Epicurus the Sage
Volume 1 of Epicurus the Sage (1989). Pencils and inks by Sam Kieth.
Publication information
Publisher Piranha Press
Schedule Biennial
Format Graphic novel
Publication date 1989 - 1991
Number of issues 2
Creative team
Writer(s) William Messner-Loebs
Penciller(s) Sam Kieth
Inker(s) Sam Kieth
Colorist(s) Steve Oliff
Creator(s) William Messner-Loebs
Sam Kieth
Collected editions
Epicurus the Sage ISBN 1-4012-0028-1

Epicurus the Sage was the name of a 2-issue limited series written by William Messner-Loebs, with art by Sam Kieth. Each issue was bound in a graphic novel format, and was 48 pages long, without advertisements. It was published by Piranha Press, the "alternative comics" imprint of DC Comics.


Ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus appears as the main character of the book, traveling the ancient world with Plato and Aristotle's young pupil Alexander the Great, sometimes with Aristotle himself. Together, they wander into various major Greek myths (e.g. the kidnapping of Persephone by Hades), and discuss the philosophical questions raised, with a great deal of slapstick humor.[1]

The book mixes history, mythology, and humor to relate the teachings of Epicurus. The narrative tends to anachronistically show other vaguely contemporary writers and thinkers, such as Aesop (who died two centuries before the historical Epicurus was even born), as backwards, foolish, fascistic, or all three, while the philosophy of Epicurus is portrayed to be more tolerant and humanistic; it is pointed out more than once that Epicurus is one of the only ancient philosophers who would teach women.

Various notable personages, from both history and mythology (e.g. Alcibiades and Zeus), appear as secondary characters.

Issues and reprints

The original run of the comic consisted of two issues:

  • #1 - Visiting Hades (1989)
  • #2 - The Many Loves of Zeus (1991)

Collected editions

In 2003, both books of the series were reprinted in a trade paperback (ISBN 1-4012-0028-1) by Cliffhanger, an imprint of Wildstorm. This book featured a new painted cover by Sam Kieth, a black and white "Epicurus" story from Fast Forward #3, and an all new 36-page Epicurus story by Kieth and Messner-Loebs.


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