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Pope becomes a comic book hero
    Pope John Paul II has joined Captain Marvel and Spiderman in the ranks of comic-book heroes.
    A new Vatican-approved serial, new on Italy's newsstands, depicts the real-life and true adventures of "Karol Wojtyla: Pope of the Third Millennium."
    The Little Paper, an illustrated magazine for Italian young people by the publisher of the Roman Catholic Church periodical Famiglia Christiana, tells the story in four parts.
    It opens with the pontiff's 1978 election, showing a massive, smiling John Paul looming over St. Peter's Square with white smoke rising behind him.
    "It is an adventurous life, full of change, of interest, of tragedy, of missions, of travel," the foreword promises. A key theme seems to be assuring kids that the 80-year-old pope - "Look how old and tired he is!" a child exclaims in one segment - was once all boy.
    "I got it!" a bony-kneed Karol exclaims in one bubble-dialogued box, blocking a goal in a game of soccer.
    "Outa my way!" a teenage Karol shouts in another, careening down a snowy slope on skis. "Crazy fanatic!" a bystander downslope shouts at the future pope.
    John Paul's teenage years as an amateur actor also feature prominently, showing a dashingly mustachioed Karol on stage alongside a beautiful girl in an overwrought costume drama.