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Comic Book / The Chronicles of Wormwood

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Danny Wormwood is a popular television producer in New York City, with a reputation for creating hard-hitting if profane entertainment.

He's also the Antichrist.

Danny's having a pretty good time of things, though, and isn't interested in participating in the Apocalypse. Many people would like to convince him otherwise.

Wormwood is a horror/comedy series from Avatar Press by Garth Ennis, Jacen Burrows, and Oscar Jimenez, which currently consists of two miniseries (the second of which, The Last Battle, took about eighteen months to ship six issues) and a one-shot, The Last Enemy. Despite Ennis's high profile, Wormwood is surprisingly obscure even among Ennis's fans.

Not to be confused with Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse, an unconnected comedy-horror comic by Ben Templesmith.


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Tropes:

  • Affably Evil: Satan.
  • Author Tract: It's not the entire reason the book exists, but the first issue of the first series has some very pointed commentary about the life and works of Christ.
  • Awesome Aussie: Subverted: Jacko is a racist, short, foul-mouthed hedonist who regularly forces himself on nuns and ends up ruling Hell for a while. When one cardinal asks to be reminded how the hell they elected him, another answers it was him or the nigger.
  • Balcony Speech: Jacko starts giving one. Not many papal speeches start with "G'day!".
  • Black Best Friend: Wormwood's friend Jay is the Second Coming of Christ, although he's not often entirely lucid, because he has severe brain damage as the result of a cop caving in the side of his head with a nightstick. Lift the dreadlocks on his right temple and you can see a three-inch scar. His daddy sent him to Earth in the freaking sixties. Police Brutality at its finest.
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  • Brick Joke: A killer eunuch is mentioned as one of the Vatican's shock troops early on, before showing up in the flesh.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: After driving through Hell long enough, Jimmy becomes acclimated, claiming that once you spend a long enough time watching, you go from horrified to mildly depressed by all of it.
  • Corrupt Church: In Jay’s backstory, it is elaborated that his message of peace and love has been twisted by his followers ever since his death to punctuate his suffering to control the masses which Satan claims to have taken credit for, having pitched the idea to Emperor Nero. In modern times, the Vatican wound up electing Jacko - who is shown to be a hedonistic asshole with no respect for anyone or anything and an associate of Satan when no one else is around - as the new pope because “it was this or the nigger.”
  • Death Is Cheap: There are dozens of deceased humans who have left Heaven or Hell and are now wandering the streets. Joan of Arc happens to be one of them, being a recurring hook-up for Danny.
  • Divine Race Lift: Jesus’s second coming came in the form of Jay, a Black American from Compton (in-contrast to the Middle-Eastern Jesus of Nazareth).
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The Apocalypse is averted with God and Satan stuck together on a weapon and forced to forever wander the cosmos, Danny and Maggie manage to work out their issues and get back together, Pope Jacko's soul is sealed inside the mind of an asshole catatonic man and Jay finally starts to recover from his head injury and is planning on starting a talk show produced by Danny so he can go back to helping people.
  • Fate Worse than Death: God and Satan both end up drifting through space impaled on the lance of Longinus. And God still won't stop masturbating.
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Heaven is constructed largely by its inhabitants' expectations, so it quite resembles the well-populated theme park of popular fiction, complete with St. Peter standing at the gate.
    "You guys wanna come to the show tonight? We got Bill Hicks opening for Hendrix. No cover."
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The Beast with Seven Heads is named Nigel.
  • Functional Magic: Wormwood can do pretty much anything he wants... but if he's trying to do it to a mortal, or if he's on Earth at the time, he can only use his power once a day. We've never seen him do anything particularly remarkable with it, but there's no stated limit to it either.
  • God Karting with Beelzebub: In this context, God and Satan only have a professional relationship (not that God could really have a proper say in anything, being completely out of his mind, anyway). Their sons Jay and Danny on the other hand are definitely friends.
  • Infernal Paradise: During the guided tour of Heaven, Danny, Jimmy and Jay encounter a suicide bomber taking care of his 72 virgins. That is, 72 babies he is responsible for feeding and cleaning.
