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Joe the Barbarian
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Joe the Barbarian

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  2,798 ratings  ·  343 reviews
Joe is an imaginative young kid of 11 who happens to suffer from type 1 diabetes. Without supervision and insulin, he can easily slip into a delirious, disassociative state that presages coma and death. One fateful day, his condition causes him to believe he has entered a vivid fantasy world in which he is the lost savior -- a fantastic land based on the layout and content ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 12th 2013 by Vertigo (first published November 8th 2011)
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Colin Parfitt I think it's the fireplace in the lounge - the soldiers are represented by the chess set in the same room.
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Ow. My head hurts.
Reading this reminded me of listening to one of my kids while they make up a story. If you have kids, then you probably know what I mean. Most of it is rambling nonsense, but since it's my kid telling the story, I listen anyway...and usually clap at the end.
I didn't, however, give birth to Grant Morrison.
So, in my opinion, this just sucked. I will not be clapping anytime soon.

I didn't get it, but maybe if you're a huge fan of Morrison...?

Seth T.
Apr 04, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
Joe the Barbarian by Grant Morrison, Sean Murphy, and Dave Stewart

I almost certainly would have enjoyed Joe the Barbarian more had I not already read I Kill Giants . I still probably wouldn't have thought it magnificent, but I definitely would have believed it more original, inventive, and surprising. I would have thought it high-concept instead of regurgitated concept. And I'm pretty sure that it isn't super fair for me to be so governed by the feeling that I had already been there and done that—by having read Joe Kelley's superior story of the overlap betwe
Maria (Big City Bookworm)
Big City Bookworm

3.5 Stars Rated Up

One of my best friends is an avid comic book reader and when she told me that Joe The Barbarian was one of her favourite graphic novels of all time and asked if I wanted to borrow it, of course I jumped at the chance! I trust her opinion quite a lot and as I have been diving into the world of comics, we’ve been able to start recommending them to one another. So far, we’ve done an amazing job of choosing things geared toward one another’s interests.

Joe The Barbarian tells the st
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grant Morrison re-re-invigorated my love of superhero comics in the late 80s/early 90s, building on the momentum forged by Alan Moore and others. The minute Buddy Baker looked out of an issue ANIMAL MAN at me, sitting in some shitty single room flat at Coventry Polytechnic in England, and really *saw* me, I knew I was going to be a fan for life (well that, and realizing that I was on Mr. Nobody's side in his bid for the American Presidency as it ran in DOOM PATROL).

So I got to watch with pride a
James DeSantis
Apr 17, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Okay so maybe I got excited after reading We3. I thought MAYBE I just disliked Grant's DC titles but I'd love his independent work. Right? WRONG.

So joe here is having a issue. Is he dying? Kind of. Well he will if he doesn't take his medicine. Okay cool. OH NO WE HAVE TO GO TO ANOTHER WORLD WITH TALKING MICE and OTHER shit NO one cares about. This whole book is just a huge mess, loud and annoying, as if I was watching a fucked up, drugged up, transformers flick mixed with Mad Max. Just everythi
Daniel Clausen
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've always felt that there weren't enough stories written about troubled children entering magical worlds. Wizard of Oz -- classic. Alice in Wonderland -- also classic. Neverending Story -- great. I'm sure there are more out there that have just temporarily slipped my mind. But it seems that there are so many things that you could do with this type of story.

Luckily my sister turned me onto this colorful and refreshing book. It was just what I needed -- a magical escape from the problems of the
L. McCoy
This book just... what the hell was that?

What’s it about?
There’s this kid named Joe who has type 1 diabetes, he gets super low blood sugar and ends up hallucinating a fantasy story in his head, one that involves a human-sized rat, his toys being real people and all kinds of things like that.

