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Action Philosophers Giant-Size Thing Vol. 2 Paperback – December 12, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Action Philosophers Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.)
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Review

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.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. --Publisher's Weekly
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Evil Twin Comics (March 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977832910
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977832910
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.3 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,512,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is without a doubt one of the funniest things I've ever read. And, shockingly (at least to me) it is also one of the most accurate I've ever read too. I have a B.A. in Philosophy and have just recently earned a M.A. in another discipline. With the exception of Derrida and Aquinas I have had exposure in an academic setting to all of the philosophers covered in here. I picked up this comic on a whim and didn't expect much (but heck, it's only eight bucks, what have I got to lose). I was laughing out loud at some of the stuff in there (I'll never forget the image of Aquinas' delusional bunny facing down the big rig truck screaming, "BRING IT ON!!! I CANNOT NOT BE!!!"). But, none (I repeat NONE) of the substantive material of any of the philosophers is sacrificed and equally impressive none (I repeat NONE) of the humor is diluted by the philosophical material. For example, Wittgenstein is covered with an accuracy I have seen in few introductory philosophy texts. Overall, this is the perfect marriage of accuracy, humor, and freakin' awesome comic genius. If you are a beginning philosophy student (e.g., no formal training but are interested in the field), an intermediate student (some philosophy classes in a university setting), or an advanced student (a degree from a university or actively pursuing post-baccalaureate studies in philosophy) you will find something of value in this. Beginners will have to read it more than once to get all the substantive ideas if you've had no exposure to them and then need to go to source material with good secondary sources to help guide you. Intermediate or advanced students will have to read it more than once because you'll be laughing so hard you won't be able to get all the jokes the first time through.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
A great intro into some of the great thoughts and thinkers. The humour is very witty. If you like Monty Pythonesque silly intellectual humour, then this book will be a treat.
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Format: Paperback
While the Action Philosophers series is better used as a gateway drug to some hard core philosophy than a substitute for actual study of the source materials, it has amazingly lucid graphic explainations of both Plato's Allegory of the Cave (vol. 1) and Descarte's Cogito, Ergo Sum (vol. 2).

I give it my heartiest reccomendation. In fact, so long as it's part of Amazon's 4 for 3 deal, I'm stocking up. I plan to give a set to each of my MA professors who teach literary theory, to gift one to my younger brother, and to keep one in my bookbag for work--tutoring high schoolers. AP is quick, portable, and nutritious.
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By TC on March 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You can purchase this in volumes or the entire collection in one book. Having the volumes allows us to share at home.
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Format: Paperback
If you're like me and have a passing interest in philosophy but don't want to read actual philosophy texts and would prefer a brief comic about a philosopher's life and their work, writer Fred Van Lente and artist Ryan Dunlavey have created the series for you in Action Philosophers.

This volume gives each philosopher - Marx, Machiavelli, Ben-Luria, Descartes, Sartre, Derrida, Wittgenstein, St Thomas Aquinas, and Kierkegaard - a short comic each. Yet somehow Van Lente is able to compress so much information into each chapter and in such a way that you understand the theories and the philosophers themselves once you finish each one, no matter how inscrutable the subject matter may seem at first.

Both creators liven up the material by working in pop culture references and humour, and imaginatively present the philosophers in new roles. Like Marx and Derrida who adopt action movie characters from the `80s - Marx is Rambo and Derrida The Terminator (or The Deconstuctonator as he is here).

But the levity doesn't get in the way of the information; instead Dunlavey's artwork complements the script perfectly to help the reader understand it. Like in Derrida's chapter where the comic itself becomes affected by Derrida's deconstructionist philosophy to the point where it ceases being a comic, the authors go from being comic book characters to themselves in real life via real life photos and then the comic blinks out of reality!

It's also enjoyable finding out about the philosophers' lives too, like Wittgenstein who came from one of Europe's wealthiest families but forsook his massive inheritance to pursue his work, even becoming a bricklayer at one point.
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