  • Ironic Hell: Hell in the story is basically this. Aside from the general torments of torture and mutilation inflicted by demons, the sinners are also inflicted with punishments having to do with their sins (like a pedophile being set upon by monster children). It's also a bit of Self-Inflicted Hell as the sinners choose where they go but unlike the Neil Gaiman version from sandman in which people are condemned by there own guilt (so innocent people can damn themselves or be trick into going to hell), people who die are shown the absolute truth of who and what they were, a truth so so powerful that, in Wormwood's words,"cannot be denied. Not even by the truly insane" and afterwards know where they have to go. Later on, Pope Jacko who had become the lord of hell states that for most, this realisation is the worst part of hell. Knowing, with absolute certainty, that you are a monster and deserve to be in hell.
    Jacko: It's the truth that does for most blokes. That's how it works. Yer pop yer clogs and find out what yer really amounted to. and where yer got to go for eternity because of it. I mean, can you fuckin' imagine the shock a' that...? Yer a cunt. There's a hell. and yer going there. And that's really hell, bein' helpless forever in the face of yer own cuntishness. Drives most o' them wacko straightaway. Take ol' Saddam as a recent example: Believed to the day they stretched his neck that he was a great leader. Cruel to be kind, Allah was on his side, woulda been fine if the wogs hadn't let him down..no. No, no, an' no.
  • Irony: The only reason why Jacko was elected to the position of pope was because "it was this or the nigger," ironic being that Jesus came again as a black man.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When Pope Jacko's cardinals call him to discuss the end of days, they claim that Danny’s criticism of religious fanaticism on live television is a sign that he is gathering his army of Satan-worshippers for the end of days. It takes Jacko - who is established to be a misogynistic asshole every bit as unworthy of his title would demand - to point out that not only is that very flimsy evidence at best, but the various incidents that happened in Danny’s life show that he is anything but interested in becoming the Prince of Darkness that he was destined to be. Later on, they bother him again by claiming that he went to Hell to gather his demonic armies, only for Jacko to point out that he could also just be visiting. He was right on both counts.
  • Jesus Was Way Cool: Jay's the single most sympathetic and likable character in the book, and in the rare event that you get to hear him explain his beliefs, he actually makes a great deal of sense.
  • Joan of Arc: Appears as a nymphomaniac who gets off on degrading sex with Englishmen. Such as Danny.
  • Karmic STD: The Chronicles of Wormwood: Jacko (the world's first Australian Pope) is a devout hedonist, regularly seen having sex with nuns. At the end of the first book, his scream of "Full-blown AIDS? FUCK!" can be heard outside the Vatican. This leads directly to the second and third arcs where he wants Jesus to cure him and revenge on Wormwood for preventing that, respectively.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Jacko ends up with AIDS from his nonstop fornication.
  • Living Lie Detector: It's impossible to lie in Jay's presence. If you try, you simply cannot finish the sentence.
  • Loser Deity: God is a moronic, Dirty Old Man who never stops masturbating, even when drifting through space with Satan, impaled on the Lance of Longinus.
  • Mark of the Beast: Danny has three sixes on his scalp.
  • Misaimed Fandom: In a weird sort of in-universe way. Every time a Satanist approached Danny as a kid with plans of worshiping him or helping him along his way to taking power, they turned up dead from a heart attack or brain tumor shortly thereafter, with a "traumatized" Danny unable to explain what had happened.
  • The Most Wanted: Danny and his coworkers pitch a new show about a man who wakes up one day to find every American law-enforcement agency gunning for him. He doesn't know why, and neither does the audience, keeping them guessing until the show's title shows up: "I Fucked The President's Wife".
  • Public Domain Artifact: The Vatican has been collecting various artifacts over the centuries, though most of them are fake, the "forest’s worth of one true cross" being one example.
  • Second Coming: What Jay is supposed to represent.
  • Take That!: The Catholic church, self-consciously "shocking" cable television shows, the Catholic church, Star Wars fans, the Catholic church, right-wing talk radio hosts, shock journalism, George W. Bush, and, by the way, the Catholic church.
  • Talking Animal: As Danny tells Maggie, he was down by the pier one day and saw a bunch of kids tormenting a rabbit. He hit the rabbit with his once-a-day mojo and the rabbit immediately became sentient and gained the ability to speak. The result is Jimmy: a proficient hacker and film buff with a Brooklyn accent who also happens to be a brown rabbit.
  • Villainous Friendship: Pope Jacko and Satan get on quite well together.
  • Visual Pun: Danny switches an asshole bartender's nose with his penis. The next time we see him, it's in his mouth... with the punchline provided in case you didn't get it: "Stop blowing your nose!"
  • Who's on First?: The bartender is rechristened "Fucknose" by Danny after the switch. Then at one point Danny answers a question with "Fuck knows", and the bartender asks "Yes?".

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