The artwork is really well done throughout.
There’s a lot of great action. Once you get past the fact that it’s not as graphic as you’d expect Vertigo to be (as in don’t expect another Preacher or America
Great artwork and concept, but the actual writing of the story was a bit disjointed - started off great in the early issues, became a little harder to follow in the latter ones. I liked Joe's character well enough, but wish I could've gotten to know the other characters a little better. The story revolves around Joe, a victim of bullying and has Type I diabetes. He's at home one rainy evening when he starts going into shock. This toggles him between the real world and a fantastical realm. He has ...more
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Grant Morrison.

Or, more precisely, I should probably say that I love his work. I love his

This was a good book, but it didn't ring my bell the way his stuff normally does. I'm not saying there was anything wrong with it, but the story felt.... looser than I'm used to.

Part of the problem could also be an issue of expectation. If I walk into something expecting brilliance and get mere excellence instead, I'm going to be disappointed.

Unfortunate and unfair, but true.
Thirteen year-old Joe Manson slips into an insulin coma as a storm causes a power outage in his home. He has to make his way downstairs to find soda and turn the power back on. Simple, right? Unfortunately for Joe, he begins to hallucinate and is torn between two worlds, making his journey downstairs all the more treacherous. It sounded like a relatively simple concept (the getting downstairs part) and for the first half of the book, I went along with the crazy ideas and characters.

It was around
I'm not always a big fan of Grant Morrison's stories (tends towards too many threads that he expects readers to weave together for him) but I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Joe the Barbarian is about a troubled teen who after a particularly bad day starts experiencing hallucinations due to low blood sugar. As a Type 1 diabetic, Joe can get in serious trouble if he doesn't maintain blood sugar levels but after dealing with bullies, he just wants to get lost in his own imagination where things can b
Scott Robins
Jun 09, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gn
Ugh. This would've been a 1-star if Sean Murphy's artwork wasn't so great. I've loved Morrison's work since I was a teenager but this was a rambling, incoherent mess. Pretty much skimmed through the 2nd half of it. Extremely disappointing.
Mar 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joe the Barbarian is one of those stories that make you want to hate on Grant Morrison a little less than you do. That is until you pick up one of his Batman stories than you can pretty much hate on Grant all you want.

Joe is a misunderstood, bullied loner whose imagination is often his only place of refuge. His father has died in the Iraq war and now, with no money, Joe and his mom face losing their home as well. Joe also suffers from Type 1 diabetes and one fateful day, Joe's blood sugar drops
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
I enjoyed the premise and the 1st few chapters and then the ending, but the middle bit got a little fuzzy with the storytelling. I did enjoy the art.
Ugh, kepala saya migraine separuh jalan cerita ini. Sirinya panjang, tetapi editor tak ambil pusing untuk betulkan cerita yang terputus-putus (saya tak tahu penulisnya pun menulis dalam keadaan migraine macam saya agaknya). Lukisannya sahaja tak dapat menyelamatkan idea yang menarik ini.

