After a devastating fire laid waste to much of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, three spectacularly wealthy French industrial families pledged 700 million euros to re-build the iconic structure. It was a generous gesture. But it was disconcerting that purse strings would open so quickly to repair a damaged building while so many actual living breathing human beings in France were suffering that the so-called “yellow vest movement” was rioting in the streets of Paris just a few weeks earlier.
The trade magazine Publisher’s Weekly has issued the first published review of my new graphic biography “Francis: The People’s Pope.” Publication date is March 13, 2018 and is now available for pre-order from your local bookseller, online or, for a personally autographed copy, from me directly.
Here’s their review:
The latest in Rall’s rapid-fire series of graphic biographies of polarizing figures (including Bernie, Snowden, Trump) takes a more considered approach to its subject and is all the better for it. The book starts and ends with sharp questioning about whether this Argentine Jesuit reformer can turn around a scandal-plagued Catholic Church. In between, Rall provides as much context as biography, with pocket histories of everything from Argentina’s “Dirty War” to Vatican II. These pieces are neatly woven together into the narrative of how Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a onetime conservative whose diplomatic relationship with the military junta was criticized as “murky,” transformed into the humble reformer Pope Francis, cleaning up corrupt ancient institutions like the Vatican Bank and dispensing liberal bon mots such as “Who am I to judge?” that drive church traditionalists mad. Featuring his familiar slapped-together mixture of bug-eyed figures and zinelike photo and text montages, Rall keeps things informal in style, if not content. While snarky about gushing media coverage (summed up as “awesome cool pope changes up church”), this swift-paced and thought-provoking book is ultimately hopeful about whether this pope has “Made the Church Great Again,” providing readers a jumping-off point to keep questioning.
65% of Americans say they agree with Pope Francis I’s critique of capitalism. But because we’re not allowed to publicly voice our opposition to capitalism, we resort to a sort of “dog whistle” — a “pope code” — in which we express our approval of the pope as an acceptable way to transmit our closet sympathies for socialism and communism.