Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Introducing Brother Leo

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Introducing Brother Leo

Article excerpt

It didn't take me long to realize that a comic strip with only one character was going to run out of ideas quickly. History to the rescue: I recalled that St. Francis of Assisi had a small group of companions who acted as foils in the stories about his life. A Brother Leo was among them.

My cartoon Brother Leo entered the "Francis" comic strip as the pope's personal assistant. Pope Francis told Leo he wanted someone to remind him of St. Francis' simplicity and humility. Leo's almost childlike innocence and way of taking things literally are a source for many comic situations. Leo is also quite useful, helping Francis on stairs and carrying his briefcase.

Early on, some readers thought Leo was a putdown, a slight to all religious brothers. I did not intend this, and, after asking others for their opinions and thinking about this a lot, I believe that cartoon Leo is a lovable and positive model and a reflection of the pope's own values. …

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