Sean Murphy is answering the question "What would Jesus do?" in a very sci-fi fashion. His new Vertigo Comics miniseries Punk Rock Jesus imagines a futuristic world of 2019 where the birth of a clone of Jesus Christ is the star of a reality show — called The J2 Project— and, as a teenager complete with Mohawk, rebels against the people and system that created him.
The [first] book covers 14 years in the life of Chris, who is born out of a modern-day equivalent to the immaculate conception: Pieces of DNA are scraped off the Shroud of Turin, fused with an egg and are inserted into a virgin girl found via nationwide audition.
There are to be four books in the series.
The story discusses the author, as well:
Murphy says Punk Rock Jesus is autobiographical in a sense — he began writing it as a Catholic eight years ago when he was 23, but has since walked away from religion and is now an atheist.
He admits that there wasn’t anything in particular that made him depart his Catholic roots, but five years ago he was a "militant atheist" and wondered if Punk Rock Jesus would ever be picked up.
"I thought I would just be doing this book myself and it would be just a pure expression of how irritated and concerned I was about religion’s influence on government, things like that," Murphy says. "In the years since, I’ve kind of calmed down and read a lot and did a lot of thinking about the best way to approach people who are religious.
"Sometimes having the ax to grind obviously isn’t the best place to get anywhere."
The hardest thing for Murphy has been how divisive the book has been for him and certain members of his family, including his mom, a born-again Christian.
"Certain parts of the book she’s OK with, but I’d be lying if I said she was happy with this. It’s made things kind of difficult," Murphy says. "But my wife is also religious and she’s got no problem with this and believes in it and believes I should do it."
Just to make sure you understand the author, interpret this:
. . . the punk musical aesthetic came out of pondering what would happen if the clone of the son of God became an atheist himself.