sqreview's Joe the Barbarian: The Deluxe Edition #1 - HC review

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A Modern Fairy Tale Perfected

Many writers and artists try to capture the stories of young people trapped in other worlds but few hit the same chords that stories like Alice in Wonderland did for generations of readers. With the flood of modern and urban fantasy stories hitting the market not only in comics, but also in movies and TV, it's hard to make something original, fresh, and heartwarming all at the same time. Luckily for fans of Grant Morrison, Joe the Barbarian does just that. Not to mention the fact that it's collected in a beautiful hardcover.

Morrison's story of a hypoglycemic young boy on the adventure of his life through his house and through a world entirely in his mind is touching, thrilling, and reminds us all how powerful even a quest for sugar can be when death is knocking at your door. The artwork by Sean Murphy is spectacular. His depictions of a fantasy world paired with living action figures, skeleton warriors, and pipe-dwelling pirates always feels authentic, lively, and full of emotion on every page.

The entire book is relatable to anyone who has ever experienced a high leveled hallucination brought on by fever or illness. It captures that strange state of being in two places at once -- reality and a dream -- and even conveys the mental stress of living in two worlds at once. Morrison and Murphy have depicted this phenomenon in a way that only comic books can, and it proves that you can find adventure in the most unlikely of scenarios.

I'm going to give this series a strong 4.5/5 for gripping me with every issue (or chapter) and for having complex and real characters, even Jack the Warrior Rat. The hardcover collection gets the same score for it's bonus content in the back, beautiful presentation, and slick indented cover underneath the book jacket. This book is a must for fans of Morrison, Murphy, or adventure enthusiasts who want to take back the light from the darkness.

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