DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint was scheduled to release Second Coming, featuring Jesus coming to Earth and teaming with a local superhero, but backed out due to an online petition by CitizenGo. Now, AHOY Comics is picking up the ball and running with it for a July 2019 release.
God commands Earth’s mightiest superhero, Sunstar, to accept Jesus Christ as his roommate and teach him how to use His power His power in a… more powerful way. Jesus, shocked at the way humans have twisted his message over two millennia, vows to straighten it out.
Writer Mark Russell has previously written two acclaimed prose books about the Bible: the national bestselling God Is Disappointed in You and its follow up Apocrypha Now, both illustrated by Shannon Wheeler and published by Top Shelf Productions. The SECOND COMING series is Mark Russell’s first comic book series about God and religion. “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,” said Russell in a press release. “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.”
This isn’t the first time this has happened. Garth Ennis’s The Boys was a Wildstorm (another DC imprint) publication until the story became a bit too hot to handle, but DC did allow Ennis to take the series to Dynamite Entertainment, where it ran another six years and is now becoming a television series.
“We want to thank DC Comics for letting us find the right home for SECOND COMING,” said co-creator and artist Richard Pace. “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.”
One interesting thing to come out of this is the ease in which a publisher will allow a creator-owned comic to move to another house. Claims of being blocked from publishing one’s work due to a phone call now becomes a really shaky argument to make in court.
“We understand that the publication of SECOND COMING will get a strong reaction and we support Mark and Richard’s satiric vision,” said Tom Peyer, AHOY Comics Editor-in-Chief, who was one of the original editors for Vertigo Comics when the Mature Readers imprint was founded at DC Comics by Karen Berger. “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.”
Second Coming is scheduled to arrive on July 10, 2019.