Ask an Atheist with Sam Mulvey

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's an Overreaction!

ABOVE: Action Comics vol. 2, #1, DC Comics 2011, written by Grant Morrison, art by Rags Morales.

It’s not often that two things I love so much get packaged together in one glorious news story. It’s like someone getting their chocolate in my peanut butter. It’s this case somebody got their whiny self-martyring Christian whackadoo story into my story about comic books.

Now, I make no secret of how much I love comics. I can hardly let an episode of “Ask an Atheist” pass without making a passing reference to Aquaman, but it’s really a rarity for my two favorite hobbies — comic books and atheist activism — to cross paths.  They now have, thanks to a North Carolina comic shop owner.

The owner of the aptly-named “Comic Conspiracy” threw a huge fit on Facebook when something Superman said in the newly relaunched Action Comics #1 offended his tender Christian feelings.

As a result, the retailer was threatening to boycott not only the new Action Comics series, but all titled penned by popular series writer, Grant Morrison, because in the issue Superman apparently commits the ultimate sin and… *gasp*…blasphemes.

Wait. What?

“Christian comic book readers and shop owners,” the retailer bloviates. “Join us in the Grant Morrison Boycott. Action Comics #1 is a slap in the face to Superman, Christians and Superman creators Siegel and Shuster!!”

Now I have a copy of this comic and when I saw the headline, I was completely confused. I honestly couldn’t think of anything particularly blasphemous in the issue. I mean, sure, it’s a unorthodox story about a younger Man of Steel that draws a lot from his earliest appearances back in the 1930s. He’s young, reckless and  tends to focus his anger on bullies that exploit the little guy, but I missed the part where he tweaked his nose at Christianity. Because I probably would have giggled at it.

The retailer isn’t giggling.

I accepted gay characters being introduced into a children specific book like Archie Comics. I however am getting very tired of having comic writer’s liberal agendas force fed to me. Mr. Morrison has stepped over my line. If I have to stand alone on this… I will.

Oh. goody. He’s a homophobe, too!

Now this guy has every right to use his own privately-owned business as a soapbox for his pompous, bigoted tirades. And folks like me, who find this sort of thing tiring and obnoxious, have every right to take our comic book business elsewhere.

Alright, so I’ve kept you in suspense long enough. What specifically happened in this comic book to get this guy so worked up? Well.. this panel in particular, where Superman is shot in the back by a tank.

Wait. That’s it?


That’s freaking hilarious. The owner thinks that Superman is abbrieviating his profanity in…textspeak?

Or…maybe Superman is just grunting an unintelligible syllable BECAUSE HE JUST GOT SHOT IN THE BACK BY A FUCKING TANK!

You’d think that the previous uses of “DHH!” and “GNUHH!” in the same issue as exclamations of surprise and injury would have made this shop owner realize that he’s overreacting and pulling an imagined controversy out of his ass.

First of all, it’s sort of funny how he’s assuming that a fictional super-powered alien from another planet created two Jewish guys — the previously named Siegel and Shuster –would be a Christian. DC Comics has always been intentionally evasive in assigning Superman political and religious stances for decades, so that the character can be really be “owned” by all of his readers and fans. Throughout the seventies and early eighties, whenever Superman did invoke a religious exclamation, he would usually just say, “Great Rao!”, referencing the Kryptonian sun god. Not Jesus. Not YHWH.

But most importantly, I have a message for the fundamentalist Christians of the world. You may want to sit down, because it may be hard for you to accept this. Here it is:

Everything in the world is not always about you.


While it’s probably terrifically flattering to believe that you’re a persecuted minority because there are people in the world that are allowed to not follow your narrow religious doctrines, you’re just fooling yourselves by pretending that everyone is out to get you, or that an American Christian really has a trying existence. You’re not a martyr because you occasionally have to see something that offends you, and other people aren’t deliberately doing it to offend you.

You’re not Indiana Jones, tied to a stake and trying to keep your eyes shut tight while all of the world’s gays and atheists and liberals and secular artistic types open the Ark and unleash all sorts of terrible evil upon the world. We’re not doing this stuff to attack you. To the contrary, we hardly give you folks a moment’s thought. We’re just living our lives, doing what we enjoy, what we feel is right and what we find meaningful.

We don’t wring our hands together in our secret lairs coming up with ways to hurt and offend you. In fact, if you folks didn’t spend so much time trying to limit the rights of others, or pushing your dogmas into laws, your superstitions into our public science classes and your delusions into our foreign and domestic policy, then we could afford to go on ignoring you.

But we are going to poke fun at you when we catch you overreacting like this, or acting like you’re being victimized because you can’t tell everyone what to do. The world doesn’t exist to protect your precious feelings. Especially in cases, like this, when you’re just plainly and stupidly wrong. 

If anything proves how precisely Christians aren’t being persecuted in this country, it’s how they have to manufacture crap like this to be offended by.

About the Author: Mike Gillis

Mike Gillis is co-creator, and co-host of Ask an Atheist. He hosts the Radio vs. the Martians! and Mike and Pól Save the Universe! podcasts. He also enjoys comic books, the Planet of the Apes, and the band Queen.

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As a worshipper of Duhurrherp , I demand that you retract your in-vain name-taking. To type “DHH!” in your article so casually and irreverently is an affront to us D’erp-ers.


As a member of Gnostic Nordites Understanding His Holiness, I demand that you retract your blasphemy. We GNUHHsicans will not stand for your liberal attacks on our constitutionally protected religion!


Lets assume that the letters “GD” were in fact intended to mean “God damn” and that Superman was actually speaking the letters and not the words. Is this bizarre acronyistic speak consistent in any way with the rest of the comic? Or with the style? Or the series? Is there anywhere else in this publishers entire library of product where any character randomly speaks in acronyms? If so, what were the reasons for text speak? If the answer is ‘yes’ then it is fair to say that Superman may have been exclaiming “God damn” when shot in the back by… Read more »


Yep, sounds like a religious paranoia trip. Just guessing out of my butt here, but Mr. Comic Conspiracy may be feeling guilty about something horrible he did in the past which deserves an attack. So since he thinks there is a liberal agenda out to get people like him who do these horrible things (whatever they are), he believes a comic book author (or editor) has created an attack using Superman! LOL. Oh well, I guess they’ll have to go back to the old spelling of unintellible speech… like “gudd” or “gah” or “gumph”… so Mr. Comic Conspiracy won’t freak… Read more »


its two letters get over it we r not the boggie man out to smear gods name but every one has the right to how they think right and belive if u dont like it dont look. i do belive i learned in sunday school when i was younger that god said to turn the other cheek.if u pick a choose witch values u want to follow then u r just a hipocret (yes i know i spelt it wrong)


“we r not the boggie man out to smear gods name”

Speak for yourself. I most certainly am out to smear it.


“i do belive i learned in sunday school when i was younger”

Just out of interest, did you happen to go to school any other days of the week?


get over ur over religus ways no one is out to get u or god

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