How can philosophy and comic books go together? What could the “lofty” thoughts of philosophy possibly have to do with four-color persons in spandex smacking the shit out of each other? Quite a lot, really, and that’s even without including jokes about how both are filled with unshaven fanboys trying to break into the industry so they don’t have to get real jobs.
Philosophy isn’t huge, abstract thoughts about nothing important that pretentious bastards go on about to make themselves feel important… okay, so sometimes that’s exactly what it is as a formal discipline, but I’m about to let you in on a secret; that isn’t real philosophy, it’s academic twaddle. I’m also going to let you in on another secret: you don’t have to study philosophy, or be a philosopher in order to live philosophically. Whether you love him or hate him, it was Nietzsche who best articulated what philosophy should be, and what living philosophically is; a state of critical and reflective engagement with the world.
So how does that relate to comic books? Comic books, films, novels, and the material of everyday life have all exposed us to the same ideas and questions that are the philosopher’s lot. We’re simply not taught to think about them as philosophy, or to address them in a philosophical manner. One of the things I hope to do is to examine works of comics and popular culture, and to illustrate how those ideas not only tie to the formal execution of philosophy, but how those ideas relate to our lives, and how a philosophically-oriented engagement can deepen our understanding and enjoyment of the things we watch, read, and do. I’m also going to try and always make sure that when I do this what I’m saying is as clear and understandable as possible. You should never need to have studied philosophy to understand what I’m saying. The caveat being that I can’t promise I’ll always succeed.
Of course I’m not just going to limit myself to talking about comics and philosophy. Sometimes I might talk about comics without philosophy, or philosophy without comics. I might talk about sex, pornography, film, music, videogames, something that annoys me, or just my thoughts in general. That’s the advantage of having one’s own interweb soapbox.