"Action Philosophers" Comic Books

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.

Your Thoughts?


About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.