cover image Action Philosophers Giant-Size Thing

Action Philosophers Giant-Size Thing

Fred Van Lente, Ryan Dunlavey, . . Evil Twin, $8.95 (94pp) ISBN 978-0-9778329-1-0

The rise of "nerd chic" has been in the news of late, and if this lovable comic book series isn't part of the new nerd nation, nothing is. Employing a hyperbolic comedic voice and over-the-top gag-style cartooning, Van Lente and Dunlavey examine the history of philosophy one wild-and-crazy thinker at a time. Sections like "Hate the French" include chapters on Descartes, Sartre and Derrida, all cleverly explicated for the general reader. Descartes's section, of course, begins as blank panels, as the philosopher applies his rigorous doubting to the world around him. And Derrida's deconstruction results in the comic book itself breaking down. Derrida is also represented as "The Deconstructionator" complete with gun and sunglasses, while Karl Marx emerges as a grandfatherly type who takes kids on a magic carpet ride "into the wonderful splendiferous world of commodities!" None of this satire interferes with the content of the work—in fact, it's enhanced. By taking a lighthearted, often silly approach to serious work, this funny, insightful series manages to make difficult theories easily understood, and knotty thinkers like Ludwig Wittgenstein and Thomas Aquinas emerge as, if not easy reading, at least friendly thinkers. (Dec.)