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Joe the Barbarian Deluxe Edition Hardcover – Nov 8 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo; Deluxe ed edition (Nov. 8 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401229719
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401229719
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 18.7 x 27.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 726 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #166,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Feb. 20 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have to give Grant Morrison credit -- few writers could turn a trip to the refrigerator into an epic fantasy adventure. But somehow he manages to do that in "Joe the Barbarian," deftly blurring the lines of fantasy and reality inside one young boy's head. It reads like a cross between "Alice in Wonderland" and "Lord of the Rings," but with more steampunk.

Joe is at home alone with his pet rat Jack. Joe also happens to be diabetic, and bullies stole his snacks earlier that day. When his blood sugar plummets, he struggles to get down the stairs despite his hallucinations and delusions. In his head, he is the legendary Dying Boy, prophesied to save a strange fantasy world from the evil King Death. Oh, and Jack is a giant talking warrior-rat who comes along to help him.

In the real world, Joe is seriously ill and stumbling through his home, trying to get some soda pop before he falls into a diabetic coma. His hallucinating brain sees everything around him -- a bathtub, a staircase, a vicious dog -- as being part of a vast fantasy world, where airpunk planes fly, dwarves are in steampunk submarines, and ruined cities lead into the final battle.

Will Joe and Jack survive -- both in the real world and in the fantasy one -- and what secrets will be revealed to them if they do?

"Joe the Barbarian" is a simple story, and the beauty of it is in the execution. Grant Morrison takes a simple everyday problem, and manages to expand it into an epic quest, in a world as colorful, wild and strange as a kid's imagination. He even throws in a surprising twist near the end, adding a new dimension to Joe's quest for survival.

Also, the artwork is gorgeous.
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By S.G.S TOP 500 REVIEWER on Nov. 8 2011
Format: Hardcover
There's only so much one can say about a book with great writing, art, and characters. This story has it all. While this is from Vertigo it is somewhat of a children's tale { think Neil Gaiman' Coraline or The Graveyard Book}. Which are listed as young adult novels, but have a large degree of adult content.

I never go into plot in my reviews. The listing summary does that for us. I will say this book is fantastic, and touches on many topics familiar with us young and old. Sickness, bullying, loss of family, and financial struggles are the issues that come immediatley to mind. This graphic is so good that I can see this being optioned into a movie. It has everything we come to love with fiction.

This book deserves to be read, and you should give it a try whether you like Grant Morrison or not. This is not you typical Morrison tale.

Sean Murphy's art is supperb. He is quickly becoming a name we will list with some of the greats of this generation. You can also see him pencilling for Scott Snyder's American Vampire Survival of the Fittest.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 27 reviews
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Inner magic Aug. 26 2011
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have to give Grant Morrison credit -- few writers could turn a trip to the refrigerator into an epic fantasy adventure. But somehow he manages to do that in "Joe the Barbarian," deftly blurring the lines of fantasy and reality inside one young boy's head. It reads like a cross between "Alice in Wonderland" and "Lord of the Rings," but with more steampunk.

Joe is at home alone with his pet rat Jack. Joe also happens to be diabetic, and bullies stole his snacks earlier that day. When his blood sugar plummets, he struggles to get down the stairs despite his hallucinations and delusions. In his head, he is the legendary Dying Boy, prophesied to save a strange fantasy world from the evil King Death. Oh, and Jack is a giant talking warrior-rat who comes along to help him.

In the real world, Joe is seriously ill and stumbling through his home, trying to get some soda pop before he falls into a diabetic coma. His hallucinating brain sees everything around him -- a bathtub, a staircase, a vicious dog -- as being part of a vast fantasy world, where airpunk planes fly, dwarves are in steampunk submarines, and ruined cities lead into the final battle.

Will Joe and Jack survive -- both in the real world and in the fantasy one -- and what secrets will be revealed to them if they do?

"Joe the Barbarian" is a simple story, and the beauty of it is in the execution. Grant Morrison takes a simple everyday problem, and manages to expand it into an epic quest, in a world as colorful, wild and strange as a kid's imagination. He even throws in a surprising twist near the end, adding a new dimension to Joe's quest for survival.

Also, the artwork is gorgeous. The real world is dark, shadowy, and filled with torrential rain, while Joe's inner world is exploding with color, strange inventions (steampunk submarines!), and expansive bright skies that seem to go forever.

However, Morrison also gives you the feeling that this world is starting to crumble into chaos because of King Death, and we even get some glimpses of what he's turning it into. And while he inserts some fun comic relief (there's a "giant" dwarf, who is basically normal-sized) and breathtaking action scenes, we never forget that the stakes are very real, and that our hero could easily die.

Joe himself is a solid classic protagonist -- quiet, remote, artistic, and a little embittered by his dad's untimely death. But he also has a lot of courage, as evidenced by his standoff against his enemy. Jack is almost as well-rounded a character, even in the real world -- he's a sweet little rat who obviously loves his owner, worries about him, and even takes on a giant dog to defend him.

"Joe the Barbarian" is a gorgeous piece of work, and Grant Morrison obviously lavished it with care. Beautiful art and a likable young hero... and the most adorable rat you'll ever see.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Holding out for a hero March 25 2012
By Sam Quixote - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This world: Joe Manson is a high school boy, likes drawing, is diabetic, has a pet rat called Jack and no friends, has a single mother working to save their house while his father is buried in a military grave having died fighting overseas.

