Jesus has been through a lot in the years since his resurrection. First, he morphed from a dark-skinned Middle Eastern carpenter to a skinny white dude. His message of peace has been used to justify wars, slavery, hatred, discrimination, and other travesties. That would seem to be counterintuitive to the whole Peace thing, but who am I to say? Moreover, His words have been through numerous edits since they were first laid down to parchment by Mark in 60 AD. So, all things considered, it’s amazing as much got through as did. Back in March of 2012, I wrote about how Jesus’ death became synonymous with bunnies and eggs. It all makes sense if you follow the bouncing historical ball. His birth, which happened nowhere near December, has become festooned with brightly lit trees that never existed, and still don’t, in the Middle East.
So, it should come as no surprise that someone decided to reimagine His life again.
Here’s the original press release.
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 superhero 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.
You don’t have to be a theologian to note this is meant to be satire.
But, apparently, you do need a third-grade education or something.
When the press release hit the internet all hell broke loose, if you’ll pardon the phrase. Conservative media used the word “blasphemous” so often you would some heinous act had been committed.
It hasn’t and now it won’t.
DC Comics, the people who put all this together, caved due to a “Million Mad People” petition which garnered 240,000 signatures (that’s less than a million in case you’re curious) from people who would never have bought the book anyway.
The Guardian has the whole story.
The Second Coming series, from DC imprint Vertigo, was due to launch on 6 March. Written by Mark Russell and illustrated by Richard Pace, its story followed Jesus’s return to Earth. “Shocked to discover what has become of his gospel,” he teams up with a superhero, Sun-Man, who is more widely worshipped than him.
But the comics publisher has now told retailers that the series has been canceled. The decision follows a 200,000-signature petition from anti-abortion, anti-LGBT conservative campaign site CitizenGo calling on DC to pull the comic. “Would DC Comics publish similar content about other religious leaders, such as Muhammad or Buddha?” said the petition. “This content is inappropriate and blasphemous.”
Russell told Syfy Wire that he and Pace had requested that rights for the comic be returned to them after they were warned that requests for more significant changes would probably be on the way.
“So I decided I would rather keep the story intact,” he said. “Nobody really wants a watered-down, one-size-fits-none version of this story, so they graciously agreed to let me have it back … We also want a publisher who can get it to fans in the near future, so we hope to be able to announce a new home as soon as possible.”
CitizenGo claimed the decision as a victory, telling Syfy Wire that Second Coming “portrays a false view” of Jesus, who is “not a failure”. It added: “Most children grow up reading about iconic DC superheroes like Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman. It would be a shame to market this false view of Jesus as an equal read to these figures.”
Russell was undeterred. “I first heard of CitizenGo … when they ran this silly campaign to get the buses in Portland to drop ads featuring lesbians. They would be completely ridiculous if not for the fact that social media’s anger-made-easy platforms give them access to cranks from all over the world. But it’s OK. Some enemies are worth having,” he told Syfy Wire. “I think the religious fundamentalists and critics who are trying to stop Second Coming aren’t interested in protecting Christ so much as their ability to control his narrative … They probably (correctly) suspect that it’s not Christ who’s being parodied, but themselves and how they’ve twisted his teachings of mercy for the powerless into a self-serving tool of the powerful.”
Oh, golly, someone might parody religion? Thank God that’s never happened before.
Oh, wait. Never mind.
The thing is, this seems pretty tame. It’s not like he’s turning Jesus into a porn star. He’s just catching up on what his ministry has become and doing so with the tutelage of a Super Hero. It could have been any character, but a parody of Superman, which was a modernization of the Christ mythos written by a Jew during the rise of fascism, seems like a series of good choices.
There is a wealth of material there. And I’m looking forward to reading it when it finally comes out. Which it will.
Plus, as far as CitizenGo is concerned, I might suggest they take a glance in the New Testament.
“If anyone says, I love God, but hates the brothers or sisters, he is a liar … Whoever loves God must also love the brothers and sisters.” (I John 3:20, 21)
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