Geek Vibes Interview: Writer Mark Russell for ‘Second Coming: Only Begotten Son’

Mark Russell is a busy man. He not only wrote the recently finished Billionaire Island but he also wrote the uniquely controversial Second Son. It told the story of Jesus coming to live with Sunstar, the planet’s strongest Superhero. What could go wrong?  Well the answer was not much. It was well received. Even by those with reservations.

So now, basking in the success of its first season, Second Coming is returning with Second Coming: Only Begotten Son. In preparation for its return, we are pleased to once again talk to writer Mark Russell.

Talking About Second Son

GVL: Thanks Mark for once again visiting with us. Let’s get right to it. I know that the “Genesis” of Second Coming getting to publication was a complex one. If you don’t mind, can you give our followers the skinny of how Second Coming came to Ahoy from DC.

MR: Yeah, so there was some controversy that arose over Second Coming on what had to be a slow news day. So, I think DC’s attitude, at least on a corporate level was sort of, “Remind me how this comic about Jesus Christ helps us sell Batman lunchboxes?”

So, after initially trying to get Richard and I to make so many changes that it would basically be another comic, we asked for the rights back and DC graciously agreed. I think AHOY was always kind of a natural fit for this comic. Because, as a new company, that sort of publicity was actually an asset for them. And also because, as a sort of high-concept satirical comic, this is the sort of thing they publish.

Career Suicide

GVL: After the first issue of Second Coming was published, you bemused in the first issue commentary that perhaps both yourself and Ahoy were possibly committing “career suicide.” Well here we are at the 2nd Season. At what point did you realize that your “blasphemy” would not be a career killer and was accepted for what you intended?

MR: After the reviews of the first issue started rolling in, it seemed to me that most people got it. We got a lot of response from people who said they bought a copy of Second Coming to hate-read it, which has to be a miserable experience to pay for. But then ended up enjoying it, much to their surprise. So, in that sense, the attempts to shut us down really backfired. Because a lot of people read the comic out of curiosity about the controversy, and we got more readers in the long run.

Initial Plans

GVL: After the success of Second Coming, did you already have a follow up in mind or were you not that presumptuous? And once a second season was in the cards, what was your inspiration for Begotten Son? (The first issue is excellent by the way and the origin story of Sunstar is brilliant and humorously done.)

MR: No, I absolutely WAS that presumptuous. Because I not only had a follow-up season in mind, but two or three seasons in mind. In fact, much of the second season are stories I developed while writing the first season but didn’t have space to include them in the first six issues. I have about four seasons in mind and they all tell a coordinated narrative. So, hopefully, there’s much more to come.

Lessons Learned

GVL: Well that’s good news and gives us more to look forward to. Finally, now that you have weathered the storm of the initial controversies and come out the other side, would you have done anything differently with Season One of Second Coming in hindsight, or did it turn out exactly as you envisioned? What did you learn that you applied to this new chapter?

MR: If I’d known that Second Coming was going to have a second season, I probably would have spread the story out more. Had Sunstar’s origin story (which is told in the first issue of the new season) in the first six issues. But back then, I wasn’t even sure if we were going to be able to complete one full season, so I told as complete and compact a story as I could, preparing for the hatchet that never came.

GVL: Thank you so much for once again giving us your time. We look forward to seeing what you and Richard have in store for Second Coming: Only Begotten Son.

MR: Thank you.

if you get the chance, you really need to check out Ahoy’s Second Coming and Second Coming: Only Begotten Son. It is not only quite funny, but it explores the topics of God, Jesus and Man in a way that promotes not only thought, but conversation. (Did I mention it was funny?) Even if it might not be what you imagined. You can find our review of the first issue of Second Coming: Only Begotten Son here.

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