Yep, that confirms it. Somewhere in the last six months I really have forgotten how to draw popes.
If I could draw at all tonight, I'm sure you'd agree that anything that looks even remotely like Benedict XVI just looks like a villain. He's got the Palpatine look down, those sunken eyes and smirk, and he's a German coming straight after a Pole...It's just too easy really, isn't it? But if you're writing a comic that spans 2000 years of the papacy, there's plenty of other excellent candidates for bad guys: warmongers, philanderers and all round meanies, without picking the easy target.
Besides, I want to use Benedict as the anti-hero, the anti-Francis, his uptight discipline against Francis' laid-back popularity, his ostentation against Francis' humility. Yes, I think I'll be assassinating his character plenty by a death of a thousand small cuts without making him a baddie. It's unfair to a man who tried hard in a poor spot, I know, but there you are, and at least I'm going to give him a fair share of the limelight. I suspect that when the book is written on the modern papacy, B16 is always going to be the guy that came between JPII and Francis, the throwback that we had to have to satisfy the traditionalists, and I hope to treat him well enough to do my part to redeem him of that. Part of that comes from drawing him halfway decently, so we'll not massacre him further tonight.
Thankfully, a friend of mine that I saw today has a badass zombie Benedict on his arm, so it's not all bad, I guess. I'm pretty sure that I would never get a tattoo, let alone a sleeve, but if I did, I'm not convinced I'd have the guts to go with a zombie pope. Kudos, Matthew, kudos.