Second Coming, the series DC/Vertigo cancelled amid protests from Christian activists, has found its new home at AHOY Comics. The title, which teams Jesus Christ with a Superman analog, was first announced with the rest of DC's recent Vertigo launches back in June of 2018, but attracted the attention of Christian activists and FOX News in the weeks leading up to the planned publication of its first issue this month.
Ultimately, over 200,000 people signed a petition insisting that DC not publish the book, but even before that, things had apparently begun to sour between DC and the creative team, with the publisher requesting significant changes to the comic as well as a publishing delay.
The religious satire from writer Mark Russell and artist Richard Pace centered on an odd-couple pairing of Jesus Christ and a thinly-veiled Superman analogue, with the idea being that God had sent His son back to Earth so that he and "Sun-Man" could learn from each other. It had, perhaps not surprisingly, drawn heavy criticism from conservative Christians.
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. "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."
AHOY Comics launched last fall with four acclaimed comic book magazine titles featuring full length comic book stories, poetry, prose fiction, and cartoons from more than seventy 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.
"The goal of AHOY Comics is not just to publish the greatest comic book magazines in the world, but the greatest funny books you can find," said Seely. "And the Second Coming series sits perfectly next to the superhero parody The Wrong Earth, the religious satire High Heaven, the sci-fi spoof Captain Ginger, and the over-the-topic literary antics of our anthology series Edgar Allen Poe's Snifter of Terror."
"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."
Joining the creative team is colorist Andy Troy, who will color sequences in the comic not colored by Pace. More details about Second Coming, including a cover artist, will be released closer to the series' debut.
"As a former newspaper man, I expect that there will be some headlines saying that this is the second coming of Second Coming," said AHOY Comics Publisher Hart Seely. "It's a fun headline, but it only hints at the compelling story that will be told. We're not chasing headlines by publishing Second Coming. We're publishing a thoughtful satire that examines spirituality and religion in the contemporary world. And the jokes are damn good."
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