Ruben (BooksVlogs) Arauz
Me gustó bastante
Sam Quixote
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an enchanting if strange story. The basic premise is as follows. Joe is a diabetic boy who is going through a traumatic time after the death of his father. He is also being bullied at school. He gets home and forgets to take his insulin. What eschews can only be be described “a voyage to trip out city”(to quote Red Dwarf). He must get from his attic bedroom to the basement to turn on the lights,that have tripped during a storm, stopping at the kitchen on the way to get a soda to replenis ...more
Richard Tokebroker
This book reminded me so much of some of the movies I used to watch when I was little. You know how it goes, right? Young person does something dangerous, or is being chased by bullies, and something life threatening leads them to a magic world. In this world the kid learns that there is a darkness growing, and no one knows how to stop it. The Neverending Story (the movie, I still haven't had the privilege of reading the book) comes to mind, and all the clones that followed it. Joe the Barbarian ...more
Dec 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joe is a hypoglycemic 13 year-old whose military father was killed in battle and whose mother is fighting to keep their house. When the class bullies steal his candy, he finds himself hallucinating a world where his pet rat is a warrior and he is some kind of savior. The fun lies in the reader connecting the dots between things in the real world and the fantasy, so I won't say anything more about the plot. Take your time reading it, and appreciate all the little details Sean Murphy has worked in ...more
Fugo Feedback
Jan 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Varios
Recommended to Fugo by: Autores
La arranqué a leer cuando todavía estaba siendo publicada en Estados Unidos y me venía gustando bastante, pero no me enganchó tanto como para seguirla al día (y de hecho la termino varios años después). La idea del pibe-elegido que se mete en un mundo fantástico-onírico y se enfrenta a seres malvados-metáforas de su vida no me disgusta de por sí, pero es cierto -tal como me sugirió un gran historietista- que parece un intento de Morrison de hollywoodearse un rato cual Mark Millar de turno.
La ide
Nick Kives
Dec 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe one of the harder graphic novels I have read to actually truly pin down what was going on. In the end, it really comes down to a boy fighting through a hypoglycemic attack, and ends up hallucinating a whole other world and adventure. Very well done, by Grant Morrison, but don't try to read it all the way through in one sitting. It works better when the jumps between the hallucinated world and real world aren't right next to each other. It is able to build a little more.
Jan 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous art and superb writing, in what felt like a Young Adult Graphic Novel that could have been written by Neil Gaiman.
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome, won't ruin it by giving you a run down of the story. Hell of a good read, Grant Morrison at his best.
Daniel (Attack of the Books!) Burton
I was somewhat underwhelmed with the writing. The art was...derivative. A few good ideas, but the story, writing, and art just didn't work for me.
Sooraya Evans
Jul 08, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This just sucked.
I stopped reading halfway through.
Lateef Amodu
In this graphic novel, a boy named Joe has diabetes, which can cause him to go into a coma if his blood sugar drops. This happens one evening, while alone in his house. In this instance, it sends him into a hallucinatory state, where the real world merges with a fantasy world that he is transports to. This fantasy world contains elements from Joe’s real world that is reimagined into the world. For example, Joe has a pet rat in his house, in the fantasy world it’s a tall, long sword wielding, war ...more
Stephen Case
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s too not often that a book jumps off the shelf and grabs me, even though I always walk by bookshelves slowly enough to give the books plenty of opportunity. This usually happens when my wife and I find ourselves at our local Barnes and Noble. I used to feel I needed to spend time here in the history, science, or philosophy sections, just in case any students happened upon me. Now I gravitate more or less unashamedly to the graphic novels. I get grown-up books through inter-library loan when ...more

Review originally published on my Livejournal account.

Why I Read It: Back in 2009-2010 when I was still buying comics on a regular basis, I had actually bought the first two or three issues of this graphic novel. They were captivating, and I liked them, but I was always fuzzy on the details after not touching on the story for a month. Anyway, I had to drop buying individual issues to save some money and that's how I stopped following this limited-series. Then Shara from Calico Reaction posted th
(Review taken from personal blog at

Joe the Barbarian crosses children’s playtime with an epic fantasy of adult peril and consequences. When the boy Joe Mansion forgets his daily intake of glucose, his empty house becomes a gateway to a rabbit-hole realm that puts Wonderland to shame. His pet rat fights as a warrior, and each hypoglycemic step he takes in his house converts to miles in the land of Hypogea. As his imagination takes hold, casting him into a kingdom fr
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Scottish comic book author Grant Morrison is known for culture-jamming and the constant reinvention of his work. He is known for his nonlinear narratives and countercultural leanings in his runs on titles including DC Comics' Animal Man, Batman, JLA, The Invisibles, Action Comics, All-Star Superman, and Doom Patrol, and Marvel Comics' New X-Men and Fantastic Four. Many of these are controversial, ...more
“All it takes is one wrong turn. And there's always one wrong turn.” 3 likes
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