This is a must read for both lovers of comics and smart laymen who want to be entertained with history of ideas, great men and logic.
The sober, soft and pleasant narration (sometimes, a meta one) is built around the biography of Bertrand Russell, as told by himself in occasion of the prelude of the intervention of England into the WW2. In a note, the authors mention that though all characters are real as well as all ideas reported, some facts are fictituos for the sake of simplification of narrative only. This does not detract from the content, especially considering the appendix to the book containing additional notes and biographical materials.
Russell's life is seen as a voyage to discover unshakeable truth, along which he comes to grasp the complex nature of life and reality, which lies mostly beyond logic. An underlying theme of "logic from madness" connects the lives of many of the logicians with which Bertie comes into contact, and can be applied to his case too, as if the discipline, endurance and clear-minded thought required to solve logical foundational quests could only spring from a repulsion, fear or dread of madness, or were the outcome of a desire to find order in one's own mind and life. Apparently: Russell's son was diagnosed with schizophrenia; Hilbert's son was psychotic; Cantor believed himself to be god's spokesman and spent his later life proving Shakespear's true identity (Sir Francis Bacon) and Jesus as son of Joseph of Arimatea; Frege became paranoid and used logic to prove the need for a final, anti-semitic solution; Godel died of starvation because of his paranoia; Wittgenstein was extremely eccentric, so to say. Of all, Russell, with his multiple marriages and libertine attitudes as well, seems to have embraced the most aspects of life, and for this to have become the wisest, dedicating himself to militant pacifism, philosophy and education in general, though being constantly ravaged by the thought of his failure in curing the foundations of logic that he earlier showed to be rotten (with his paradox on set theory).
Drawings are very neat, elegant, with some tables in full page format of grand eloquence and beauty. There is a constant exchange between the authors' and Russell's narration, which makes the text a metatext at times, when the authors themselves are represented and comment on the evolution of the book, its themes, some philosophical propositions and the supposed failure of Russell's foundational work - which can be compensated with the inspiration of works by Wittgenstein, Godel and Turing, which lead to moder computers and computer science at large (which prefers pragmatical algorithms to structural formal reasoning in itself).
A unique work deserving to be a must read in high schools - and to be largely imitated.
While I commend the effort, I wonder who the supposed audience for this Graphic Novel really is.
Case in point: I studied Godel, and I have a bit more of the vaguest idea of what his proof did to Russel's efforts.
I can't say that the graphic novel is making a poor effort to explain it, but for really judging it, you need a complete newcomer to the field.
Find one, and ask him/her what he got from the book.
How many (newcomers) would buy the book in order to get a better understanding of Godel's Theorem? How many (of those who don't know it) would care even a little bit?
So, if you are "geek" and know the field already, it's interesting, if not "great".
For everyone else, I am afraid it will fail to even register.
Please prove me wrong... did you lend it to non-mathematically friends? With what results?