Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Writer: Steven Grant
Penciler: John Tartaglione
Inker: Joe Sinnott
Letterer: Jim Novak
Colorist: Marie Severin
Editor: Tom DeFalco
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Consulting Editors: Father Mieczyslaw Malinski, James Salicrup
Assistant Editors: Linda Grant, Lance Tooks
Traffic Manager: Virginia Romita
Special Thanks to: Gene Pelc
Production Manager: Danny Crespi
Production: Ron Zalme, Rick Parker, John Morelli, Andy Yanchus, Joe Albelo, Rob Carosella, Harry Candelario, Bob Larkin
Editorial: Lea C Sapp, Robert Harras
Typesetting: Eliot R Brown
Interpreter: Lucy Mazareski
Additional Translations: Joseph Pelc
President: James E Galton
Publisher: Stan Lee
Vice-President, Publishing: Michael Z Hobson
Vice-President, Production: Milton Schiffman
Vice-President, Circulation: Ed Shukin

Despite the reputation that educational comics have, I found this one-shot from 1982 to be astoundingly good.

In its execution, it bears a great deal of similarity to the later Mother Teresa Of Calcutta biomic. Both feature a present-day reporter recounting their subject's life in flashback, both then show a near encounter in the present, and both close on the effect that this remarkable individual regularly has on us mortal folk.

Where the Pope's life has the edge over Mother Teresa's though, is that he lived through World War 2 in Poland. As a result, as well as his personal tragedies, we get to see this real-life superhero pitted against the oppression of the Nazis, and who among us can fail to stand beside him in that?

The bulk of these 62 pages is therefore concerned a little more with who the mild-mannered guy inside the red cape is, than merely his CV.

The result is a portrait of an everyman who, in discovering how to apply his faith to his own extraordinary situation, along the way learnt out how to apply it to others', no matter how different their individual circumstances.

Not only does Steven Grant's script pack a whole lifetime into these pages, but John Tartaglione and Joe Sinnot's art positively shines throughout. This guy is easily recognisable as the famous pontiff throughout his long life, and even as a baby you can't mistake the man who little Karol Wojtyla is to one day become.

This one-off comic is supposed to have sold millions of copies worldwide, doubtless because of the popularity of its star, however I have to wonder just how much of that was due to the quality of the actual comic?

Available here.


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