Shop More Submit  Join Login
About Deviant Artist Member seanMale/United States Recent Activity
Deviant for 7 Years
Needs Premium Membership
Statistics 391 Deviations 9,737 Comments 1,229,822 Pageviews

Newest Deviations


Interstellar comic by seangordonmurphy
Interstellar comic
Written by Chris Nolan
Art by me
Colors by Hollingsworth
Letters by Tana Ford

AVAILABLE November 25th in Wired magazine!

I'll post an interview about working with Chris later today. Here's a link to read the whole thing at WIRED!…
See you at NCCC this weekend! I'll be sitting with the famous FIONA STAPLES (mooching off her success on Saga, of course), while signing Cafe Racers with some of my students!

:iconjt-ford: :iconcmccormack414: :iconrinpin: :iconpetevaldez:

Along with Cafe Racer books (you should get sketches from my students), I'm selling PUNK ROCK JESUS deluxe HCs, Wake HCs, and prints! So if you can't make it, send a friend!

Here's the link

“Whatever happened to that guy? The guy that drew that thing?  

Sound familiar?

Comic careers are like any other career in entertainment: if you don't stay relevant and adapt to a trend, you'll eventually peak and then bottom out. But there are more things that can help end a career. Here's a list of 5 that I've been thinking about lately.



The creator does something that somehow goes viral, turning his (or her) readers against him. Bad behavior at a convention, sexual harassment online, or a semi-racist Tweet made worse by bumbling attempts to correct it. Or maybe the creator gets blamed for something innocent: innocent comments taken out of context, or involvement in a controversial project that he had no say over. Whatever the case, “social media take-downs” can harm careers, leaving a permanent black mark on your career.


I imagine this one is the most common: no matter how hard you work—and no matter how much ass you kissed—you're never able to get wider recognition by the industry. And because of this, you never get the books you want, the fanfare you deserve, and the paycheck to help with those bills. I think creators are all prepared to pay their dues for a certain set of years, but eventually they expect to make it out and find a way to cut back on work and enjoy their success. But comics is a demanding industry, and a lot of us burn out.


A few people hit the lottery very young—an amazing gig, an awesome rate, a killer writing/drawing partner, and high sales. And because they never paid their dues, they have a hard time later on when the industry throws them a curve ball. Most of us struggle—and that sucks. But that struggle also builds character, and those life lessons come in handy when you have a tough year: you're more likely to deal with the depression, find new ways to motivate yourself, and cut back on spending.

Rapid success hurting a career is unfortunate, because it's not usually the creator's fault that he (she) hit the lottery. But if he doesn't step back and re-access his understanding of the industry, he may never snap out of it.


Creators spend a ton of time alone in a room. We're all in danger of becoming an island, and when a brain is unsupervised, it might find it's way into a bottle. Other forms of addiction are drugs, sex, money, beating another creator out of a gig, and fame. I suppose something like “fame addiction” can lead to more success, but I'll bet it's better to find other ways to motivate yourself. Like trying to earn the respect of the artists you also admire.


A very small percentage of creators get so successful that they lose touch. They're surrounded by yes men, they're so wealthy that their monetary motivation for working is gone, or maybe their ego stops them from seeing the mistakes in their own work. Young and hungry artists—driven by insecurity and the need to pay their bills—generally make the best art (not all will agree). Old and satisfied artists need to find new ways to motivate the second act of their career, or risk being forgotten or dismissed.


(I know I said 5, but a friend pointed this one out to me yesterday)

((And yes, I ran this list by a lot of comic creators first, and generally they agreed these things are true))

A creator's negativity eventually burns too many bridges, rotting their career from the inside. Maybe it never actually ends their career, but it's a cycle that keeps feeding itself: creator is unhappy, creator lashes out (maybe without realizing it), creator's editor fires back, creator removed from book, totally reinforcing creator's initual negative opinion of the book. Word of mouth happens, so that the creator's next editor is pre-warned of creator's negativity. If the creator is talented enough, publishers might be willing to excuse that creator's negativity if the pages are awesome.

So if you're naturally negative, try to get that shit contained. Bitch to your friends and family, but keep it professional with your employers when you can. You get a few free “freak-outs” per decade—don't go using them all at once.


So be honest with yourself, and chat about this with your friends to get their opinion: what's most likely to take you out? It's an complex subject, and while negative (and over-simplistic) in its descriptions, I think this sort of thing can lead to positive changes if we keep an eye out for our shortcomings.

And if you think of another that I've missed, please respond!



United States
Current Residence: Brooklyn
Favourite genre of music: Any
Favourite cartoon character: Batman Animated Series, Cowboy Bebop, Futurama
See you at NCCC this weekend! I'll be sitting with the famous FIONA STAPLES (mooching off her success on Saga, of course), while signing Cafe Racers with some of my students!

:iconjt-ford: :iconcmccormack414: :iconrinpin: :iconpetevaldez:

Along with Cafe Racer books (you should get sketches from my students), I'm selling PUNK ROCK JESUS deluxe HCs, Wake HCs, and prints! So if you can't make it, send a friend!

Here's the link


AdCast - Ads from the Community



Add a Comment:
PLASTIC-ROBOT-COMIC Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You have an amazing gallery.
bloodline78 Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
BrianVander Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Sean, I have to say, I'm in awe of your work.  Admittedly I am late to the party.  Loved your work on The Wake.  I picked up your PRJ trade the other day and was sucked in.  Read it in one sitting.  What an amazing read, regardless of anyones belief.  The story, the pacing, the ART!, blew me away.  Your art has been a huge eye opening inspiration to me.  The detail of every panel, the way you set up panels, the fluid action and design is just brilliant.  Thanks for being so descriptive in your posts as I find it so useful.  I hope I can take some of your pointers and better myself with the book I am working on now.  I can't wait for Tokyo Ghost.  

seangordonmurphy Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2014
Thanks man!!!
JK5-Inks Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2014  Hobbyist
Thanks for the watch man; it's really appreciated. :)
MikeHaff Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Just picked up The Collector as well. Great foreword and inspirational at the same time. I was blown away by that art. I like to think I'm pretty well educated on my art and illustration history but I gotta say, I had not heard of Toppi til recent years and even then, I never checked him out. When I saw those lines, I saw so much Simonson there. It was amazing to see this type of line work. It is so powerful and striking in it's semi abstraction. 
Any recommendations on a Zaffino book?
seangordonmurphy Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014
Thanks! My fav Zaffinos are Seven Block, Conan (he did 1 issue) and Winterworld. The others are great too, but those are my best.
MikeHaff Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Now that you just mentioned Winter World, I remember the solicitations back in the 80s for this. I worked in a Comic Book store and was only about straight out superheroes stuff. I was not mature enough nor ready for it at the time.
Just ordered it and some other random stuff! Thanks again!
justinprokowich Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2014
Your foreword in Sergio Toppi's "The Collector" was beautiful and insightful. Totally knocked it out of the park. The line "You don't need pretty lines to create pretty artwork" and the following paragraphs are resonating in me. Great description for Toppi's work and a great view on that style of illustration.
seangordonmurphy Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2014
Thanks! I tried to write something halfway interesting. :)
Add a Comment: