wFeb 28, 2009

The Life of John Paul II....IN SPACE COMICS!

So, as you might recall, one of my Lenten promises is to read something that helps me think about faith every day. The point isn't to read a certain number of pages per day, or books per Lenten season, but just to think about things I don't think about as often as I should.

Last evening, my boyfriend and I went to a branch of the library we don't normally go to, and I found a manga-sized graphic novel called The Life of John Paul II....IN COMICS! I found this hilarious, and checked it out, expecting to chuckle my way through. ....BUT I DIDN'T.

Pope John Paul II (often referred to as "JP II" by Catholics my age) was pope for a long time, and I'm sure I don't agree with everything he did. Still, so far as popes go, he was pretty cool. My favorite part of the graphic novel was a cute list at the end, of awesome things he did. Among the items listed:
He was the first Polish Pope.
The first pope to enter a synagogue and a mosque.
The first Pope to preach to a Muslim audience.
The first Pope to attend a soccer game and a rock concert.
The third longest pontificate in history, after that of Saint Peter and of Pius the Ninth: 26 years, 5 months, and 17 days.
He met with 1,475 Heads of State.

Most of the 90-page graphic novel focuses on his life before becoming Pope, especially living under Nazi control in World War II Poland. Still, I liked the collection of small pictures at the end, which provided images of things he did while Pope. Over pictures of him in places that are not Italy, the text bubble reads, Why does the Pope travel? The Pope travels because Jesus said, 'Go to the entire world.' I like that JP II put such an emphasis on being a visible member of the world, giving respect where it was due to people of other faiths and cultures.

It also addressed why he canonized/beatified so many people as saints: "Because the world needs examples." Non-Catholics are sometimes confused by the existence of saints in the Catholic Church, but I think it's pretty awesome to have thousands of people from throughout to history to look to as proof of being able to be so devoted to God while being human.

The book does a good job of not being very political. Most people assume that the Catholic Church is a place of lots of rules, and everyone in it agrees on everything, which is laughably quite far from the truth. Decisions made on every level are discussed and resisted and questioned. So a book on any Catholic figure has the potential to be really controversial in its representation of decisions and reactions. I think the only "bias" the book has is being anti-Nazi, but I don't really consider that to be a bias.

The artwork was quite beautiful, and the coloring rich. I ended up liking this a lot more than I expected to. I'll admit that I don't really know a lot about historical Catholic figures, and I probably should. Does anybody know any good books about Joan of Arc, fictional or non-fictional?

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scribbled mystickeeper at 10:24 AM

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