Monday 22 July 2019

Book Review: Superhero Thought Experiments - Comic Book Philosophy by Gavaler & Goldberg (Non-Fiction)

Title: Superhero Thought Experiments - Comic Book Philosophy
Author: Gavaler & Goldberg
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
Publication Date: 15 September 2019
eBook - PDF
ARC via NetGalley


Examining the deep philosophical topics addressed in superhero comics, authors Gavaler and Goldberg read plot lines for the complex thought experiments they contain and analyze their implications as if the comic authors were philosophers. Reading superhero comic books through a philosophical lens reveals how they experiment with complex issues of morality, metaphysics, meaning, and medium. Given comics’ ubiquity and influence directly on (especially young) readers—and indirectly on consumers of superhero movies and video games—understanding these deeper meanings is in many ways essential to understanding contemporary popular culture. The result is an entertaining and enlightening look at superhero dilemmas.

Superhero Thought Experiments is an interesting work that looks critically at the stories in superhero comics, as seen through the lens of philosophical thought. Since each topic is explained at the start of each section, you don't have to have studied philosophy to read this book; however, I would suggest that having a basic overview of some major figures like Kant and Descartes would help, in particular in regards to terminology. Likewise, each comic plot is outlined, so you don't need to have read all the relevant comics to follow the lines of thought, but again, a basic knowledge of major DC and Marvel characters will benefit you. This is not what I would call a light read, but it is an intriguing one, and if you are a superhero fan, there'll be plenty to captivate you in these essays.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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