Second Coming, a six-issue comic book miniseries by writer Mark Russell and artist Richard Pace was to be published by DC Comics’ adult-oriented Vertigo imprint, but was pulled following a petition from a Christian group with over 200,000 signatures demanding for its cancelation, Comicbook reports
The book, as described by Mark Russell in an interview with Bleeding Cool, would have told the story of Jesus being forced to return to Earth so he can learn from superhero “Sun-Man,” a clear analog for DC’s Superman.
“God then sees this superhero on Earth a few thousand years later and says ‘that’s what I wanted for you!’ He sends Jesus down to learn from this superhero and they end up learning from each other. They learn the limitations of each other’s approach to the world and its problems.”
Russell, author of God is Disappointed in You and Apocrypha Now, believes that the modern Christian religion isn’t based on the teachings of Christ, who he sees as misunderstood.
In Second Coming, Jesus comes down and is distraught by what Christianity has become, going to a mega-church and seeing a billboard of a “Tom Brady-looking Jesus Christ throwing a football.”
According to Russell, the book isn’t just a parody on Christianity, but a comment on the limits of power.
The character of “Sun-Man” deals with relatable problems like his grandmother’s dementia, and his extraterrestrial nature impeding his marriage, problems his amazing superpowers are useless against.
“… they’re useful against 0.1 percent of the world’s problems. The other 99.9 percent are going to require empathy, understanding, and generosity. These are not powers in his toolkit.”
And last but not least out of the DC Vertigo panel! SECOND COMING from writer @Manruss and artist @rpace follows a superhero named Sun-Man who is “definitely not Superman” and who shares a two-bedroom apartment with Jesus Christ. Yes, really. #DCSDCC #SDCC2018 pic.twitter.com/B0JVIxODF3
— DC Vertigo (@vertigo_comics) July 21, 2018
Despite the comic not being out yet, its premise was reported on by Christian Headlines under the headline “Jesus is DC Comics’ Next Superhero.”
According to Bleeding Cool‘s Rich Johnson, this was the first in a long chain of articles that bounced Russell’s words all over the right-wing mediasphere, eventually reaching Fox News and Breitbart, now DC Comics faced a fully loaded outrage machine.
Soon after, a CitizenGo petition surfaced demanding for DC Comics to cancel the book.
“Would DC Comics publish similar content about other religious leaders, such as Mohammed or Buddha?
“This content is inappropriate and blasphemous. It should be immediately pulled from your publishing schedule.”
At the time of press, the petition has 230,520 signatures.
Despite having a long and proud history of publishing “blasphemous” best sellers like Preacher, Lucifer, and Hellblazer, DC Comics acquiesced.
Second Coming‘s publishing rights reverted back to its creators, who hope to shop around the comic to other publishers.