15. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Courtney, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Joe the Barbarian by Grant Morrison, Sean Murphy (Illustrator), 224 pages, read by Courtney, on 07/28/2013

Joe’s mother has gone out to attempt to prevent the bank from foreclosing on the family home that the two have been living in alone since the death of Joe’s father. Joe heads up to his room in the attic, forgetting his backpack on the stairs. This wouldn’t be a problem for most people, but Joe is extremely hypoglycemic and the nearest sugar is in his bag. After hanging out in his room for awhile, he begins to either hallucinate from the hypoglycemic shock or his toys have all come to life. Either way, he begins an epic quest to save the “kingdom” from evil forces. Accompanied by his pet rat and various other “heroes” he picks up along the way, Joe is armed only with his wits as he begins the long and arduous journey downstairs to the kitchen where salvation awaits in the form of carbonated high-fructose corn syrup.
The artwork in this is amazing. Joe’s bedroom is filled with all the toys one might expect a teenaged boy to have accumulated over the course of his short life. All of these details inform the auxiliary characters that Joe encounters throughout his journey. On occasion, the panel will show Joe in his own house, looking increasingly worse for the wear. Joe himself is unsure what is real and what isn’t, but he knows he’s on a mission and he’s determined to follow it all the way through. I love that this is a self-contained comic (it was originally printed as a mini-series); it’s a refreshing change to read the whole thing in one sitting rather than having to wait for each subsequent installment to come out. The story feels fresh and original all while paying homage to the classic adventure stories we all grew up with.

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