By Fred Van Lente
Many thanks to Comic Book Resources for their previous coverage of “Action Philosophers” and for hosting this exclusive preview of me and artist Ryan Dunlavey’s next comic, “Action Philosophers” #8: SENSELESS VIOLENCE SPECTACULAR. For those of you not familiar with “ActPhilo,” in each issue I write and Ryan draws a brief, comedic bio of three members of history’s A-list brain trust. We’ve already lampooned such diverse thinkers as Plato, Nietzsche, Ayn Rand, Marx, Machiavelli, Sartre, Descartes, Freud, Wittgenstein, Aristotle… The list goes on and on!
For our efforts, we won a grant from the fine folks at the Xeric Foundation, and the American Library Association (ALA) named the first trade paperback collection of the series, ACTION PHILOSOPHERS GIANT-SIZE THING VOL. 1, a “Great Graphic Novel for Teens 2007”, grouping us with some esteemed company, which was quite flattering and gratifying.
Being something of “comics supremacist,” I’ve often maintained that comics are in many ways superior to prose in relating complex ideas (particularly if toilet humor is involved). Political cartoonists have known this since at least the eighteenth century, and Ryan and I are just trying to carry on that proud tradition in non-fiction humorous essay form.
In our penultimate installment, AP #8, “Immanuel Kant: Epistemological Attorney” has to defend God in court from the charge of not existing, which combines AP with “Law & Order.” In our first-ever attempt to do two thinkers at once, both G.W.F. Hegel and Arthur Schopenhauer do battle with dueling philosophies to inherit Kant’s mantle as history’s greatest thinker. Who wins? You, the reader, be the judge…
But our personal fave from this issue has to be “You’re a Good Man, John Stuart Mill,” in which the ideas and life episodes of the famed British Utilitarian philosopher are performed by some … familiar-looking comic strip characters. CBR provides the full story for you here for your reading pleasure. (Special thanks to legendary chameleon cartoonist R. SIKORYAK for pointing us to the font used in this story!)
Anyway, if you like what you see, be sure to check out the full issue, which debuts later in February – and if you’re at this year’s NEW YORK COMIC CON, be sure to stop by the Action Philosophers table in Artist’s Alley (# A243) and say hi! AP #8 premieres at NYCC, and we’ll be happy to sign a copy for you.
Learn about more about ACTION PHILOSOPHERS than you can possibly stand, read more free previews on-line, and even order the book, at the series’ official web site, http://www.actionphilosophers.com
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