Interview: Mark Russell on AHOY Comics’ Second Coming

Second Coming #1 Amanda Conner cover

Second Coming #1 Amanda Conner cover


Mark Russell is the popular writer of Wonder Twins, The Lone Ranger: The Deaf Smith Cattle War, The Flintstones, Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles, and more. His latest series, with artist Richard Pace, is Second Coming, the story of God sending Jesus back to earth to learn about power in a new way from the superhero Sunstar. Russell talks with Westfield’s Roger Ash about this hot new comic from AHOY.

Westfield: There’s been a lot of buzz and controversy surrounding Second Coming and no one’s even read it yet. What’s your take on the situation?

Mark Russell: The fact that there’s so much controversy over a comic book that nobody’s even read yet is pretty much Exhibit A that it’s feigned outrage. That it’s simply clickbait for YouTube anger merchants and a cheap distraction tactic for cable news outlets. Meanwhile, they don’t seem very concerned at all about the very real blasphemies unfolding every day in the world around them. Priests using their positions within Christianity to abuse children, Church leaders covering up for them, and mega-churches embracing nationalism and a prosperity doctrine that is utterly contemptuous of the teachings of Christ. Maybe take on these blasphemies first and then see if you have any energy left over to go after a comic book.

Second Coming #1 Richard Pace cover

Second Coming #1 Richard Pace cover


Westfield: What’s the genesis of the story?

Russell: It’s really a meditation on power, its abuses, and its short-comings as a tool for dealing with the problems central to life on Earth. Religion, superheroes, and political theories are, in a limited sense, all the same thing… a thought experiment on how we should apply power to make the world a better place. Superhero comics usually seem to operate under the assumption that the best way to fix the world is to punch out the right people. I wanted to introduce Christ into the thought experiment to broaden the palette of possibilities in discussing the nature of power on Earth.

Westfield: Who is Jesus’ roommate, Sunstar?

Russell: He is the Earth’s most powerful superhero. He is pretty much invulnerable, at least physically. He has the powers that one would normally associate with a near-omnipotent superhero like Superman or Captain Marvel, but they’re still inadequate for the problems he faces in his own life. How does super-strength help save your grandmother from succumbing to dementia? What good is being able to fly when you’re trying to adopt a child?

Second Coming interior art by Richard Pace

Second Coming interior art by Richard Pace


Westfield: What sorts of challenges await Jesus and Sunstar?

Russell: Sunstar’s approach to life on Earth is so completely different than Christ’s. And it’s one that Sunstar has never really given much thought to. He just sort of does whatever is expected of him as a superhero. So perhaps the biggest challenge they face is how to co-exist. But Christ, having been away from Earth for the last two thousand years, also faces other new challenges… like auto traffic.

Westfield: What can you tell us about your collaboration with artist Richard Pace?

Russell: My first conversations with Richard were about the tone of the piece and what sort of world this story takes place in and he really just took the ball and ran with it. The scenes in Heaven are otherworldly and beautiful in a way I couldn’t have predicted and the way his art contrasts it with life on Earth amidst all the urban decay and shabby ruins of everyday life is really quite elegant. He not only brings my vision to life in this comic, he adds a creative element that makes it transcend what we had originally planned.

Second Coming #2 Amanda Conner cover

Second Coming #2 Amanda Conner cover


Westfield: Any closing comments?

Russell: Regardless of what people may have heard about this comic, I hope people will give Issue 1 a chance and decide for themselves.

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