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Action Philosophers! Paperback – November 11, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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 (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,107,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A different way of learning philosophy. It thrills you from the beginning because it connects the content of the phiposopher's point of view and the drawings. And with the drawingns you can compreehend the time the philopher lived and his temper which is nice because you see him as a human beeing.
If everyone had learned philosophy in that smart way I believe much more people wolud be interested on that subject that is so important for our life, to comprehend why we are as we are and why we are here.
I truly recommend this book.
An enjoyable time on reading.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Really good introduction to philosophers in a very entertaining media. You might not be able to pass an exam on the history of philosophy after reading this, but you could probably sound knowledgeable talking about philosophy with friends or even on forums. It only gives brief highlights of ideas, but not very much depth into their writings -- which is probably good enough for someone just wanting a survey of philosophy.
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Learned about this when listening to the Partially Examined Life Podcast and loved every comic. This is a great resource for those who want a humorous summary of some of the most important thinkers/thoughts in human history. Should be used in introductory philosophy classes across the nation.
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Makes philosophy digestible for even the youngest reader. I will mention some of the subject matter may be better suited for mature audience. My kids have read it and we have giggled and some of the material and then discussed anything they had questions on.
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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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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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