Second Coming comic's second coming

Resurrection of a ‘blasphemous’ superhero series about Jesus

A controversial comic-book about Jesus has come back from the dead.

Despite more than 230,000 people signing an online petition that helped persuade DC Comics to not publish Second Coming, the comic book has been picked up by a smaller company, Ahoy Comics.

Second Coming has been labelled “blasphemous” – just check out our Facebook comments – as its storyline suggests God was disappointed with Jesus Christ during his life on earth. Notably, God thought the crucifixion was “disastrous”. Writer Mark Russell has God blocking Jesus’ view of earth after his ascension but, eventually, sends him back two thousand years later. To learn “a more powerful way” … from a superhero.

Apart from being roommates with a superhero, Jesus also is “shocked at the way humans have twisted his message over two millennia [and] vows to straighten it out.”

The large online petition against Second Coming asked people to consider the outcry if other religious figures were similarly lampooned. “Can you imagine the media and political uproar if DC Comics was altering and poking fun at the story of Muhammad … or Buddha?” wrote Gregory Mertz, US campaign director for Citizen Go (that hosted the petition).

During this 40th anniversary year of the release of 1979’s The Life of Brian – another contentious artwork based loosely around the life and impact of Jesus – Second Coming‘s creators Russell and artist Richard Pace cite that Monty Python movie as their favourite example of religious satire.

“I don’t think it should be controversial to maintain that the rest of us have every right to enjoy it.” – Tom Peyer

According to Pace, their own satiric ambitions were dumped by DC because of fears about the response from vocal Christian groups in the US. “The feeling I had is DC wanted to publish the book as Mark and I saw it. They didn’t see the controversy as inherently a bad thing … But [parent company] Warner Bros., for various reasons, didn’t want to upset the religious right.”

Ahoy Comics was only launched last year and has since released four separate series. Editor-in-chief Tom Peyer has slated Second Coming to be released during this year’s American summer.

“There are going to be people who don’t want to read Second Coming, and that’s fine,” said Peyer. “It’s not for everyone. But I don’t think it should be controversial to maintain that the rest of us have every right to enjoy it.”

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