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Action Philosophers!: the lives and thoughts of history's A-list brain trust
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Action Philosophers!: the lives and thoughts of history's A-list brain trust

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  264 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Imagine Plato as a wrestling superstar of ancient Greece, Nietzsche as the original ubermensch, and Bohidharma as the grand master of kung fu. These are not just great thinkers they also make great comics. Action Philosophers details the lives and thoughts of history's A-list brain trust in hip and humorous comic book fashion. All nine issues of the award-winning, best-sel ...more
Paperback, 309 pages
Published November 11th 2009 by Evil Twin Comics (first published 2009)
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Todd N
Jul 07, 2010 Todd N rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: philosophy professors who live in Coeur d'Alene
Impulse buy bought during a routine stop at Lee's Comics.

As a dilettante's dilettante, I love any kind of popularization. So when I saw the work of the major philosophers summed up in convenient graphic novel form, I couldn't resist.

It didn't disappoint. Though I can't vouch for the accuracy of the overview of each philosopher covered, at least it jibed with all the other popularizations I remembered. The chapters on Decartes (represented as a light bulb) and Bodhidharma (who drilled two holes i
zoe nicol
A solid B+ work. The upside: anyone can understand the concepts. Each philosopher is presented succinctly and amusingly. The downside: while it may be in comic form, it's pretty much the same old, dead, white guy philosophy material. There's a grand total of two female philosophers (one of them being Ayn Rand-which hardly counts as philosophy) and the other is Mary Wollstonecraft (whose bio ends with a note that her granddaughter wrote Frankenstein).
So, if you're into philosophy, it's a fun boo
Chris "Stu"
A surprisingly in depth run down of three dozen philosophers, touching on the basics of some of their most fundamental philosophical contributions. Obviously, a lot is left out, but the overview is given in such a quick and light but obviously well-read manner. J.S. Mill is done in the style of Charlie Brown, and much is made of the Ubermensch of Nietzsche being related to a certain comic character, but Van Lente gives a fairly balanced introduction to a lot of philosophers I knew, and a number ...more
A funny book that takes the reader through a crazy, silly, irreverent survey of "Dead White Guy" philosophers. It's not just the DWGs, but mostly, and that's okay--this book (and the smaller issues and volumes published previously) do exactly what they're supposed to do. Witty and informative, it helps some things stick in your mind better than just slumping down in a chair in an undergrad philosophy class. Well, it did for me, anyway. I loved it, and a teacher in the school where I used to teac ...more
A complete treat to read. These guys are so inventive with the philosophers of yore and their ideas. The complaints about oversimplification are fatuous. It's a fun comic book and you will learn something of the history of philosophy along the way.
Hilarious and digestible exploration of most important Western philosophers, and a few Eastern ones, Action Philosophers both entertains and educates. A few problematic passages don't bog down the otherwise spot-on text. Perfect for philosophy hobbyists and academics alike.
There's a lot to like in this book. It's a great and often hilarious dive into the lives and ideas of some of the greatest philosophers throughout history. But on the whole if you're already familiar with a majority of these figures, you'll find they often just go with half-truths common in other popularizations (for example that Nietzsche was a nihilist, or that Descartes' methodological doubt wasn't methodological). Still, for anyone who wants to learn about this stuff, it's a pretty great int ...more
The easiest thing to do here would be to get nitpicky with who they chose to focus on: too little Foucault, too much Ayn Rand, not enough Socrates, too much Jefferson. And I guess that's the danger of doing any incomplete list of anything: you're going to leave something out. So it probably wasn't worth my having said that.

Anyway, I thought this was cool. It's a relatively quick read, and some of the philosopher's are explained extremely well. My main complaint is that the fun comic book format
Lance R. Goebel
The book has, at rare points, hilarious and insightful jokes (as opposed to lame Thomas Aquinas fat jokes). This does not make up for the many errors in the text which will leave people just being introduced to philosophy (the book's target demographic) with factual misinformation.

Schopenhauer scheduled his lectures purposefully at the same time as Hegel's - the book claims this was a result of a decision by the University.

