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Joe the Barbarian Hardcover – November 8, 2011
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Diabetic Joe Manson lives with his widowed mother in a home on the brink of foreclosure and is bullied at school, but that’s just about all the reality we get before plunging head-over-heels into Joe’s hypoglycemia-fueled hallucinations. Joe is on the verge of insulin shock when he begins to drift into a bewildering fantasy realm. His pet rat, Jack, leads him through treacherous kingdoms to the underworld, where he will face “King Death” in the sunless land of “Hypogea”—in other words, Joe needs some glucose or he’ll die. Joe flashes in and out of his actual surroundings, which bleed through to the rich and dynamic imaginary world: his toys are soldiers in the land of “Playroom,” and stony, stairlike outcroppings are a dangerous obstacle between his bedroom and the main floor. While the story is full of delightful comic-book fun, the undercurrent of real-life peril makes this award-winning graphic novel much more than just another fantasy. Joe may be battling vicious creatures with laser guns on pirate submarines, but he’s really fighting for his life and home. Joe’s magnificent and bittersweet day-saving discovery at the very last moment will elicit cheers from even the hardest of hearts. --Sarah Hunter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Gorgeous and haunting... a success." (IGN)" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The comic is about the troubled, diabetic Joe Manson who lives with his widowed mother in a house that they're about to lose. But this isn't a tear-jerking drama where Joe the loser finds himself bedridden in a bleak hospital. This is an adventure that blurs reality and a dimension where Joe has to fight for his life and save the kingdom that calls him their hero.
What I love about JOE is how Murphy skillfully transports the reader back and forth between the two worlds in just a panel. Morrison's narration is simple and straightforward in itself but Murphy's art makes the story all the more compelling and more thrilling than it actually is. This is one of those comics that aren't meant to be read once but rather, reread for more appreciation. So go ahead, turn that tv off and prepare for a fantasy unlike any other.
Sean Murphy's art as always is spectacular with incredible detailing and world building. Overall a very enjoyable fantasy adventure comic with a solid delivery and ending. If you despise Grant Morrison's writing like some do, you may actually enjoy this and everyone else should love it. I repurchased this in hardcover since I loved the art so much.