The other world: Joe the Barbarian is a prophet called "The Dying Boy" who must traverse mountains, castles full of cowardly inventors, submarines full of toilet dwarves, with his companion, a fighting warrior rat called Jack, dodging flying demons, laser gun fights, epic battles, to flood the land with light and the Fountain of Life, and destroy evil King Death.

Grant Morrison writes a hugely inventive story of fantastic proportions, throwing in tropes from every fantasy story ever written of the band of heroes on a quest to destroy evil and save kingdoms of innocents. Joe is diabetic and it seems that his low blood sugar has triggered a vivid hallucination as he struggles to go from his bedroom attic to the kitchen downstairs to drink a soda and keep him from going into hypoglycaemic shock. But anyone who's read Morrison before or knows anything about him, knows that he is a true believer in parallel worlds and that there's more to life than we can see with our eyes. This book mirrors that philosophy as the smallest things in the "real world" are brought to life in the "other world", for example Joe makes himself a bath but forgets to turn off the tap causing the water to pour from the tub into the room and down the stairs, creating a new waterfall across the mountains in the other world.

While there's very little explanation for the who what where and why of the story, and Morrison just plunges the reader from the real world into this fantasy world, I felt that the pure energetic gusto of the storytelling coupled with Sean Murphy's superb artwork made this book an exceptional read for pure creativity alone. The story makes some sense once you read it and realise that it's this boy's way of understanding and coping with his father's death, though Morrison wants the reader to also believe in the fantastic, that it's out there and it's real and it's symbols in this world mean that it exists just beyond our reach - a near death experience can bring us into it, however briefly.

I think that if the reader allows the force of Morrison and Murphy's imaginations wash over themselves, this book will be enjoyable though at times frustratingly melodramatic and incongruous. "Joe the Barbarian" is nothing if not ambitious in its scope and incredibly creative throughout, though not without its flaws.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Fabulous Short Series Nov. 9 2011
By Reena10589 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I accidentally picked up and read issue number two a few months back, I was so intrigued by what I read that when the trade became available I had to own it. The story line is intricate enough that while I am reading to my kids that I am intrigued. I re-read some pages multiple times just to deduce that fine line between 'realities' that the main character has to deal with. The Story line is also easily understood by the kids (their version of it). The graphics are fabulous and provide endless 'eye candy'!

I have even bought extra copies to give out as Christmas gifts. Definitely 5 stars
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Awesome!!! March 3 2014
By JC JIM. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I had heard a lot of good things about this GN, however, I thought that a kid having an episode of hypoglycemia could not make for a good story. Boy was I wrong, this is by far the best Grant Morrison book I've read. He is truly in his element creating a wonderful world as seen by kid who is one step away from death. The characters are very engaging, Joe the titular character is very likable and his supporting cast is just amazing. I really recommend this book to anyone who has ever called him/herself a fan of fantasy films such as the Never Ending Story or The Labyrinth. Buy, read and re-buy to gift to your friends, this book is well worth the price of admission.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The epic story of a boy who can't take care of himself April 16 2012
By Andrew C Wheeler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The cliche is that a book with two independent levels has to work twice as hard, but that's not really true. Instead, like a collaboration -- which any writer can tell you only succeeds when each partner contributes at least 75% of the effort -- that's the bare minimum for even approximating success. To be any good, each level has to be substantially better than a standalone book would be.

JOE THE BARBARIAN is a story set on two levels -- teenager Joe Manson is a diabetic falling into a very comic-book-y state of hypoglycemic shock, while at the same time he's the Dying Boy, adventuring through a secondary-world version of his home [1] and accompanied by versions of his toys and his pet rat. That second level could easily become terribly twee -- much like The Stuff of Legend, another graphic novel in which toys come to life to battle for their owner -- and it's to writer Grant Morrison and artist Sean Murphy's credit that never happens. Joe's fantasy world is specific, well-defined, and maps reasonably well to his real home -- and the fantasy versions of his real stuff is changed enough that it doesn't read as Mopey in Toyland.

And I suppose it would be quibbling to complain that Joe isn't anything at all like a barbarian -- he's civilized, not good at fighting in the least, and looking to save this world rather than crush its jeweled thrones under his sandaled feet. One might grumble that either Morrison doesn't really know what a barbarian is, or that he doesn't care: that there's a deep vein of cynicism underlying JOE THE BARBARIAN, as he brings his show-don't-tell, damn-the-torpedoes superhero writing style to a supposedly more "personal" story that really is just another generic hero tale in very slightly different dress. One could make those complaints, certainly. One could say that JOE THE BARBARIAN is thin and facile compared with Morrison's better works, like the lacerating We3 and the bleakly oblique Seaguy. One could also note that Morrison has been thinking too much about Joseph Campbell, or at least making things much too obvious. One could say all of those things and more.

But most readers will be happy with JOE THE BARBARIAN: it's got another one of those in-over-his-head heroes, who has a very good reason to doubt the evidence of his senses, and who yet goes on to save everything despite all odds, in the way a good comics hero should. And what problems it might have are all to do with Morrison's script; Murphy's designs and pages and panels are crisp and energetic and lovely, in a slightly more battered and weathered version of the standard Big Two look. JOE THE BARBARIAN is, actually, quite good: but it's not nearly as good as some people will try to tell you it is.

[1] Which, as is also traditional in comics, is larger outside than inside. No, seriously -- you can see the outside on p.9, and it's missing an entire floor (or else has a chimney at both ends) of the house as Joe experiences it inside, walking up two flights of stairs to rise one level of windows.

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