Story-teller(s): Apostolos Doxiadis & Christos H. Papadimitriou.
Illustrator(s): Alecos Papadatos.
Colourist(s): Annie Di Donna.
Inker(s): Dimitris Karatzaferis & Thodoris Paraskevas.
Letterer(s): Anne Bardy.
Publisher: Bloomsbury (NYC).
Release Date: October 5th, 2009.
Genre(s): Comics, Philosophy, Non-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
There are things in life for which you would devote every fiber of your being. Whether it is a person, an object, or maybe even the truth, nothing would soothe your soul more than keeping your word and achieving these self-established goals. For some, research is their gateway towards finding the absolute truth, even if it doesn’t mean that their contribution will be ground-breaking. The journey in itself is enough to make their efforts meaningful for them and for others. Writer Apostolos Doxiadis and theoretical computer scientist Christos Papadimitriou thus work together on a graphic novel project to enlighten readers on the foundational quest in mathematics, a journey embraced by many great thinkers and left countless dazzled by unpredictable discoveries about themselves and the world.
What is Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth about? The story explores philosopher Bertrand Russell’s pursuit of the foundations of mathematics during a period where the greatest minds worked day and night to discover the truth for everyone to work with in a field that quickly dismissed the unexplained. While exploring the man’s inner turmoil as he attempts the impossible, the evolution of countless theories is broken down with efficiency as everyone seeks these foundations as they remain lost within numbers, sets, and rules. This is a story that simply presents the beautiful dichotomy between rationality and reality that hinders the achievement mutual consensus amongst all.
If you thought it would be an impossible task to make mathematics sound magical, this graphic novel will prove you wrong. Although it is isn’t completely and always accurate and loyal to historical facts, it remains relatively close to real events as it attempts to present the famous foundational quest in mathematics. With a part of this graphic novel structured as a story within a story that follows professor Bertrand Russel in the recounting of his life since his first confrontation with logic, the rest follows the creative team in their own dilemma of identifying this graphic novel’s purpose. This pseudo-triple-narrative offers the reader the chance of looking into a complex relationship between man, logic, and madness, without dropping the ball and losing the reader with hypnotic details.
Effortless in its attempt to present the evolution of logic through philosophy by looking at the countless problems encountered in the form of contradictions and paradoxes offers the reader a truly accessible guide at mathematics through the eyes of the 20th century greatest mathematicians and logicians. It’s even more fascinating to see it all told through Bertrand Russell who conveys a much more intimate tale where fear of the unknown and of madness tries to steer him away from breaking new grounds and finding the answers that everyone so desperately seeks. While it is easy to have your basic axioms presented on a silver platter, this story reveals that the quest in itself, amidst the life-changing historical events that took place during that period, is nothing short maddening.
The artwork is not the focal point of this graphic novel either as it simply serves as a consistent and simplistic style with vivid colours that captures the essence of the fear-filled era in which the story takes place. It is at times truly wonderful to see how the medium allows the creators of this graphic novel to simplify the colossal historical task that they had and allow the images to speak for themselves as theories are presented to the reader.
Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth is an insightful and fairly accurate exploration into a man’s journey to discovering the foundations in mathematics.