Thursday, July 05, 2012

Green Lantern and Philosophy

Green Lantern and Philosophy is an interesting book. I bet you never heard of it. I hadn't, so I certainly wasn't looking for it, but I just happened to stumble across the book on ebay. I enjoyed reading it a great deal (and, at $4, it was a great deal)!

Copyrighted 2011, it is an entry in the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series from Wiley Publishing. The book consists of twenty separate essays that border on the scholarly. Each article shows how the Green Lantern mythos interfaces with the various branches in the study of philosophy; Utilitarianism and moral relativism and moral absolutism all get wheeled out and are explained clearly. Classical philosophers like Plato and Aristotle and Hegel and Kant and Descartes have their principles delineated, plus some latter-day philosophers about whom I had not previously known are presented.

Most impressive to me is that all the comic book references are correct, every single one. The first third of the book focuses mainly on Geoff Johns' helming of the Corps, later articles hone in on the Denny O'Neil/Neal Adams run, and a number of the articles refer all the way back to the debut of Hal Jordan in Showcase #22. (Alan Scott is mentioned a half-dozen times but this is not his book.)

There is a Contributors list introducing to the readers the seventeen individuals who served either as a writer or an editor on the book. The majority of them are college professors of philosophy. Who knew that so many philosophy professors were comic book fans! Again I must emphasize that I did not notice a single error in the text, and there are specific references to specific comic books on every page. Good job, profs!

I see that this Comics and Philosophy series also has editions that focus on each of Batman and Spider-Man and Iron Man and The X-Men and even Watchmen! I have not pulled the trigger on any of those yet but, based on how well done this book is, I probably will.


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