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Conservative Backlash Forces DC Comics to Cancel New Comic Featuring Jesus as Superhero

  • Culture

Sumayyah Daisy Lane, BA History

There’s a new superhero on the block and his name is Jesus.

“Second Coming”, DC Comics’ new comic series featuring Jesus Christ as the superhero has been cancelled following huge backlash. Written by Mark Russel and illustrated by Richard Pace, the comic had been commissioned for six issues and was set to hit shelves March 6th, 2019.

“Second Coming” was scheduled to release under DC Vertigo, an imprint of the publisher responsible for publishing mostly adult and graphic content.

The comic’s storyline revolves around Jesus’ non-biblical return to Earth. Upon returning, he is outraged by modern Christians and how much the religion has changed in 2000 years. Jesus shares the limelight with second hero and roommate, Sun-Man, who teaches him how to be a real messiah of mankind as God had intended for him. In an interview with “Bleeding Cool”, Russel revealed that the two heroes learn from each other to set “the gospel straight” and please God. In the series, Jesus is void of any high powers. After the show’s announcement, DC Comics faced a huge wave of criticism from conservative Christians.

An online petition was started to see to the show’s cancellation, branding it as “outrageous and blasphemous”. The petition gained 235,000 signatures and was sent directly to DC Comic’s Executive Vice President Amit Desai, Publisher Dan Didio, and Chief Creative Officer Jim Lee. 

“Would DC Comics publish similar content about other religious leaders, such as Muhammad or Buddha?” the petition read. “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.”

Following the backlash and warnings from DC Comics of major changes to follow, the comic’s creators requested the rights back. They currently remain on the lookout for a new publisher.

Russel took to Twitter to say that DC Comics relinquished the rights to the comic series “gracefully”. He also stated that the comic “will still be released, albeit with a different publisher”. Russel emphasised that the decision to split from DC Comics was amicable, defending them saying, “publishers have goals of their own. Sometimes our goals complement each other’s, sometimes they don’t. It’s okay to admit it when they don’t and go separate ways”.

Pace echoed this sentiment on Twitter, “We’re looking forward to announcing a new home for Sun-Man, Jesus and their family soon.”

The decision by DC Comics was no doubt a smart move. Having struggled in competing with Marvel Comics, their latest movie Aquaman was a massive success as DC Comics’ second-biggest film grosser in North America. The release of “Second Coming” could have been a step backwards by estranging a sizeable proportion of their audience.

Photo Credit: DC Comics

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