Pope Francis Makes Cover of Rolling Stone Magazine

Posted by Amy on January 31, 2014, 5:27 pm

Pope Francis on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine (Courtesy of www.rollingstone.com)Rolling Stone magazine’s Feb. 13 issue hit the newsstands today with Pope Francis on the cover, marking the first time a pontiff has ever graced the cover of this music and pop culture magazine. Previous covers have featured Jimi Hendrix, Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus.

While it’s highly unusual, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise considering the way Pope Francis has captivated the attention of the media and Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Plus, he’s no stranger to high-profile magazines. In December, he was named Time’s “Person of the Year” and an illustration of him making a snow angel was on the cover of The New Yorker.

The Rolling Stone’s Mark Binelli’s lead article, entitled “The Times They Are A-Changin,'” lauds Pope Francis for his “obvious humility, empathy and...devotion to the economically disenfranchised,” but is highly critical of his predecessor Pope Benedict. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said on Vatican Radio that the article “is a sign of the attention that the novelties of Pope Francis attract from many different quarters.” But he goes on to say:

“Unfortunately, the article disqualifies itself, falling into the usual mistake of a superficial journalism, which, in order to shed light on the positive aspects of Pope Francis, thinks it needs to describe the pontificate of Pope Benedict in a negative way, and does so with a surprising crudeness.”

In Case You Were Wondering: Yes, Art Matters

Posted by Amy on January 23, 2014, 5:12 pm

I came across the article “What I’ve Learned From the Artists I Love,” written by CJ Williams, and I was so blown away by it I feel compelled to share it with you. In it, she details lessons she’s learned from five artists: G.K. Chesterton, J.R.R. Tolkien, Hayao Miyazaki, Bob Dylan, and Gerard Manley Hopkins.

To sum up the lessons, she closes with this:

“...I’ve learned from all the artists I love that creativity is first a reception of the world, and then a participation in it through which I get to “sub-create” as Tolkien put it – make something newly inspiring or beautiful.”

The article really drove home this point for me: art matters. What we read, watch, and listen to are so important because they help to shape who we are. We can be inspired by beauty and truth present in art, or we can be discouraged by the ugliness and lies in what some would have us believe is art. Art has the power to make us laugh or cry, maybe even break down our barriers, but always, always, it reveals a deeper truth that we are all the better for knowing. 

Be sure to read the full article here: http://www.impactingculture.com/2014/01/22/learned-artists-love/

Who are your favorite artists? And what have you learned from them?

P.S.

If you’re an artist, I highly recommend reading JPII’s “Letter to Artists.” In it, the late pope (who himself was an actor and playwright before becoming a priest) wrote about the artists’ special vocation to lift others toward God through their art, and how the desire to create is stamped in our hearts because God is the ultimate Creator. Here’s an excerpt:

“None can sense more deeply than you artists, ingenious creators of beauty that you are, something of the pathos with which God at the dawn of creation looked upon the work of his hands.”

Michelangelo's

Manga Hero’s “Pope Francis: I Believe in Mercy” Makes Rome TV!

Posted by Amy on January 14, 2014, 12:03 pm

Manga Hero's making news in Rome. Last week, Rome Reports did a piece on our latest book Pope Francis: I Believe in Mercy. The video is complete with an interview with our very own Regina Doman. Check it out for yourself here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k60NZkcNoUw

The Problem With Your New Year’s Resolution

Posted by Amy on December 31, 2013, 3:03 pm

New Year's Eve fireworks

“What’s your New Year’s resolution?”

It’s a question that can strike fear into our hearts. Resolutions. They seem so strict and burdensome, placing pressure on us to follow through.

Yet many of us don’t.

In a study conducted by the University of Scranton in 1985, 77% of the “resolvers” stuck to their resolution after one week, but only 19% did after a period of two years. Even the people who did successfully stick to their resolution stumbled often. On average, the successful resolver had 14 slips over a period of two years.

So what does that mean for the rest of us? It means we can have the best intentions, yet still falter. But that doesn’t mean we stop trying. That doesn’t mean we won’t eventually get there.

The problem with New Year’s resolutions is they tend to be vague one-liners. “I want to lose weight” or “I want to start exercising more” sounds good--but it lacks a structured plan. Without a plan, and without breaking your resolution into small steps, you become paralyzed by the loftiness of your goal. Instead of thinking of what you want to achieve this year, think about what you want to achieve today, and then the next day, and so on and so forth. Picture each day as a stepping stone leading you up to that goal by the end of the year. And what happens if you stumble? Get back up and keep going forward.

