Amid protests from religious groups, DC has apparently cancelled Second Coming, its planned Vertigo series that would have teamed Jesus Christ with a Superman analog.
First announced with the rest of DC's recent Vertigo launches back in June of 2018, Second Coming attracted the attention of Christian activists and FOX News in the weeks leading up to the planned publication of its first issue in March.
Retailers received an e-mail today indicating that orders for the first two issues of the series had been cancelled and that the title would not be resolicited.
This comes on the heels of over 100,000 signatures gathered on a petition to kill the book on the grounds that it was "outrageous and blasphemous." They took issue with the notion that God would unfavorably compare Jesus to a superhero and give him "homework" to be a better Messiah.
Comics retailer Ryan Higgins, whose tweet alerted fans to the cancellation, noted, "No one tell DC that they published Preacher."
Shortly thereafter, writer Mark Russell rose to the defense of DC, saying that he has asked for the rights back to the project, and that he still plans to publish it, presumably at a publisher where it will generate less hate mail.
"DC/Vertigo’s cancellation of the orders for Second Coming, just so you know, DC did not do anything untoward to me," Russell tweeted. "I asked for the rights back and they gracefully agreed. They’ve been a pleasure to work with and it will still be released, albeit with a different publisher."
Artist Richard Pace has not yet commented as of this writing.
Russell also has Wonder Twins #1 out today from DC's Wonder Comics pop-up imprint, a teen-centric imprint overseen by Brian Michael Bendis.
"The goal is never to take people by surprise; It is always just to talk about the world in the medium that has been given to me," Russell told ComicBook.com during an interview in support of Wonder Twins, which will run in full later this afternoon. "It's always challenging because I feel like I want to say something that's not only relevant, but entertaining, and to me that's the challenge."
Russell, who also wrote the Biblical satires God is Disappointed In You and Apocrypha Now, likely drew the ire of critics in part because the new series was poised to tackle the disparity between Christian teachings and the behavior of many religious groups.14comments
Here's the official synopsis for the first issue: "Witness the return of Jesus Christ, as He is sent on a most holy mission by God to learn what it takes to be the true messiah of mankind by becoming roommates with the world’s favorite savior: the all-powerful super hero Sun-Man, the Last Son of Krispex! But when Christ returns to Earth, he’s shocked to discover what has become of his gospel—and now, he aims to set the record straight."
ComicBook.com has reached out to DC for comment, but has not received a response.