DC Comics Drops Superhero Jesus Comic Second Coming After Conservative Outrage
Whelp, there go my hopes for a Jesus/Aquaman crossover book.
DC Comics has announced that it will be dropping their upcoming comic Second Coming, after massive backlash from Fox News, Breitbart, and conservative Christians. The comic, written by Mark Russell (Wonder Twins, Snagglepuss) with art by Richard Pace (Imaginary Fiends), follows a resurrected Jesus Christ as he returns to a world that now worships a superhero called Sun-Man.
The official description reads: “Witness the return of Jesus Christ, as He is sent on a most holy mission by God to learn what it takes to be the true messiah of mankind by becoming roommates with the world’s favorite savior: the all-powerful super hero Sun-Man, the Last Son of Krispex! But when Christ returns to Earth, he’s shocked to discover what has become of his gospel—and now, he aims to set the record straight.”
The comic, which was set to be released on March 6th, was canceled following an online protest petition that garnered over 230,000 signatures. The petition called the comic “outrageous and blasphemous”, saying “Would DC Comics publish similar content about other religious leaders, such as Mohammed or Buddha?”
It should be noted that all these people protesting the comic have never read it and are, quite literally, judging a book by its cover. Russell tweeted that the decision was amicable, and he bears no ill will towards DC or the Vertigo imprint. The rights have since reverted back to Russell and Pace, as they shop the book elsewhere.
The: DC/Vertigo’s cancellation of the orders for Second Coming, just so you know, DC did not do anything untoward to me. I asked for the rights back and they gracefully agreed. They’ve been a pleasure to work with and it will still be released, albeit with a different publisher.
— Mark Russell (@Manruss) February 13, 2019
Also, re: Second Coming, I want to thank everyone at Vertigo who’s gotten it to the point where it’s as good as it is. Specifically, I want to thank Molly, Maggie, and Mark for all their support and hard work. Wherever it ends up coming out, know that this is still your book.
— Mark Russell (@Manruss) February 13, 2019
Re: Second Coming. My goal is always to write the best books I can about things I have a deep personal attachment to. Publishers have goals of their own. Sometimes our goals complement each other’s, sometimes they don’t. It’s okay to admit it when they don’t and go separate ways.
— Mark Russell (@Manruss) February 14, 2019
Russell elaborated on the backlash in an interview with SyfyWire, where he said that DC/Vertigo wanted to make several changes to the book that he and Pace were not on board for (mainly concerning profanity and nudity in a garden of Eden scene). Russell said, “I decided I would rather keep the story intact and remain true to the original vision and get into the hands of readers in a more timely fashion.”
Russell also blames Fox News for latching onto the outrage as a means of counter-programming during the Trump government shut down.
“The weird thing about the Fox News story was that it was published six months after Vertigo announced Second Coming. This is a pretty common tactic with Fox News … Fox likes to lean on culture war stories, both to change the subject and to rally the base around some manufactured outrage. The release of Second Coming wasn’t newsworthy to them until they needed it to be.”
Ultimately, Russell thinks that his book would have won over conservatives and skeptics.
“I think once people actually read the book, a lot of them will be embarrassed by how up in arms they were. It’s actually a very pro-Christ comic, as he’s the character who actually offers a meaningful alternative to violence. Superheroes tend to lean on violence as a solution because it’s what they’re good at. But drop-kicking someone into a volcano or throwing them through a plate-glass window only works for solving a very small percentage of human problems. The other 99.9% of problems require empathy and that’s the superpower that Christ brings to the table.”
(via Huffington Post, image: DC Comics)
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