‘Second Coming’ comic book that depicts Jesus as a failure gets new publisher

Second Coming
An image from Ahoy Comics' "Second Coming" featuring Jesus Christ. |

A month after DC Comics canceled the publication of Second Coming, a satirical comic book series featuring Jesus Christ, after backlash from Christians, Ahoy Comics announced it will be publishing the six-part series this summer.

“On July 10, 2019, AHOY Comics will publish the debut issue of the 6-part SECOND COMING comic book series, featuring covers by the award-winning artist Amanda Conner,” the publisher said Tuesday.

A CitizenGo petition in January that attracted more than 235,000 supporters, had billed the comic book an “outrageous and blasphemous new series featuring Jesus Christ as the sidekick for an ‘all powerful’ superhero.” Supporters agreed that it was “inappropriate” in their petition asking DC Comics to cancel it.

In explaining the concept of Second Coming in an interview with Bleeding Cool last summer, author Mark Russell said it would reflect Jesus learning how to do a better job than He did the first time around with the help of a superhero.

“An all-powerful superhero, named Sun-Man, has to share a two bedroom apartment with Jesus Christ. 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,” Russell said.

“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,” the writer said.

Russell, who has previously written two prose books about the Bible (the national best-selling God Is Disappointed in You and its follow up Apocrypha Now) said in a release from Ahoy Comics Tuesday that he wrote the book to explore other ways of approaching the world.

“Having grown up in church, the teachings of Christ seemed like a good jumping off point to imagine other ways of approaching the world, and how those teachings have been twisted to serve the very institutions they were supposed to undermine,” Russell said.

“I wanted to make SECOND COMING to re-examine the embedded assumption in all our superhero comics, laws, and institutions of civilization that physical force is the only thing that changes the world. That maybe the good guys are not good simply because they're better at violence than the bad guys, but maybe because they can imagine ways for people to get along other than bribery and revenge. I suppose SECOND COMING is, like all my comics, ultimately about how our institutions have failed us,” he said.

Second Coming co-creator and artist Richard Pace revealed that DC Comics helped them find the new publisher and they are looking forward to the book’s publication after the earlier protests.

“After all the manufactured outrage, we’re looking forward to seeing what the intended audience for this book thinks when they read the first issue this summer,” Pace said.

AHOY Comics is a new publisher launched last fall with four acclaimed comic book magazine titles featuring full-length comic book stories, poetry, prose fiction, and cartoons from more than 70 artists and writers. The independent, Syracuse-based company is the brainchild of Publisher Hart Seely, an award-winning reporter whose humor and satire has appeared in The New York Times and on National Public Radio.

“We understand that the publication of SECOND COMING will get a strong reaction and we support Mark and Richard's satiric vision," Tom Peyer, AHOY Comics' editor-in-chief said.

“There are going to be people who don't want to read SECOND COMING, and that's fine. 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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