Comic explores the flawed humanity of Ayn Rand

44_7d9c0e0d1d23e60ab9b56699a4aaef4aFew figures of the 20th Century are as polarizing as Ayn Rand, whose philosophy Objectivism, was outlined in her two most famous novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Objectivists are Libertarians on steroids, seemingly devoid of human compassion, yet many Christians and Catholics embrace Rand’s moral absolutism, despite her elevation of selfishness to virtue.

Now graphic novelist Darryl Cunningham has released, for free, an extraordinary webcomic biography of Rand, which examines her philosophies through the lens of her biography. Cunningham sees Rand as a woman drowning in contradictions. Describing her ideal as “the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute” she went on to surround her self with a cult like following of slavish devotees.

It would have been easy for Cunningham to simply skewer and lambast Rand and reduce her to a parody of John Galt or Howard Roark, the heroes of her novels, but Cunningham is more subtle than that. He uses a scalpel rather than an axe to dissect Rand’s life and philosophies, rendering a portrait of Rand that will anger her devotees but humanize her somewhat in the eyes of her critics.

Check out some sample art and panels below and read the full 68 page comic here.

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Steve Ahlquist is an award-winning journalist, writer, artist and founding member of the Humanists of Rhode Island, a non-profit group dedicated to reason, compassion, optimism, courage and action. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of any organization of which he is a member.

His photos and video are usable under the Creative Commons license. Free to share with credit.

"We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” - Elie Weisel

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu

"There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. If you’re not in revolt, you’re in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame." - David Brooks

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