DC Comics has announced the cancelation of a comic book series ‘Second Coming’ – featuring Jesus as a superhero sidekick – after nearly a quarter of a million Christians protested against it.
Over 235,000 people signed a petition calling the plans ‘blasphemous’ and saying DC comics would never dare print a similar comic book featuring Mohammed or Buddha.
Following the outcry, DC has informed retailers that the upcoming series has been cancelled, and that ‘these issues will not be resolicited.’
The organisers of the petition welcomed the news. However, the comic book’s author Mark Russell hopes to get the story published elsewhere.
Writing on Twitter he said, ‘I asked for the rights back’ and DC Comics ‘gracefully agreed’. He added, ‘They’ve been a pleasure to work with and it will still be released, albeit with a different publisher.’
Russell said the series centres on God being ‘so upset with Jesus’ 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 explained that when the fictional version of God sees ‘Sun-Man’, he tells the comic Jesus, ‘That’s what I wanted for you.’
‘He sends Jesus down to learn from this superhero and they end up learning from each other,’ Russell added. ‘They learn the limitations of each other’s approach to the world and its problems.’
The wording of the original petition against the comic book said, ‘Can you imagine the media and political uproar if DC Comics was altering and poking fun at the story of Muhammad or Buddha?
‘This blasphemous content should not be tolerated. Jesus Christ is the Son of God. His story should not be ridiculed for the sake of selling comic books.’
The petition said the proposed content is ‘inappropriate and blasphemous’, and ‘it should be immediately pulled’ from the publishing schedule.
Russell pointed out that his critics have labelled the series as ‘blasphemous’ before ever reading it.
‘They don’t know or care what the comic actually says about Christ, they just feel that they and their fellow travellers should be the only ones talking about him,’ the writer said.
He says he doesn’t consider himself a Christian but he claims to be a ‘great admirer of Christ.’ Russell believes churches have distorted Jesus’ message.
‘In this comic, Christ comes back and begins to reclaim his teachings from those who co-opted them for their own self-serving purposes,’ he said.