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ISBN 978-0-8126-9669-1


288 pages

Fall 2009

Supervillains and Philosophy

Sometimes, Evil Is Its Own Reward

Edited by Ben Dyer
Volume 42 in the Popular Culture and Philosophy® series

If you want to take over the world—for the pure thrill of power, for delight in sheer destruction, or to solve everyone's problems and make the world a far better place—you're a candidate for supervillainy.

But do you have what it takes? Or will you end up like the others, gnashing your fangs over the fatal screw-ups of your bungling minions?

Supervillains and Philosophy not only divulges the essentials you need to become a successful supervillain, it aggressively confronts the outstanding philosophical problems of supervillainy.

Pow! Is there a contradiction in wanting to be good at doing bad? Crunch! Can the hunger for absolute power ever be satiated? Splat! Aren't some superheroes just as bad as their evil counterparts? Biff! Why are dependable evil henchmen so hard to find? Varoom! Is it okay to violate the rights of evil masterminds? Kablam! Do inadequate superheroes and inadequate supervillains really need each other? Whaam! Are the supervillains finally winning?

"Professor Moriarty's best students contemplate the eclipse of the soul and all that is wholesome. Somewhere deep down you know you admire these damaged and misunderstood geniuses—and without them, we would never learn about the shadows cast by the superheroes. You need them and you love them, from Lex Luthor to Batzarro. Ben Dyer and his henchmen invited me to their hideout for ‘a little fun', and now I'm really in a fix. Tune in next week, would you?"

—Randall E. Auxier, co-editor of The Wizard of Oz and Philosophy

"In Supervillains and Philosophy, fans of comic books are shown how a closer examination of the best (or is it the worst?) supervillains will add to their understanding of both the comic book universe and this one that we occupy."

—Jeff McLaughlin, editor of Comics as Philosophy

"A terrific book, filled with thoughtful discussions, intelligent insights, and an engaging dash of humor. A spectacular tour of the heroic and the hideous in the modern world of comic books, and a necessary addition to the library of any student of today's graphic novels."

—Robert Weinberg, co-author of The Science of Supervillains

Ben Dyer is completing his Ph.D. on gratitude as a foundation for political obligations, at Bowling Green State University.

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