This new year, let us pray for the graces we’ll need to not just stick to our fancy New Year’s resolution, but  to resolve every day to become more and more the person God wants us to be.

Happy New Year!

5 Thoughtful Last-Minute Christmas Gifts

Posted by Amy on December 20, 2013, 9:40 am

Where did the time go? It seems as though Advent has just begun, yet Christmas is a mere four days away. For many, that sends us into a panic. The tree still needs trimming, the relatives are about to arrive, and oh my gosh, we forgot to get Christmas gifts for so-and-so.

To relieve a little bit of your stress, we at Manga Hero present you with five thoughtful last-minute Christmas gifts. Enjoy!

  1. Love With Food” Snack Box Subscription
    For the foodie in your life. (But really, who doesn’t love food?) This thoughtful company delivers a box filled with unique gourmet goodies once a month, and for each box delivered, they donate a meal to a hungry child. What’s not to love?

    As far as timeline goes, your loved one won’t receive their first box until January--but that’s okay! You have the option of sending them an e-card letting them know you’ve bought the subscription for them as a gift. It’ll just give them a little something extra to be excited about for the new year.

  2. Catholic Charities Donation in Honor of a Loved One
    What better way to show someone you love them than by doing good in their honor? Simply make an online donation, email a personalized e-card to let your loved one know about the gift you made in their honor, and walk away knowing you just helped make people’s lives better.

  3. Gift Card
    The gift card gets a bad rap as a thoughtless last-minute gift, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Try as much as you can to personalize your gift card. Include a special heartfelt note, or get a very specific gift card (a Sports Authority gift card for your soccer-loving niece, or a Starbucks gift card for your coffee addict cousin). And the best part about online gift cards? Instant delivery. No need to worry about shipping in time.

  4. Photo Book
    If you’re anything like me, you probably have hoards of photos of family and friends that you’ve failed to ever upload from your memory card. In celebration of Christmas and the New Year, select your favorite photos of your loved one and compile them into a photo book for them to cherish for years to come. Include funny captions and special notes to personalize it even more. Here are a couple of options:

    1. Shutterfly.com
      Until 4pm PST today (December 20, 2013), you can select rush shipping and get it in time for Christmas.

    2. Walgreens.com
      If you’re really in a hurry, check out Walgreens.com. Select locations have same-day pickup. They even have a discount code for 40% Off Same Day Pickup Photo Books. Enter coupon code PICKUP40 at checkout (expires Saturday, January 4th).

  5. Manga Hero Books
    A great gift for kids and anyone in your life who enjoys inspiring stories and engaging artwork. Check out our full list of books here: http://www.mangahero.com/. You can order on Amazon, and get them in time for Christmas! (Just be sure to select two-day shipping.)

Feeling better? Now, before you rush off to complete your last-minute Christmas gift shopping--just stop and breathe. Remember Christmas isn’t about the gifts we buy for our loved ones, nor the ones we will receive this year ourselves, but about the gift that came into the world 2,000 years ago: Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Pope Francis: I Believe in Mercy | Meet the Artist: Sean Lam

Posted by Amy on November 26, 2013, 11:06 am

Last week, we brought you an interview with Regina Doman, author of Pope Francis: I Believe in Mercy. Next up is Sean Lam, the artist who illustrated the book. In this interview, find out Sean’s process of drawing manga, the unique challenges he faced, and how illustrating a book about Pope Francis affected Sean’s faith life.

  1. How much did you know about Pope Francis before illustrating this book?
    To be frank, I knew very little about Pope Francis before he was elected as Pope of the Catholic Church. I was very attached to Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II as I have just finished working on Pope Benedict XVI's biographical manga last year, so having a chance to work on a Pope Francis biographical manga this year is actually a refreshing challenge and an honor for me. This project gave me the chance to once again learn about the history of our beloved leaders of the Catholic Church.

  1. How has collaborating on this book affected your faith life?
    Having read all about the life of Pope Francis, as well as previous popes, I have come to realize that life is never easy for any of us, but with strong faith in God, we will eventually be blessed in every way and overcome the obstacles in life.

  2. What was the most interesting or touching thing you learned about the Pope?
    The most touching thing is when I finished reading about Pope Francis and learned that he is as real and close as you can get, a very humble and deeply down-to-earth man who is so approachable and shows the most kindness and virtue of humility throughout his life.

