Pope goes manga: Benedict XVI’s bio to be distributed for free on World Youth Day
On World Youth Day, which is slated to be held this August in Spain, some 300,000 Manga-styled biographies of Pope Benedict XVI will be handed out for free.
The Manga comic book is entitled Habemus Papam! a Latin phrase that is used when the election of a new pope is announced. There will be editions in Spanish and English, and copies will be distributed in hotels, churches, bus stops and other sites, AFP said.
It is not uncommon for Manga-form biographies to be made of leaders and famous personalities. A number of Japanese celebrities have their own Manga biography, as do the 14th Dalai Lama, Harry Houdini and Che Guevara.
The comic book will be published by Jonathan Lin, founder and owner of the California firm, Manga Hero. According to Comic Book Resources, the pope’s Manga, at 300,000 copies, puts it on equal footing as Twilight: The Manga.
Lin said he chose the Manga format for the pope’s biography because it is entertaining as well as cutting edge in form, making it more appealing to a wider range of age groups, AFP reported.
Lin said, “We want to use Manga as a tool to show the youth and the world that the Church is not afraid of modernity and evolving culture. It is not afraid to use, in this case, new and compelling forms of media to meet young people where they are,” according to CNA.
Lin added, “We hope the Manga acts as a fun platform for people to learn more about the Holy Father and realize that the Church is relevant, visible, and active in modern culture. We want as many people as possible to read the Manga,” according to the World Youth Day website.
The comic biography will depict the Pope’s life as a cardinal who was then working under Pope John Paul II, up to his own election as pope in 2005, CNA said.
It will also talk of Benedict’s travels to other celebrations of World Youth Day in the past, and show the range of proposals that he made to help the youth to find meaning in their own lives, Rome Reports said.
Lin observed, “The story also shows how he grows into his role as pope,” CNA reported.
The drawings on the Manga of the pope will be the workmanship of Sean Lam from Singapore. The story is written by Gabrielle Gniewek, a graduate of John Paul the Great Catholic University in San Diego, CNA said.
Over one million people are expected to attend World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain, which will be held from Aug. 16-21. This will be the third time that Benedict has visited that country, according to the AFP.