“I think that a lot of artists have a bucket list of genres they want to scratch the itch off of, and for me, samurai has been one of the things I’ve been looking to do for a while,” said artist Sean Murphy via Skype interview.
This isn’t the first time Murphy has been scratching artistic itches, having worked on books like Punk Rock Jesus, a black-and-white miniseries with strong themes about religion for Vertigo that he wrote and drew, as well as The Wake, a horror miniseries also for Vertigo, written by Scott Snyder. It’s not common for Murphy to be doing an ongoing comic, but that’s exactly what the Image Comics-published Tokyo Ghost is.
According to the official solicit, Tokyo Ghost is a science-fiction story about two protagonists, Led Dent and Debbie Decay, who live in a future ruled by technology addiction. The story kicks off with the two heading off to the only place in the world that technology doesn’t have its iron grip over for a hit job, “The Garden Nation of Tokyo”.
“When they go there, they immediately have to detox, and learn how to be humans again, without drugs, without technology, and from that point they’re hunting down their target,” said Murphy.
Dent was described by Murphy as similar to Judge Dredd, with a “strong, silent” disposition.
“What I like about Led… is his costume, his mask, his motorcycle,” said Murphy. “He drives this really big motorcycle that’s basically one tank tread, so there’s no tires. It’s this cool idea we came up with.”
“[Dent] is always watching these vid screens while he’s hunting down bad guys, and his assistant/girlfriend hates it,” said Murphy. “She’s actually not connected and wired up at all. She’s one of the last people who hasn’t bought into all of that technology.”
The book doesn’t just have action, but also romance.
“It’s sort of a cyberpunk love story,” said Murphy.
Murphy described the amount of work he had to do for the debut issue.
“It was loaded with action and panels and a lot of signage in the background like fake advertising of the future, and then there’s these video screens floating in front of these characters’ faces, so I had to give the art to [colorist Matt Hollingsworth] in layers,” said Murphy. “So it was hard to keep track of, very grueling.”
It’s clear that it’s a labor of love, but Murphy didn’t hesitate to say just how tough this book has been for him
“The first issue of Tokyo Ghost is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to draw,” said Murphy.