  3. Each time you do the artwork for a Manga Hero book, what is your process?
    Lots of research and reading will be done before I start hitting the drawing board. I will then work on concept designs, which we have to finalize first. When all preparations are done, I start producing rough sketches with panelings. Once they are approved, the final inking process will take place, followed by all the text fill ins and touch ups. I usually start working on the cover design halfway through the pages, which I feel is the best time to express the story onto it.

  4. What are some challenges you faced when illustrating this Pope Francis book?
    The challenge in the Pope Francis book was to have him portrayed as real as possible in comic form, but as I dove deeper into the story I found myself having a better grasp of portraying him and enjoying the process gradually.

  5. What was your favorite scene to draw?
    One of my most favorite scenes was him praying with Christ in the background; it’s an emotional panel, which I felt strongly when I drew it.

  6. How long did it take you to complete all the artwork?
    Minus the preparations, I took about two months to finish all the artwork for this book.

  7. Have you gotten any feedback from people who have read Pope Francis: I Believe in Mercy?
    The book was just launched in September, and reviews so far have been great, and many have expressed being inspired by Pope Francis through this book to follow in the footsteps of Jesus! I hope more teens around the world will be inspired through Manga Hero’s books, which strongly teach about the qualities of courage, faith and determination.

Interested in reading Pope Francis: I Believe in Mercy? You can purchase it here.

Pope Francis: I Believe in Mercy | Meet the Author: Regina Doman

Posted by Amy on November 20, 2013, 12:08 pm

Our latest manga, Pope Francis: I Believe in Mercy, was released in September, and now we want to give you an inside look at what it was like writing the book. Regina Doman is a Catholic young adult fiction writer whose first Manga Hero collaboration was on Habemus Papam! Pope Benedict XVI. In this interview, we ask her what it was like to return to the manga world to write about the Catholic Church’s new pontiff, Pope Francis, who was formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina.

  1. What were some challenges in writing about Pope Francis’s life?
    The big challenge was finding information. We started writing it the week the Pope was elected. No one had much information except for little reports that came out. I wrote to the people who were my sources for Pope Benedict, and asked them if they knew anything about Pope Francis, and they all said no. At the time, there were two books about his life that had been translated into English, and I got those on Kindle. But there was one book about his life as Cardinal Bergoglio that had been written in Spanish but wouldn’t be translated into English until after we went to print! But I had Hispanic friends help translate passages for me, and that really helped.

  2. During your research about Pope Francis, were there any surprises?
    The coolest things I found out were the things the press found out and which were widely reported: how he refused to move into the bishop’s palace when he was a bishop, how he worked with the poor. He really is a cool guy, and he really does live his faith. One of the things that just warmed my heart was a poem he wrote, his personal creed, which appeared in one of the books I used. I ended up using that poem throughout the book because I just thought it was just so amazing. “I believe in the Blessed Mother, I believe God is there for me…” It almost seemed like something that I myself might have written as a young adult passionate about my faith. I chose to see it as the words of a young person who was passionately in love with Christ.

  3. What’s your favorite scene in the book?
    I really like the story of his conversion, which took place during confession when he was in his teens. It was just a really cool scene. It was also neat that the Pope has often spoken about what happened during that moment, so there were a lot of words of his we could use. By the way, any time you see words in the comic book that are “in quotations” -- those are the Pope’s actual words!

  4. Was there any artistic license you took when you wrote this?
    There’s one part I made up, which I like and hope other people like. It’s the scene with the bishop shortly after he was ordained a bishop. After Jorge Bergoglio is consecrated a bishop, his fellow bishop tells him, “Congratulations on your marriage.” I made up the dialogue in that scene in order to make a theological point. Jorge Bergoglio did refer to his diocese as his spouse, which is really cool. But that particular scene is completely invented. I don’t know what inspired Bishop Bergoglio to use that term, beyond Catholic theology, of course!

    So I did use some artistic license in many parts of the book, to show how he might have felt during different moments in his life. For instance, in the part of the book that shows Argentina’s Dirty War, there’s this little moment where he’s in the chapel, and he doesn’t know what to do, and then he gets up and says, “Okay go!” That’s a character moment I made up. We know the events that happened at the time, and how he responded to them; but many times we just don’t know the exact words he used. So I had to make those parts up. But what’s in quotes are things he actually wrote or said.

