Blasphemous Jesus Christ comic book gets new home

(NEW YORK TIMES) Second Coming, a comic-book series with Jesus Christ as a character, is getting a second chance after DC Comics canceled it last month before its release. The series, written by Mark Russell and drawn by Richard Pace, will be published by AHOY Comics this summer. In the satirical comic, Jesus has a superhero roommate named Sunstar and learns what has become of his Gospel on earth.

Russell said his inspiration for Second Coming was to tell a story about power, in particular about how society “has fetishized physical violence and force as being the solution to every problem.” During a recent telephone interview, Russell said his goal was to examine that notion “by having a superhero who’s bought into this ideology being forced to confront somebody who has a completely different approach to human dynamics. Christ seemed like the natural standard-bearer for that nonviolent approach.”

The series was originally announced in July 2018 at San Diego Comic-Con. The next month, Russell discussed his plans in an interview with Bleeding Cool, a website devoted to pop culture. “The conceit is that God was so upset with Jesus’s performance the first time he came to Earth, since he was arrested so soon and crucified shortly after, that he has kept him locked up since then,” he said.

There was no adverse reaction until January, when news about the comic was reported by outlets like the Christian Broadcasting Network, Christian Headlines and Fox News. The Christian Broadcasting article described Second Coming as “closer to blasphemous than biblical” and noted the comic’s plans to present Jesus as a failure. A Citizen Go online petition asking DC to pull the series from its publication schedule garnered more than 235,000 signatures. The petition described the comic as inappropriate, and asked, “Can you imagine the media and political uproar if DC Comics was altering and poking fun at the story of Muhammad … or Buddha?” DC canceled the title on Feb. 13.

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