Young people attending the World Youth Day (WYD) gathering in August will get to
see Pope Benedict in a new role as a hero in in a manga comic book called Habemus
Papam. The new book is being specially produced for the WYD in Madrid with over 300,000
copies being printed and distributed to participants. Susy Hodges spoke to the publisher
of the manga book and also to the student who wrote the story that speaks about Pope
Benedict's life and his message.
Publisher Jonathan Lin says the 32-page comic
book "is a short story that tells the drama of the Pope leading up to his election
at the conclave in 2005" and then goes on to talk about the previous two World Youth
Day events and finally ends "with his message for the upcoming WYD in Spain."
about the feedback so far from young people who've seen the advance copies, Lin
says it's been "pretty good and what I notice is that a lot of them (young people)
did not know that Pope Benedict did not want to be pope which took them by surprise."
He goes on to say that they're hoping this book can serve "to let people know that
the Holy Father is a real person... and that he has these same issues that the rest
of us do."
The book's writer, Gniewek, talks about the choice of manga for
this book, explaining that it "is immensely popular worldwide and ... that youths
are reading it more and more." Referring to previous manga comics on a biblical theme
published by the company, Gniewek says they appeal to a wide range of teenagers "we
get Catholics and non-Catholics alike reading them."