602 because I thought Greendale was almost ready. In the end Neil opted to go with another artist, so I started talking to Marvel about working there. When they offered me Dr. Strange, Karen countered with a Morrison book called Warcop. Soon they were both talking exclusives.
It was a rush. I remember thinking that I must have given the lord of comics a hand job in a past life or something.