The Jean-Jacques Rousseau comic posits that, upon having sex with James B
From Thales of Miletus to Derrida, a kind of photo album of, as some blurbs say, "A List" philosophers with often funny illustrations and pithy statements and exchanges about the distinctive ideas, claims, insights and personalities of each. I wish there had been more of a sense of dialog, and because I had trouble keeping all those ideas in my head, also more cross referencing or review---though I gather the original comics weren't written in chronological order, so that might have been an impo ...more
Some part of this book are mad genius, others fell flat for me. Also, I didn't notice until nearly the end, but this could be just as easily called Boys' Own Philosophers - there are almost no women (I know, partly a problem with the discipline itself), and the few women included are MUCH more likely to be portrayed with more attention to their love affairs than their ideas, compared to the men - I mean, seriously, Ayn Rand's comic is all about the Nathaniel Branden thing, but the Sartre story d ...more
Paul C Graham
Does what it is supposed to do and does it well. A broad range of philosophy/philosophers in bite size chunks, delivered with humor, wit, and care. I found a couple of mistakes, but they were minor. Unlike most survey philosophy books, this one had a medieval section and a wee bit of renaissance thought. Most books go from Aristotle to Descartes as though nothing happened during the intervening years... Props for that. It's a fun read and I recommend it as a light way to brush up on who said wha ...more
Derek Peffer
This was a witty and timeless joy to read. I heard about them for a while till a friend brought them over to read. Since then I wanted all of them in one comic collection extravaganza. I was not disappointed and found such a thing did exist and snatched it up at a local book store. There are still a lot of philosopher's left out but all the major ones seem available. If only the authors made a few more *sigh*. This isn't the best introduction to philosophy but it's by far the most entertaining o ...more
If you want to learn about some of history's top philosophers, from Thales of Miletus! to Derrida!, then Action Philosophers! is for you!

It is a pretty good way to learn about the views of different philosophers in comic book form, but it is still, after all, Philosophy. It's about as painless as possible, but I still found myself sometimes reading a few panels, and not remembering what the guy was talking about. In that case, I could just look at the pictures.
Idea Smith
Who said history had to be boring or that philosophy had to be dry? Action Philosophers sexes up these real stories of belief system stalwarts like Plato (ex-wrestler), Bodhidharma (he of the Dhyana/Chen/Zen cult) and Nietzsche (the Ubermensch). Shrewd side-comments, post facto critiques and sundry anecdotes appear in a conversational style while we go through some of the biggest religions and philosophies in the world. If only school was like this!
Although strictly speaking I haven't finished this book,I can say it is great fun. It is a graphic novel portraying famous philosophers as super-heroes. Despite the whimsy, it gives a surprisingly good insight into the philosophies of these great thinkers, and it is a LOT easier to read than the originals!
Sort of, but not quite, in the vein of Larry Gonick (more vignettes than organized presentation). Interesting and funny. Lots of visual humor and references (Jack Kirby's New Gods in St. Augustine, J.S. Mill as Charlie Brown, cameos by Battle Pope and the Katzenjammer Kids) and, of course, "Plato Smash!"
Derek Royal
Sheer fun! It's great to go back and reread these comics as an entire collection. Love Van Lente's sense of humor. These treatments of thinkers are great companions of the old "For Beginners" series that used to come out from Pantheon years ago.
A fantastic primer for anyone who missed or skipped a few philosophers along the way. As a comic review of philosophy from pre-Socratic to contemporary philosophers, you could want nothing more. I cannot recommend it enough. These guys are fucking amazing.
I am a fan of Van Lente's work and philosophy so i was looking forward to this book. Unfortunately it is very much at the introductory level and not even an advanced introduction. Also he is extremely unfair in his treatment of Foucault.
Lucas Brown
While by no means a complete text (think Horrid Histories and the like) this is an extremely well-written and funny graphic novel series that will be the conversation starter with many actual philosophers. The Plato issue especially is PERFECT.
Fantastic book for anyone interested in learning a little more about philosophy. Van Lente and Dunlevey make it very interesting and funny, much like their other masterwork "The Comic Book History of Comics."
Kevin Saunders
Wide ranging, and surprisingly deep account of much of the history of philosophy. Is it complete? Of course not, but it's a fun introduction and ends the only way it can (hint: Derrida)
Rob Koch
I wish it had been a bit more thorough in the people it covered. It skipped some important chunks of time. Otherwise, this would be great for curious novices or teens.
En underhållande serie som tillgängligör några av dom mest kända filosoferna och deras åsikter utan att förenkla allt för mkt. Stundtals skrattar man också till.
Clever, energetic, irreverent, informative - this would make a great textbook for college philosophy courses, and is equally worthwhile as (usually) light reading.
Bryan Zorko
Excellent intro to a bunch of philosophers that I was only vaguely aware of. Quick stories, good art, and pretty clear explanations of potentially difficult concepts.
If you read this book, you will have fun, laugh a lot, and feel smarter. What's not to like?
Almighty Watashi
Perfect reference guide to philosophers for simple folk like me
Sidik Fofana
SIX WORD REVIEW: Contemporary Civ meets Saturday morning cartoons.
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