  5. After people read this book, what do you hope they’ll take away from it?
    Pope Francis has this joy that just radiates from him, and that’s what my personal takeaway was. I don’t know if all readers will get that from the comic, but I hope they get some sense of it and realize, “Wow, this is a man who really does practice what he preaches.”

To get a copy of the book, click here. Stay tuned for our next blog post featuring an interview with Sean Lam, the artist behind Pope Francis: I Believe in Mercy.

EWTN Radio Interview About Manga Hero’s Pope Francis Book

Posted by Amy on November 11, 2013, 7:47 pm

Our very own Regina Doman, author of our new Pope Francis manga, will be interviewed on EWTN Radio Friday, Nov. 15, at 8 a.m. EST. Tune in to hear the details about what it was like writing about our latest pontiff. Find your local EWTN station here: http://www.ewtn.com/radio/radioaffiliatemap/

Speaking of our new book, have you had a chance to read Pope Francis: I Believe in Mercy? It’s a 48-page riveting story of the life of Pope Francis, who started out as Jorge Bergoglio in Argentina. He thinks he is just an ordinary teenager, until an autumn day when he decides to stop by a church. What happens there changes his life forever, leading him on an incredible journey from priesthood to papacy. Buy the book here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0983639787/ref=cm_sw_su_dp

What are Manga & Graphic Novels?

Posted by Publisher on November 01, 2013, 10:00 am

We find that sometimes people have no idea what Manga or Graphic Novels are, and some who are familiar with the ideas have misconceptions about their contents. Below are some of the questions we've been asked a lot. We hope these will help you better understand what we're doing here at Manga Hero, and how these products can help enrich your life or the lives of your friends and family.

What is manga?

Manga are Japanese-style comic books. Similar to popular American comics like Superman, Spiderman or other Marvel hero-based comic books, manga covers a wide range of subjects that can span vast genres and storylines, and usually include heroes and action scenes. In Japan, reading manga is popular among all age groups.

What are graphic novels?

Simply put, graphic novels are long comic books. “Graphic” means the story is told in the form of drawn images (and some words). “Novel” means it’s a long book, but not necessarily fictional. The terms manga and graphic novel are often used interchangeably.

Is manga safe for children? Does it offer any sort of educational value?

For Manga Hero books, the answers are yes and yes! Our books are rated for children ages 12 and up and are an engaging and effective way to teach positive virtues. Manga Hero publishes books chronicling the lives of real heroes and heroines from history, such as Paul: Tarsus to Redemption and Judith: Captive to Conqueror.

In general, manga often include narratives centered around friendship, bravery, and perseverance, providing strong examples for children to aspire to. They also contain complex plot lines and rich character development, helping children to develop their reading comprehension. Graphic novels are even being used as teaching tools in many classrooms.

I’ve heard manga is violent and contains adult content. Is this true?

As with any form of media - such as music, television, movies, and video games - manga, graphic novels, and comic books can be manipulated to feature adult-oriented themes, and the creators and consumers aren’t doing enough to protect children from this. That’s why Manga Hero has a rating system, just like movies and video games, so parents can ensure that the book they’re about to buy for their child is appropriate. We believe great stories can be told without resorting to using gratuitous violence or sexual themes. Manga Hero books are rated for ages 12 and up.

What are some benefits of Manga Hero books?

They’re a great way to promote the Christian faith! Many parents struggle to find reading material that their children will like and that will also promote virtue and instill good values. Manga Hero provides such material. We publish books that promote heroism and Christian values in a fun and engaging medium that kids will love. We hire talented writers and artists who deliver the highest quality content.

Manga Hero books also make great gifts for teens. Think about this: What stories are teens hearing about? These will shape the way they think and even the way they act. Stories are being told through the music they listen to, the TV shows they watch, and even the video games they play - and we all know these don’t contain the most wholesome content. Give them the gift of positive stories about heroes and heroines they can be inspired by. Check out all our Manga Hero books here.

Last Day of Benedict’s Pontificate

Posted by Regina Doman on February 28, 2013, 4:56 pm

On the last day of Pope Benedict's pontificate, I just have to say again what a privilege it was to learn so much about this man who has been our Pope in the process of writing this comic book.  I will miss him, and I wish him all of the best in his well-deserved retirement.

Peace to you, Benedict, now and always.

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