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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:

  • Adolf Hitlarious: While it isn't shown on-panel, Adolf is condemned to lick shit off a giant, uncircumcized cock, for all eternity.
  • Affably Evil: Satan.
  • Almighty Idiot: This universe's version of God basically behaves like someone with severe mental disability. He appears to be totally incapable of any sort of rational thought and spends all his time rubbing his junk.
  • Anti Anti Christ: Danny might be the spawn of Satan, but he doesn't give two shits about the prophecies or bringing about the Apocalypse, or anything else to do with dear old dad. And he happens to be literally Pals with Jesus, who happens to have similar daddy issues.
  • 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.
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  • 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!".
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Oddly enough, while Fucknose's nose-dick is on full display, Satan has no genitals.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Even moreso than usual in this case, as to conceive Danny, dear old dad turned into a jackal and raped a homeless girl.
  • The Bogan: Pope Jacko, the first Australian Pope.
  • Brick Joke: A killer eunuch is mentioned as one of the Vatican's shock troops early on, before showing up in the flesh.
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • Wormwood is definitely not afraid to tell his father Satan how poorly he thinks of him, and where he can shove his plans for his son.
    • Jay did this the first time he returned to Heaven, discovering God making little toy houses from his own excrement.
  • Child by Rape: Wormwood. Satan conceived him by forcing himself on a homeless girl. while in the form of a jackal.
  • 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 Constantine. 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.”
  • Council of Angels: Implied to be what's really running most of Heaven and the ferrying of worthy souls there, given that God is a drooling, insane, constantly-masturbating moron. All things considered they seem to do a pretty good job of it from what we see.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Danny vs. Judas. A particularly bad showing on Judas's part since he was armed with a magic weapon specifically designed to kill Danny, and he still got stomped (literally).
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Wormwood, as stated, has no desire to do what prophecy says he's supposed to do despite his origins, being content to live a (mostly) ordinary life as a human. For that matter, so does Babs AKA the Whore of Babylon.
  • 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).
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Danny's mother, right after giving birth to him. Given the circumstances (she was raped by Satan in the form of a jackal) it's sadly understandable.
    • Subverted by Judas Iscariot, who we learn didn't hang himself in remorse but suffered an auto-erotic asphyxiation accident.
    • Jimmy spreads rumors online about upcoming Star Wars movies, resulting in a morbidly obese fan blowing himself up dressed as a Tusken raider at Skywalker Ranch.
  • 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, Jimmy gets introduced to a female rabbit, 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.
  • Easy Road to Hell: Inverted; it's Heaven that's surprisingly easy to get into. Bill Hicks and Jimi Hendrix are there, and a comic book shop owner gets taken there after a fatal heart attack even though he wonders what he did to deserve it (turns out, as his angel guide tells him, just being a genuinely Nice Guy helping kids find joy in reading was good enough); Double Subverted with the suicide bomber, who really ends up with 72 virgins... that is, babies. That he has to care for (feeding, putting to sleep, cleaning up...). By himself. Forever.
  • Everyone Hates Mimes: The road to Hell is paved with, not good intentions (that's just a figure of speech), but mimes.
  • Evil Brit:
    • Thoroughly subverted with Danny. He may be The Antichrist and British-born, but has zero desire to go ahead with fulfilling his preordained role, contenting himself with the mostly mundane life of a shock TV executive.
    • Meanwhile, Satan uses Britishisms when speaking, and the Beast of the Apocalypse is named Nigel.
  • Eye Scream: Judas Iscariot loses an eye during Danny's furious beating.
  • Expy: Danny himself is one for Damien Thorn, except unlike his inspiration, he has no intention of "getting with the program".
  • 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."
    • And then subverted with some of the people who are in Heaven despite their actions in life, like the suicide bomber who now has to care for 72 virgins... that is, 72 infants, for all eternity.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The Beast with Seven Heads is named... Nigel.
