As we celebrate the arrival of Pope Francis, let’s look back on the great popes in comics history.

Of course, the DEFINITIVE papal statement in comics—and one of the greatest in all of literature—is Cerebus in CHURCH & STATE:



And more:






And from South Park.

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  1. Anything Cerebus or Sim is something-or-other in “all of literature”???? LITERATURE, as opposed to POPULAR CULTURE? C’mon, Heidi, et. al., surely you’re better educated than that, and you have the bibliography to prove it. Puh-LEEZE don’t insult our intelligence or broader literacy. Especially those of us like me, who first developed our respect for Heidi waaaaay back when she wrote the smartest, most persuasive pieces in THE COMICS JOURNAL.

  2. Marty — I dunno… I think CHURCH AND STATE is pretty great.

    What are some other great Pope novels? The Agony and the Ecstasy?

  3. There were some great popular pope novels written in the 1960s and ’70s, when the church was a big force in Cold War geopolitics…

    Morris L. West’s THE SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN (later made into a movie with Anthony Quinn) is an excellent political/theological thriller about the election of a pope from what was then the Soviet Union, and his attempts to singlehandedly avert a nuclear war.

    Walter F. Murphy’s VICAR OF CHRIST was a bestseller in the late 70s, relating the satirical life story of a fictional pope called, oddly enough, Francis I.

    And Malachi Martin’s 1978 THE FINAL CONCLAVE is sort of an alternate history novel about the course that the church might have taken after the reforms of the ’60s; again, a heavy geopolitical slant (as well as some fascinating inside-baseball stuff; Martin had been a priest himself, and served as a theological adviser in the run-up to Vatican II), with one plot concerning itself with Soviet spies in the Vatican.

    That’s three to get started with, if you’re seriously asking.

  4. I found myself in a comic shop yesterday and commemorated the event by buying Papercutz eighty page graphic novel bio of Pope John Paul II.

    Looks pretty good, actually, though I’m expecting a hagiography.

  5. “Pope Patrick” by Peter De Rosa
    An interesting take, with some initial parallels to 2013. This pope, Patrick, is Irish.
    (Lengthy preview on Google Books!)

    How could you miss Archer & Armstrong #3? “…And Then There Were Nuns”!

    And Justin Green?! “Negotiations Prior to the Last Judgement”

    Also, JP2 is part of the 616, thanks to:
    Black Sun: Colossus and Nightcrawler

    Hmmm… I wonder if Treasure Chest has any stories…

    Reed Crandall! Pope Leo the Great! Saint Pius X!

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