A papal wave to Francis!
1978 was an interesting year for me. I graduated from high school, worked my final summer as a lifeguard, then went off to college. That year was known as The Year of Three Popes. In 1978 the Catholic Church was shepherded by Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul (for only 33 days!) and then Pope John Paul II. Papal Nikes, an assassination attempt and the Popemobile kept the head of the Catholic Church in constant headlines. Even though I am Catholic, all of it was still pretty mysterious to me, because the pope seemed to be such a distant authority.
Francis, who ascended to the papacy in 2013, makes headlines for entirely different reasons. He is truly "of the people," which is a sweep of fresh air to many of the citizens of the world. Francis took his name from St. Francis of Assissi, the patron saint of animals and the environment. And now he is the subject of a brilliant new comic strip by Patrick J. Martin. I've been working with comics for my entire career -- the most popular ones you could name -- and Francis jumped to the top of my "must read" list as soon as it debuted. Sacrilege? Quite the opposite.
Francis is funny and thought-provoking, just as a comic should be.
Pope Francis' gentle demeanor and modern thinking is the mark of a true revolutionary. And in the comic strip Francis, he has a sweet dog named -- wait for it -- Dogma.
Like Peanuts and other licensed comics, will a line of Dogma plush toys follow the success of Francis? The pope himself might even go for that, if the proceeds were to go to help the poor.
In the strip, Francis and his sidekick, Brother Leo, don't necessarily solve the problems of the world, but they do kiss babies and celebrate the lighter side of life.
Francis is the straight guy in the strip, and he can't help his bemusement at Brother Leo's unusual interpretations of things, such as building a doghouse for Dogma:
This comic is not just for Catholics -- Francis is for everyone who wants to be happy. It may cause you to think about your spiritual self just a bit, but it always returns to humor.
Brother Leo might be the happiest guy in the comics. Look what he does when Francis suggests that they pray a particular psalm before going outside in bad weather:
Brother Leo's childlike charm shows up even when Francis is saying Mass:
Francis and Brother Leo are quite a pair. They remind me of Martin and Lewis, Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance, or Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake:
I could go on and on, but I'd rather you check out Francis for yourself. Read Francis!
—Patty, Editorial Services Manager/Content Delivery Webmaster