Last week, BoingBoing highlighted a recent Comixology release, Taxes, The Tea Party and Those Revolting Rebels: A History in Comics of the American Revolution by Stan Mack, published by NBM. As the BoingBoing review points out, Taxes, Tea Party is a nuanced, yet accessible account of the very complicated history of the Boston Tea Party and the beginning of the American Revolution. Writes BoingBoing reviewer Cory Doctrow:
“This humanized account of the dawn of the American project is a beautiful piece of work, and a strong tonic against the whitewash of history. There’s bravery in this history, and sacrifice, and cunning and resolve.”
Stan Mack is, of course, not the first artist to utilize the comics medium as a platform for education as well as entertainment. One early innovator in the arena of comics as educational tools was Will Eisner, creator of the spirit, early advocate of comics as art and pioneer of the graphic novel. As early as the 1950s, Eisner was making educational comics for the US military (some of these can be found in PS Magazine , published by Abrams Comicarts). More recent educational comics that can be found on Comixology include Michael Goodwin and Dan Burr’s Economix: How Our Economy Works (and Doesn’t Work) In Words and Pictures, Harvey Pekar and Paul Buhle’s Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular and the New Land and Margreet de Heer’s Philosophy: A Discovery in Comics. Also published by NBM, Philosophy, like Taxes, Tea Party, takes a complicated subject, in this case the history of philosophy from Socrates to Nietzsche, and presents in an easily understandable, funny format using comics as a means of creative expression.
Don’t let the educational value of these comics scare you off. In addition to having something to teach, they’re all engaging and entertaining reads. Books like Taxes Tea Party suggest that comics can be fun, but they can be something more, too. After all, there’s no reason why subjects like history, science, philosophy and politics can’t coexist with ominpowerful superheroes, daring detectives, the zombie hordes and robots from outer space. Entertain, educate, enlighten- is there anything that comics aren’t good for?
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