Comics as Philosophy
Through the combination of text and images, comic books offer a unique opportunity to explore deep questions about aesthetics, ethics, and epistemology in nontraditional ways. The essays in this collection focus on a wide variety of genres, from mainstream superhero comics, to graphic novels of social realism, to European adventure classics.
Included among the contributions are essays on existentialism in Daniel Clowes's graphic novel Ghost World, ecocriticism in Paul Chadwick's long-running Concrete series, and political philosophies in Hergé's perennially popular The Adventures of Tintin. Modern political concerns inform Terry Kading's discussion of how superhero comics have responded to 9/11 and how the genre reflects the anxieties of the contemporary world.
Essayists also explore the issues surrounding the development and appreciation of comics. Amy Kiste Nyberg examines the rise of the Comics Code, using it as a springboard for discussing the ethics of censorship and child protection in America. Stanford W. Carpenter uses interviews to analyze how a team of Marvel artists and writers reimagined the origin of one of Marvel's most iconic superheroes, Captain America. Throughout, essayists in Comics as Philosophy show how well the form can be used by its artists and its interpreters as a means of philosophical inquiry.
Jeff McLaughlin is assistant professor of philosophy at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia.