Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Book Review: Brendan and Erc in Exile Vol. 1 by Amadeus

Brendan and Erc in Exile Volume 1: The Truth is Out There written and illustrated by Amadeus

Brendan is plagued by disturbing dreams where he attempts to ascend a mountain and capture butterflies. He goes for coffee with his friend Erc to discuss the meaning of life. A random stranger overhears them and convinces them that they have immortal souls that will only be satisfied by pursuing knowledge and virtue. Erc is a down-to-earth hedonist and is not so interested in that sort of happiness. An intellectual/virtuous life doesn't look like fun, especially when compared to eating junk food and drinking beer. But Brendan and Erc are on a new path which takes them quite far. Brendan and Erc work as interplanetary mailmen so they have some interesting experiences along the way. They meet new people and grapple with new ideas.

Plato is famous for writing dialogues where two or more characters discuss ideas in a quest for truth. This book reads just like one of those dialogues, framing philosophical and theological quandaries in a personal context. The dialogue format, especially in comic book form, makes the ideas more concrete and more relatable for the readers. For example, they discuss how the soul is related to the body by using a robot metaphor. Having the metaphor displayed visually as well as verbally helps to communicate the idea and gives it more persuasive power. As with most dialogues, the plot is minimal and tailor-made to support the arguments made. The plot in this book is good enough to keep  readers engaged even while occasionally being contrived.

The book is a great introduction to or review of basic philosophical and theological ideas for teens and adults. Highly recommended!

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