Recently I was asked by the Washington Post to do an illustration of a non-specific, imagined American Pope.
Pope Benedict's surprising retirement from being the Pope has been a shock and fuels speculation of whether the Catholic Church might step into the modern world and attempt to address issues that have kept the tenets of the Church and the beliefs and practices of it's followers on different pages for decades. Most American catholics practice birth control, want the church to stop hiding sexual misconduct and even allow women to become priests.
I doubt the cardinals in Rome will see that a superpower is the country of origin of a leader of the Catholic Church, but it could reconnect millions back to the church in the Western Hemisphere.
When I was pitched this assignment I immediately saw this image in my head. I have done a few illustrations along this line in the recent past about the catholic Church; A cover for Time
and a cover of Der Spiegel
. My sketches were pursued with a strong sense that my first choice was best.
Thankfully the AD agreed and I as happy as this American Pope that they went with it.
Sadly, I doubt those cardinals in Rome will agree.