Monday, 28 April 2014

Action Philosophers: Ayn Rand Review (Fred Van Lente, Ryan Dunlavey)


While I rate this comic highly, don’t think that it’s because I hold Ayn Rand or her objectivist philosophy in the same regard – instead it’s a reflection of the talented creative team, Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey, and their quality work on this issue. 

Born Alisa Rosenbaum, she left Soviet Russia after her father’s business was seized by the communist state and left her family without a means of support – a grievance she would nurse for years before developing her ideas of individual accomplishment rewarding the individual into her extremely pro-capitalist philosophy of objectivism. 

She wanted to become a screenwriter in Hollywood but found success with novels, writing under the pen name Ayn Rand so that her family back in Russia wouldn’t be associated with her anti-Stalinist work and face reprisals from the state. 

Van Lente succinctly summarises Rand’s life and philosophical outlook with amusing and thoughtful illustrations from Dunlavey. He ends the issue by choosing to focus on Rand’s affair with her protégé, Nathaniel Branden, which ended after Branden began sleeping with a younger woman and which Rand took very badly – at odds with her “emotion is for the weak-minded” inhuman brand of thinking, which also showed the failings and hypocrisy she had of successfully applying objectivism to her own life (Van Lente is not openly critical of objectivism in this comic, instead presenting the facts and allowing the reader to make up their own mind). 

This comic is definitely worth reading if you’re looking for a brief but informative and enjoyable look Ayn Rand’s life and philosophy, and it’s got the added benefit of learning about Ayn Rand without having to read anything by her!

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