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Since his meteoric rise in the comics kingdom starting with his creator-owned cult classic Punk Rock Jesus and 2014's Eisner-winning sci-fi miniseries with writer Scott Snyder, The Wake, writer/artist Sean Murphy has been blazing a distinctive trail by staying true to his creative roots and redefining the raw limits of the medium.
After his sizzling run with writer Rick Remender on Image's futuristic pop-punk saga Tokyo Ghost and a high-octane gig with Mark Millar on Chrononauts, the masterful Murphy hit full afterburners beginning in 2018 by deconstructing Batman for DC's smash hit Batman: White Knight. This was followed up by last year's sequel, Batman: Curse of the White Knight, which ended this past March.
Now the maverick illustrator is taking his newest and most ambitious project to the crowdfunding community on Indiegogo with a rousing new fantasy adventure graphic novel titled The Plot Holes, and SYFY WIRE has an exclusive preview for this bold endeavor alongside comments from its orchestrator.
"The Plot Holes is about a failed comic book artist who realizes that his world isn't real," Murphy tells SYFY WIRE. "He's actually inside of a novel that sucks and is going to be deleted. He gets approached by a squad of superheroes called The Plot Holes. What they do is hop into a ship and jump from book to book, fixing each plot as they go so that each book they fix can get published. This is all in a digital Matrix-y type of world.
"So he joins them, basically going from book to book trying to save as many of these worlds as he can. Sort of an editorial staff armed with guns and swords. Like Quantum Leap meets Wreck-It Ralph in a way. It's definitely a kitchen sink type of universe. I created it because I had so many bucket list genres I wanted to do one day and I wasn't getting done with things fast enough. So I thought I'd just create a team where one guy's from a manga, one guy's from a Victorian vampire story, one guy's a car guy, one guy's the comic strip. They're all from different worlds like Guardians of the Galaxy. They do and they don't get along and have to keep moving forward if they want to survive."
Murphy's current plan is to complete The Plot Holes with longtime collaborator, ace colorist Matt Hollingsworth, then go back to Batman, then do another volume of The Plot Holes. With how The Plot Holes is designed, he can do any genre he wishes. Want to do an ancient Egypt thing? Great, then leap into a story that unfolds in ancient Egypt.
"I come from the indie world, so the crowdfunding route is kinda second nature," he explains. "I've already done two Kickstarters, so I kinda know how these things go. Normally once your book is out it takes two years before a reader can get the deluxe hardcover edition. I thought, 'Why don't I just do that first, start out with the deluxe hardcover, straight to readers? I don't have to share the money with anybody after I cover my costs. Then I can worry about distributing it in Europe or the United States to the local comic shops.' For me, it's the same process I always do, but in reverse. I was really excited to see if it works out. It came along at a convenient time, in a weird way, so I'm glad I'm going this route. It's good for people who are do-it-yourselfers. It's kind of the Wild West, and it gives creators a lot of freedom. Right now, with the coronavirus, we're all not sure about the stability of comic book shops and getting things distributed and where the industry is going to be in a year."
"I'm not worried about comic shops going away," Murphy adds. "If you're a smart owner trying out different things, you're always going to be able to survive some way. And with all these comic book movies coming out, having a shop that specializes in merchandise for these billion-dollar franchises, how can that not be viable? The industry itself will change and then it will be up to the shops to find new avenues and ways to partake in that.
"Sort of like a record store," he notes. "I can download my favorite music right now, but there's something about going to a vinyl shop and buying a big 18-inch vinyl, getting the booklet and the smell and the experience. People are willing to pay a premium for the collectibility of those things. If I was a comic shop, that's what I'd be focused on. Less on weekly stuff and more on collectible things and deluxe hardcovers in the future. This is how comics are in Europe and Japan. They don't like cheap weekly floppies. They want a nice high quality-printed, 66-page edition and they're happy to wait a year before it comes out. The model we're headed toward has to be a mix of what Europe and Japan are doing and what's happening digitally online. We'll crack the code, we just need to focus on it and stop pretending that it's going to be scary."
Murphy's Indiegogo campaign has been a raging success, with nearly 1,800 backers pitching in to the tune of over $155,000 so far with 49 days left and strong interest continuing to mount. The Plot Holes lands March 2021!