"Action Philosophers" Comic Books

"Action Philosophers" Comic Books October 31, 2011

I have no idea if these are any good philosophically, so read at your own risk, but I figured it was worth noting that comic books trying to introduce famous philosophers’ ideas exist. Fred Van Lente explains that the origin of the idea involved wanting to help clear Nietzsche’s name:

 I thought it would be funny to do a Nietzsche biography as if it was a mini-comic you got packaged in with your Nietzsche action figure — hence the name “Action Philosophers.”Nietzsche’s work I thought was widely misunderstood and we could do a good job of explaining it to people in a humorous way. It turned out to be something people really dug and we kept doing more, getting a self-publishing grant to publish the series, and we ended up doing about ten issues, or 320 pages of material.

David Brothers of Comics Alliance reviews the series favorably:

Philosophy is great. It’s one of my favorite things to read about. The problem is that, since many (professional?) philosophers are academics, their books are aimed toward their peers, not us regular old proles. You know what that means: big words, long sentences, and interminable ruminations. (With apologies to any academics in the audience.) It can be tough to not only get started, but to continue and actually learn about philosophy without a helping hand or tour guide. Enter Action Philosophers.

This comic is a great place to get started. Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey break down basic ideas in very easy to understand terms, complete with funny pictures, and by the end of each issue, you’ve been educated and entertained. These are funny, good comics, and while they may seem sort of “Immanuel Kant for Dummies” the way I describe them, they actually do a really great job of providing context and a timeline for all of these philosophers, which is at least as valuable as their actual teachings. I like these a lot, especially the ones about philosophers who I was already familiar with.

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