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Arts & Culture

Papal Abdication: A Potpourri of Popery

March 8, 2013 | by

Mike Duncan is studying public history at Southwest Texas State, in Austin, and is currently at work on an historical marker for Warner Brothers cartoonist Tex Avery.

Jason Novak works at a grocery store in Berkeley, California, and changes diapers in his spare time.




  1. GZ | March 8, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    I really enjoyed this post. The illustrations are funny and strange and perfect. Especially the one where the two popes touch feet. I have a little beef, however, with the Wikipedia parenthetic on page six.

    Is the author actually suggesting he was unmotivated to go further than Wikipedia in his research? It is now fashionable in belles lettres to abhor distinctions between factual reporting and fiction. In the case of fiction, essays, or memoirs this mode is totally appropriate but when work is presented as factual, more stringent standards are needed.

    This post seems to present itself as factual but that Wikipedia (an exhaustive source, but far from authoritative) reference makes me question whether I can trust what it says. I am crazy? Is that line entirely a joke?

  2. GZ | March 8, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Should have read: Am I crazy?

  3. SE | March 9, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    I’m pretty sure that was a joke…..

  4. vj CA historian | March 9, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    This was great! and the Wikipedia research was JUST the right touch for this “potted” history. I especially liked the part where they commented, “C’mon, stay with us now!” Bravo! vj

4 Pingbacks

  1. [...] Apparently, that happened before and it was a whole big mess. Jason Novak and Mike Duncan made a short comic about it all at The Paris Review. It is hilarious and confusing and adorable and wonderful. Check it [...]

  2. [...] brouhaha (I’ve always loved the word “brouhaha”) has you confused, perhaps Papal Abdication: A Potpourri of Popery will help clear things [...]

  3. [...] The last time a pope abdicated: A Potpourri of Popery Behold the warranty — the bold print giveth and the fine print taketh away. Reply With Quote   [...]

  4. [...] Mike Duncan lives in Austin and is studying public history at Texas State University. He used to write The History of Rome podcast. Jason Novak is head illustrator at The Rumpus and a regular contributor to The Paris Review Daily. Their other collaborations include She Nukes Me, She Nukes Me Not and Papal Abdication: A Potpourri of Popery. [...]

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