Marvel’s Non-Battle Pope Comic: Paul II

June 4th, 2009 Posted by guest article

If you’re not up to speed, read the first part of James Howard’s review here! Unless you want to experience it Star Wars style. That’s cool too!

So Wojytla heads back and joins the official Polish delegation to Rome for Pope John XXIII’s Ecumenical Council, where he makes a speech before the assembly and spends his time soaking up the scene.

Africa, you know I love you, but stop listening to the fucking Vatican already. And don’t think for a second that the pair are placed next to one another here to imply a sense of colourblind kinship and equality before the Lord; one being a white bishop and one being a black bishop, they’re actually positioned there to spend the evening completely ruining my knights’ mobility.

Wojtyla is officially promoted to Archbishop of Cracow and gains all the perks of the position: new business cards, free jello, and a much, much larger hat.

Most people would look at this picture and take most interest in the apparent radioactive properties of the new headwear, but I’m more intrigued by the stubby sausage-like hand sneaking in behind the new Archbishop to swipe his old hat before the new one comes down. What if he wanted to stack them, like Duplo? Is that not allowed?

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Marvel’s Non-Battle Pope Comic: Part I

June 3rd, 2009 Posted by guest article

Good evening, gentle readers! My name is James Howard; I like history, and I like comic books, and I am here to talk to you today about both things at the same time.

Marvel Comics Presents The Life of Pope John Paul II, 1982 one-shot. Written by Steven Grant, drawn by John Tartaglione, beheld with bewilderment by millions.

This is true: I bought this comic for two dollars, no tax, from the fire sale of a closing Winnipeg comic book store a few years back. I took it home, I read it, and I framed it. Framed it. Because I am a major-league dork.

I’m not much for religion, and it’s not an earth-shatteringly great comic (as we’ll get to in a second), but who didn’t have a soft spot for ol’ Pope John Paul II? Dude was like the Catholicism Sara Lee. Passersby and visitors don’t just look at this cover — they stare at it for a few seconds, fishlike and uncomprehending, because honestly what the hell is this.

And given the information you can gleam about it from one glance — comic book, iconic historical figure, single issue — the comic is actually a lot more subdued and grounded than one would originally expect. There’s nothing in here that approaches the funnybook wackiness of Superman punching Muhammad Ali, or Spider-Man using the Socratic Method to foil an exact body double of Barack Obama, or… whatever this was. If they made a comic about the Pope today it would probably be thirty-two pages of Hugh Jackman Wolverine riding a motorcycle through a gunfight in a church in the past, so I guess I’ll take my down-to-earth portrayals where I can get them.

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