Viewing Posts from 11/2013

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.

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