Marvel Comics's biography of St. Francis of Assisi, published in 1980 (in honour of the then-upcoming 800th anniversary of Francis's 1182 birth), conceived by Fr. Campion Lally, O.F.M.. Fr. Campion suggested to Gene Pelc that Marvel do a book about the life of St. Francis, and Pelc couldn't come up with a reason not to. Originally, the reknowned scholar Fr. Conrad Harkins was suggested to write the story, but he passed on the opportunity, since "what they needed was a popularizer, rather than an academician." He then suggested Pelc contact Fr. Roy Glasnick, O.F.M., who had previously worked on the film Brother Sun, Sister Moon, the NBC documentary St. Francis of Assisi: A Search for the Man and His Meaning, and the off-broadway musical Francis. Fr. Roy worked with Marvel's Mary Jo Duffy in writing, and John Buscema and Marie Severin did the artwork.
The book was also distributed by Paulist Press, to reach more religious readers than comic books were apparently thought able to do.