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Action Philosophers! Paperback – November 11, 2009

18 customer reviews

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About the Author

Writer Fred Van Lente s other comics include Incredible Hercules (with Greg Pak), Modok s 11, X Men Noir and Marvel Zombies 3. He serves on the board of the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in New York City. Illustrator Ryan Dunlavey has worked for the biggest names in the business, including Disney, Nickelodeon, Scholastic, Warner Brothers, Marvel Comics, and many others. His comics and cartoons can be seen in Wizard Magazine, Disney Adventures and Royal Flush. TheAction Philosophers series has won a Xeric Award, has been twice nominated for the Ignatz Award, has been named a Great Graphic Novel for Teens by the American Library Association, and has been translated into different languages on three continents.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Evil Twin Comics (November 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977832937
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977832934
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 6.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #782,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By thames on March 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Philosophers as comic book characters. This book is great! You can get the whole Action Philosopher! series now in 1 book.

The pictures and writing are hilarious. You'll be impressed at just how well a mere comic book can illuminate complex ideas. Credit is to be given to writer Fred Van Lente and illustrator Ryan Dunlavey. And their series has been widely praised. One suspects they took a look at previous series like "For Beginners" or "Introducing" which use illustrations to communicate philosophy to students and said "we can do this way better". And also take it to the next level by making original stories with the philosophers as comical (anti-)heroes and do it in a hip, tongue-in-cheek and savvy fashion. Nobody could come up with more imaginative ways to bring philosophy to life and the eccentric characters that shaped "the great conversation of mankind" through this medium.

A couple examples: Picture a beady-eyed, walrus mustachioed Nietzsche reading his philosophy to two innocent young lads for their bed time story. The overjoyed expressions on their beaming, bright eyed little faces in eager anticipation of being read a story by Uncle Fritz. I also got a kick out of Karl Marx: "I kick a$$ for the proles!" He takes one perhaps not-so-lucky boy on a tour of the "splendiferous world of commodities" and demonstrates for us first hand real Communists mean business! Action philosopher indeed. (None of this academic lefty identity politics nonsense for Mr. Marx! is the message of this tale). Oh and Derrida as "The Deconstructor". You get the idea. This is all up there with the legendary Monty Python football match with German philosophers vs. the Greeks.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By August Godot on October 18, 2010
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In order to enjoy this book at its utmost, i would say that you must first have some background knowledge on the major philosophers, not too much but a simple comprehension. This book is very fun in its depiction of the philosophers, and most philosophy majors will appreciate its humor. Overall, it is a joy to read. If you do not have a background in philosophy this is still an enjoyable read but I believe it can be appreciated more when accompanied by some background knowledge.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William Maxwell Caine on November 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a philosophy major who just recently became captivated by comic books (after reading "Blankets"), Action Philosophers(!) seemed like the perfect fit. After receiving and reading it, it's definitely not the masterpiece I had secretly hoped for. However, it is still an excellent book that I would recommend to anybody who wants to know more about philosophy but has trouble grasping the often complicated texts.

The format of Action Philosophers is as such: Each chapter is devoted to a different philosopher, with a narrator explaining the philosopher's thoughts as the panels depict visual aid, either in a picture of the philosophy or a picture of the philosopher demonstrating this concepts. The philosophers displayed are given appearances that parody either their philosophies or their personal lives (for instance, Plato is drawn as a pro wrestle and talks like an unintelligent brute, while the earliest greek philosophers are drawn with traits of the elements they believed formed the universe). While some of the chapters are written as literal biographies, others depict fictional events, either to display the philosophy better (Kant is depicted as a lawyer defending God) or simply add humor (Mill's chapter is a Charlie Brown parody.)

Of the visual aids.. I often found them amusing but otherwise uninformative. Very often a panel that could really help explain things feels rushed, and on more than one occasion a "humorous" picture is given far too much priority on a page. For instance, in Craig Thompson's "Blankets," Craig tells of Plato's "cave" analogy, using excellent images to depict what can be difficult to imagine while also comparing it to a situation the reader can better relate to.
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This book is a MASTERPIECE. It actually makes philosophy INTERESTING.

Seriously, I think this book does for Philosophy what Sid Meier's "Civilization IV" does for history. It whets your appetite. It makes you want to read more. I'd highly recommend it for anyone taking an Introduction to Philosophy course if for no other reason than it's lot more fun than Cliff Notes. The illustrations will have you laughing out loud. Often. The writing is concise and witty, often quoting directly from the philosophical texts / philosophers themselves. The illustrations are very well done, and each different "Action Philosopher" has his own distinct look. The details in the panels, humorous blends of things contemporary to us, and others contemporary to the philosophers, make for some really funny jokes.

Once this team releases their more than complete Comic Book Comics, I'm buying it. No second thoughts.

I consider this one of my best book purchases from Amazon, and am seriously considering getting additional copies to give to my cousins who are starting their freshman year in college.
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