Move over Superman. It's time for ... 'Superpope'

January 29, 2014
Photos of the day - January 29, 2014
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A priest and a nun walk by a large drawing of Pope Francis depicting him as a superhero on a wall near the Vatican January 29, 2014. The Argentinian Pope is shown taking off into air with his right fist clenched in a classic Superman style. (REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi)

ROME (Reuters) - Pope Francis may already be a hero to the world's downtrodden but at least one pop artist thinks he's more than that. Move over Superman, it's time for Superpope.

A large painting has appeared on a building near the Vatican showing the Argentine pope taking off into the air, his right fist clenched ahead of him in classic Superman style.

His white cape and cross flutter in the breeze and in his left hand he carries a black briefcase bearing the word "valores," Spanish for values.

A scarf bearing the blue and red colors of his favorite Argentine soccer club, San Lorenzo, emerges from the bag.

But unlike Superman, who disguises himself as reporter Clark Kent, Francis is clearly identifiable and flies with his glasses on.

In the lore of the comic book hero, later a star of radio, television and film, Superman fought a "never-ending battle" for truth and justice. Francis has vowed to eliminate corruption in the Vatican and bring the 1.2 billion-member Catholic Church closer to the poor.

The artwork, which has been pasted to the wall, is signed "Maupal 2014".

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)