  • Freudian Excuse: During an interview with an annoyingly smug reporter, Danny reads her mind to see why she has such a superior attitude... and sees she was Formerly Fat and bullied to the point of tears by other girls.
    Because in a time when the world was stronger and smarter and quicker... What else could she do but believe it was beneath her?
  • 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.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Interestingly, in spite of Garth Ennis being an atheist and generally disliking the religious interpretation of a divine creator, the reason behind God's madness here is implied to be caused by him realizing what he's done in giving mortals free will (human flaws, misery, and evil) and went absolutely drooling nuts. When Wormwood comments that God is insane to his father, Satan, his father remakes, "You would be too if you realized what you'd done by making humankind. Free will isn't something you hand out lightly".
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Danny himself, twice over due to the Squicktastic circumstances of his conception: His father Satan took the form of a jackal and raped a poor homeless girl to impregnate her with his son.
  • Holy Burns Evil:
    • Satan worries this might be the case while he's in the Vatican's basement looking for holy relics. Jacko reassures him that if it were the case he wouldn't even be in the room.
    • Grabbing one of the daggers of Meggido causes Danny's hand to rot. Though according to him, it'd take all seven to actualy kill him.
  • 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 The Sandman in which people are condemned by their own guilt (so innocent people can damn themselves or be tricked into going to hell), people who die are shown the absolute truth of who and what they were, a truth 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.
    • There's also an inversion where a suicide bomber is found in Heaven, provided with 72 virgins, as he was promised... that is, 72 babies which he has to care for, all alone, forever.
  • 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. Who also happens to be the Antichrist.
  • Karmic Rape: One of the comic store customers steals from the till as soon as he sees the owner is dead of a heart attack. The angel escorting the owner to heaven tells him not to worry, in a few years the kid is in Riker's "with a ten-inch cock down his throat".
  • Karmic STD: 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 worshipping 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.
    • This is true for Jay as well. Even when he isn't all there due to his massive brain damage, he is not happy at all about how religion (especially the ones supposedly based on his message) turned out after his first stint on Earth.
  • 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".
  • Not Me This Time: Satan denies being responsible for Jay being attacked, being only allowed to tempt him. He does (jokingly) imply he's responsible for Bush being reelected.
  • Oblivious to Hatred: One of the cardinals in Pope Jacko's entourage is black, and either ignores or doesn't care about the countless racial slurs Jacko hurls at him. Then when Jacko dies, the cardinal reveals himself to be a demon there to drag Jacko to Hell.
  • Pals with Jesus: Wormwood happens to be best buds with Jay, AKA the Second Coming. They bonded over their mutual disillusionment regarding their respective fathers' plans.
  • Pedophile Priest: Not shown on-panel (Pope Jacko yells at an Irish Priest that they're making it difficult for Catholics to do as he says), though we do see a Crusading Lawyer implied to have chosen his causes to get close to his victims.
  • 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. Pope Jacko also blows his nose on the Shroud of Turin.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: While pedophilia is just about the one sin you don't see Jacko committing, he's opposed to it on the grounds that it's making Catholicism look bad.
    An' by the way, Cardinal O'Leary, It'd be a fucksight easier for the heada the Catholic Church to tell anyone anything— if cunts like you WEREN'T FUCKIN' RAPIN' KIDS ALL THE TIME!
  • Second Coming: Jay returned to Earth, determined not to die so his word couldn't be twisted and deformed again. Then a cop beat him in the head during a Gulf War protest, giving him brain damage instead.
  • Stop Worshipping Me: Danny's attitude towards Satanists. Though he tends not so much to tell them as to stop them from living (heart attacks and brain tumors can kill anyone at any time, after all...).
  • Straw Hypocrite: Jacko doesn't even pretend to be a good Catholic, if the fact that he has orgies with up to three nuns at a time didn't tip you off. He's also good business partners with Satan.
  • 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, pro-lifers, 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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