The second coming of Jesus Christ will have to wait.
DC Comics decided to cancel the release of a comic book titled "Second Coming" that featured Jesus as the sidekick of a superhero named Sun-Man following a wave of backlash from online critics who labeled the book "blasphemous."
The co-creators of the comic, writer Mark Russell and artist Richard Pace, announced the cancellation last week on their Twitter pages. It was scheduled to be released on March 6 under DC Vertigo, a wing of DC which publishes comics with more of a graphic or adult tone.
"My goal is always to write the best books I can about things I have a deep personal attachment to," Russell tweeted. "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."
In a separate tweet, Russell said he asked for the rights back to "Second Coming" and DC "gracefully agreed."
"DC did not do anything untoward to me," he wrote. "They've been a pleasure to work with and it will still be released, albeit with a different publisher."
Requests for comment from DC Comics were not immediately returned.
The 32-page comic is centered on Jesus returning to Earth and teaming up with Sun-Man to complete his "most holy mission by God" and "learn what it takes to be the true messiah of mankind," according to DC Comics.
In January, a petition was launched on CitizenGo, an online platform that promotes campaigns geared towards defending religious beliefs, calling on the publisher to cancel the series after Russell said in an interview that Christ was sent back to Earth because "God was so upset with Jesus' performance the first time" that he kept him locked away.
More than 234,000 people had signed the petition, saying the comic book was "inappropriate" and portrayed Jesus as a "clueless superhero sidekick."
"Can you imagine the media and political uproar if DC Comics was altering and poking fun at the story of Muhammad... or Buddha," the petition stated. "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."
Russell told HuffPost that the outrage came before anyone even read the comic. He also said DC had requested changes be made to the series that he and Pace were not comfortable with.
Pace told fans in a tweet they are "looking forward to announcing the new home for Sun-Man, Jesus and their family soon."