Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Best Graphic Novels Ever #20 -- Punk Rock Jesus

20. Punk Rock Jesus
by Sean Murphy
Published by Vertigo Comics

Okay. We're finally breaching the top 20. Yep. Finally here. 

Yes. I know I'm cheating with this one. Because, no, it hasn't been collected yet into a single volume. But it was conceived and written as a single story with a beginning, middle, and end and NOT part of an ongoing, endless graphically told serial. And, for the record, the trade is coming out shortly. So there.

What can I say about this amazing book that hasn't already been said by people way smarter and better connected than me? Not a lot. It's a fantastic story about faith and faithlessness, and how even faithlessness is itself a way to faith (clear as mud, right?). It's a tale of falling and being redeemed. It's a tale of being a son of man and a son of God. It's all that and more. With violence. And with foul language. It's kind of like going to a church re-envisioned by Quentin Tarantino. In a good way.

Sure, the idea of making a clone from the Shroud of Turin is old hat and derivative. But it's what you do with the idea of a story to make it something real, something out of this world, and what Sean Murphy does with that overly trite clone idea is just that -- something real and amazing. The characters are fully rounded, from the bit player to the starring roles, and with one or two minor exceptions, the voices are spot on. It's really hard to find anything not to like about this one, at least in my book.