Joe The Barbarian Review (COMICS!)


Nothing better then a little escapism!

Hello everyone! I am Richard! The Awkward and Hilarious! Today I present to you a comic review. So sit back, relax, and read on! Anyways, one of the biggest movies that came out this week was Oz the Great and Powerful. As a Sam Raimi fan, I was really pumped to return to that magical dream land. Thankfully, when I saw the movie, I left the theater with a smile on my face. Unlike Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, a film I’m 100% sure this movie will be compared to a lot, Oz is a movie I’m not afraid to say I enjoyed without being made fun of. It wasn’t necessarily Great or Powerful, but it was just a fun time at the movies. Also, after I left the theater, I began thinking of some of my favorite tales with a similar premise. Someone from our world, in need of change, being transported to a brave new land of fantasy and impossibility.

Now, normal people would probably think of more traditional examples. Me, I thought of an awesome 3 year old comic called Joe The Barbarian. The story of Joe is penned by comic book legend, Grant Morrison, and is drawn by a favorite of mine, Sean Murphy. Joe The Barbarian follows a boy named Joe Manson. Joe, a creative and diabetic young lad whom tends to escape the harshness of his real life, fails to receive his daily needed dose of glucose. Once this happens, Joe begins to hallucinate a fantasy world inhabited by mystical monsters, as well as his action figures. Upon arrival, Joe learns he is the prophesied Dying Boy come to destroy King Death, and save the land for all!

In 2010, when this story was being told, I was only reading Batman related series. Later in the year, I began to explore other areas of the comic world. Specifically comics written by people I really love. One of my favorite writers of all time is Grant Morrison. At the time, the only Morrison book I was reading was his amazing Batman and Robin series. One day, I had a conversation with a fellow Morrison fan, chit-chatting about the latest adventure of Batman and Robin, and he told me about this awesome book called Joe the Barbarian.

It was a limited series, written by Morrison, being done over at Vertigo, which is an imprint of DC Comics. Once he gave me a short summary of the story, I became incredibly excited to read it. So, I patiently waited for the hardcover to be released. Once it hit the store shelves, I raced to the nearest shop, grabbed myself a copy, threw about thirty some dollars at the cashier, and raced back home! I didn’t leave my room at all that evening. I was so into what I was reading.

One of the aspects I loved most was the character of Joe. I related to him in so many ways. Minus the diabetes, the kid was basically me. I’ve always been someone who kind of lives inside their own head. Trying to escape reality because it’s too much for them to handle. Admittedly, I related so much that it was kind of hard to read this book. It reminded me of similar struggles I’m going through currently that I’ve tried to avoid through escapism. That being said, It was good to be reminded of those things, strangely. It made me even more invested and sucked into this comic.

Another interesting aspect was the way it was written. While this comic features the usual Grant Morrison writing style, it didn’t feel like a typical comic from him. The story was much more straight forward, and less metaphorical. It’s always nice to see writers challenge themselves and/or try something new. All that being sad, the greatest thing to come out of me reading this comic was discovering Sean Murphy. Murphy’s art work in Joe was so amazing that it became difficult to even turn the page. I’d literally just be sitting on my bed, gazing upon a brilliant castle, witnessing an epic battle, or marveling at the forest lands of this beautifully drawn world.

After I read this book, I fell in love with the work of Sean Murphy. Since then, If I ever find anything sporting his name, I instantly have to purchase it. Even the freaking cover of the hardcover, depicted above, is amazing! Just look at it! It’s all kinds of spectacular! Anyways, if you haven’t been able to tell, I really loved this comic. It’s not my favorite tale from Morrison, but I consider it one of his best!

I give Joe The Barbarian a 5 outta 5!

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