Stephen Murphy is an American comic book writer best known for his work on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. He is also credited as Steve Murphy or simply Murphy, or by the alias Dean Clarrain.
Stephen Murphy initially gained recognition for his work on the comic book series The Puma Blues along with illustrator Michael Zulli, from 1986 to 1989. It was originally published by Aardvark One International, but later became published by Mirage Studios.
Murphy was an initial signatory for the Creator's Bill of Rights, drafted in 1988.
In 1989, Murphy was brought in by friend Ryan Brown to help revamp the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures title for Archie Comics, beginning with issue 5, "Something Fishy Goes Down", which featured new original character Jack Finney (also known as Man Ray or Ray Fillet), co-created by Murphy and Brown. Murphy became the primary writer for the series through its run until its cancellation in 1996, during which time its independent continuity diverged greatly from the 1987 TV series upon which it was originally based, eventually more resembling Mirage TMNT comics. He created other original characters for the Archie TMNT series, including Jagwar, Nova Posse, Snake-Eyes and Sarnath. Murphy was credited as Dean Clarrain for all work on TMNT Adventures.
Also in 1989, Murphy became involved with Mirage TMNT and associated publications during the run of volume 1. He co-wrote "Sons of the Silent Age" with Jim Lawson, and he reunited with The Puma Blues veteran Michael Zulli to provide the script for Guest Era stories "A Splinter in the Eye of God?", "Failed Instant", "O-Deed" and "Souls Winter".
Murphy became a staff writer for the 2003 TV series and wrote many children's books tied to that series.
Murphy returned to Mirage TMNT comics work in 2004 as chief editor of Tales of the TMNT volume 2 for the first 37 issues, after which Dan Berger became the new chief editor. Murphy was a frequent contributor of stories and scripts throughout this series' run, leaving his biggest fingerprint on TMNT comics since his work on TMNT Adventures. Often, when Murphy wrote or scripted a Tales story was illustrated by fellow Adventures veteran Chris Allan, he would once again be credited as Dean Clarrain.
In addition to TMNT stories, Tales of the TMNT also published a series of stories starring Murphy's character Professor Obligado, an Utrom adventurer. Though these stories were part of the Mirage TMNT continuity, Obligado's stories formed a separate, independent narrative only loosely connected to that of the turtles.
In 2006, Stephen Murphy again received recognition outside of TMNT for his work on the comics series Umbra, which became a 2007 Harvey Awards nominee for Best Continuing or Limited Series.
In 2014, Murphy, again credited as Dean Clarrain, reunited with artist Chris Allan to write a new TMNT Adventures short comic "Paper or Plastic?" as part of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 30th Anniversary Special by IDW Publishing.
Stephen Murphy is well known for incorporating certain recurring themes in his writing both in and out of TMNT, especially existential questions, social justice and environmental responsibility, the latter particularly in regard to global warming. These themes are usually framed through cautionary moral narratives woven into the story.
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- A Splinter in the Eye of God? (December 1989) - script
- O-Deed (December 1989) - script
- Sons of the Silent Age (February 1990) - story (with Jim Lawson)
- Souls Winter (July 1990) - script
- Failed Instant (February 1991) - words
- Not Forgotten (January 2004) - story
- Seeds of Destruction (March 2004) - story
- The Worms of Madness, Part 1 (May 2004) and Part 2 (July 2004) - story (with Rick Remender), script
- The Grape (July 2004) - story
- Scars (November 2004) - story (as Steve Murphy), script (as Dean Clarrain)
- The Raisin' (November 2004) - story
- Darkness Weaves (January 2005) - story (with Eric Talbot), script
- The Risen (February 2005) - story
- Community Service (March 2005) - script
- Kaddish (April 2005) - story
- The Question (April 2005) - story
- The Quick and the Dead (May 2005) - story (with Scott Cohn and Peter Laird), script
- Paris Nocturne (June 2005) - story (as Churchy La Femme, with Peter Laird as Pepé Le Pew), words
- Loops, Part 1 (July 2005) and Part 2 (August 2005) - story (with Peter Laird and Rick Remender), script
- First Mud (August 2005) - story
- Apocalypse Vow (September 2005) - story
- Sins of the Past (October 2005) - story (with Peter Laird), script (with Doug Rice)
- Wrong Turn (November 2005) - story (with Peter Laird and Jim Lawson)
- The Blue Hole (December 2005) - story (with Peter Laird), script
- Altered Fates (December 2005) - story
- A Ghost Story (January 2006) - script (with Ross May)
- The Trophy (February 2006) - story
- The Cure (February 2006) - story
- The Rippling (February 2006) - story (with Jake Black and Peter Laird), script (with Black)
- A (Bull) Wrinkle in Time (March 2006) - story (with Ryan Brown and Peter Laird), script
- Rock of Ages (June 2006) - story
- Kung-Fu Theatre (July 2006) - story (with Peter Laird), script
- The Doors of Deception (July 2006) - story
- My Hero! (July 2006) - story (with Diego Jourdan and Peter Laird)
- The Value of Gold (August 2006) - story
- White Horses (September 2006) - as Dean Clarrain, story (with Chris Allan and Peter Laird), script
- Shanghaied (October 2006) - story
- Circle of Darkness (December 2006) - concept, photo
- The Eye of Aga-Moo-Tou (February 2007) - words
- TMNT Movie Prequel #1: Disposable Heroes (March 2007) - story
- TMNT Movie Prequel #5: Five to One (March 2007) - story
- TMNT: The Official Movie Adaptation - second unit director
- The Bait (April 2007) - story (with Peter Laird and Mike Manley)
- The Pantheon (June 2007) - as Dean Clarrain, story (with Chris Allan), words
- Triptyche (September 2007) - story (with Dario Brizuela and Ryan Brown), script
- Silent Night (November 2007) - story (with Martin Casanova and Diego Jourdan), script
- Swan Song (December 2007) - story (with Steph Dumais), script
- The Amulet (March 2008) - story (with Jake Black)
- The Crystal at the Heart of the World (November 2008) - story (with Ryan Brown and Peter Laird), script
- All Tomorrow's Yesterdays (May 2009) - story (with Ryan Brown), script
- The Paradox of Chudnovsky (June 2011) - story, script
- Sons of the Silent Age (October 1, 2005) - writing
- The Ancient One (December 10, 2005) - writing
- Bishop to Knight (October 14, 2006) - writing
- The Journal (December 9, 2006) - writing
- The Day of Awakening (May 16, 2007) - writing