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Comic Books, Film
Here are four fawning blurbs about Action Philosophers…
John Daniels (talking about the first issue of the series):
All the panels are hilariously drawn and the dialogue is side-splitting funny. The publishers dare you to find a wrong fact or detail regarding the Action Philosophers stories. The underlying dialogue is intellectually funny. I laughed hard at times; it was hard to believe some of the events really happened. If you’ve never taken a philosophy class, this is the perfect comic book to get you “philosophically” introduced. The black and white artwork by Ryan Dunlavy reminds me of the artist Basil Wolverton who drew covers for the comic book PLOP from DC Comics in the 70’s— large expressive characters (overbites, and shocked looks of awe while they are thinking or talking). Dunlavy also reminds me of the great animator and artist Sergio Aragones, who did parodies of people for both Mad and Cracked magazines.
I highly recommend Action Philosophers #1 to any comic book collector or reader for its historical and factual stories and laugh-out-loud satire, all delivered with a fair helping of enlightenment.
Greg Burgas (talking about the fourth issue of the series):
People, people, people. In this, the latest issue of perhaps the most essential comic book ever, van Lente (for whom Cronin has a serious man-crush) and Dunlavey take on Marx (as a M60-wielding Rambo wannabe), Machiavelli (who is shown only in silhouette) and the Kabbalah (and you should buy it for the Britney Spears-giving-birth panel alone). As usual, our creative heroes give us plenty of factual information about the philosophers, while sprinkling the narrative with laugh-out-loud jokes and sly comic references (Pope Julius II leading a Renaissance Justice League is nice). There’s simply far too much excellence in this comic to describe it all – I could go through almost every panel and find something worthwhile. The Marxist film teacher get bayoneted by the young Fred, who shouts, “Die, tool of the oppressors! Die!!” is just a random example of goodness. See? I fear for your eternal soul. Put down that issue of (dated reference) and pick this up!
Chris Sims (talking about the last issue of the series):
I can’t imagine that it’s ever easy to condense these things into the short form the book uses and still keep them as zippy and fun as these guys do, but when your longest entry (Baruch Spinoza) weighs in at seven pages and several others (like George Berkeley and Gottfried Leibniz) don’t even get past one, the task has to be absolutely herculean.
And yet, they pull it off. And what’s more, they make it look easy with some of the best work of the series thus far. I won’t go into too many details (since you really ought to see for yourself), but if you don’t think that “The Foucault Circus” and “Six Degrees of Francis Bacon” are works of purest, two-page genius, then I’m not sure if we’ll ever agree on anything.
It’s funny, it’s informative, and it solidifies Action Philosophers as the must-have item for everyone’s–yes, everyone’s–bookshelf that we’ve always known it was. Great work.
Johanna Draper Carlson (talking about Vol. 1 of the trade paperback collection of the series)
The creators aren’t above stepping in, when necessary, punctuating a section on Buddhist beliefs about how everything, even art, is subjective and untrustworthy with their apologies. Later, the artist is attacked by Isaac Newton during the Jefferson segment for resorting to visual cliché. There are also distinct perspectives expressed, as when Jefferson is taken to task for hypocrisy regarding equality or when those who respected Nietzsche’s ideas are insulted. I had no idea that Ayn Rand had movie business connections, and I finally understand what objectivism claims, which should come in handy the next time I try to read a Ditko comic.
There’s a lot of energy and a healthy skepticism towards belief systems. That attitude, not taking anything as writ in stone, is necessary to make it all so funny. Too much respect would be deadly dull. That humor carries ideas so effectively that the reader will likely be surprised by how much he retains about key movements in philosophy. This book blends fictional techniques and non-fictional content to create an enjoyable “only in comics” form of entertainment.
Sounds pretty awesome, right?
Go get a copy today!!
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