Joe the Barbarian
Joe the barbarian cover.jpg
Cover of Joe the Barbarian #1 (March 2010), art by Sean Murphy.
Publication information
FormatLimited series
Publication dateMarch 2010 – March 2011
No. of issues8
Main character(s)Joe Manson
Creative team
Created byGrant Morrison
Sean Murphy
Written byGrant Morrison
Artist(s)Sean Murphy
Letterer(s)Todd Klein
Colorist(s)Dave Stewart
Editor(s)Karen Berger
Pornsak Pichetshote
Collected editions
Deluxe EditionISBN 1-4012-2971-9

Joe the Barbarian is an eight-issue comic book limited series[1] written by Grant Morrison[2][3] and drawn by Sean Murphy.[4][5] It was published in 2010-2011 by Vertigo Comics.

Morrison has discussed the inspiration behind the series:[2]

I was obsessed with fantasy books when I was a young teenager – Tolkien, Alan Garner, Susan Cooper, Robert E. Howard, Michael Moorcock, Stephen Donaldson…. anything I could get my hands on. I even wrote two big swords-and-sorcery novels back then, but I'd never done a fantasy comic book before and it seemed like an interesting challenge to do a real proper kind of "Lord of Rings", "Alice in Wonderland" all-ages story for today.

The first issue was released in January 2010 (cover dated March 2010).

Plot summary

Joe is a teenage boy with Type 1 diabetes. When his blood sugar drops and he enters a state of hypoglycemia, he begins to hallucinate, and enters a fantasy world populated with his toys and other fantasy characters. Here he becomes embroiled in a war with King Death, while in the real world he searches for a soda to fix his blood sugar. He knows there is one in the kitchen downstairs, but it is extremely far away, made farther by his medical condition affecting his mobility.

Collected editions

The series was collected into a single volume:


The first issue had estimated sales of 25,543, placing it at number 77 in the American comics market sales rankings.[6] The second issue had 17,512 estimated sales and slipped to 97th in the sales lists,[7] after which sales then stabilised with issue three estimated to have sold 17,674 (119 in the rankings)[8] 17,102 for issue #4 (108 in the rankings)[9] 16,725 with #5 (118 in the rankings)[10] and 16,219 with #6 (118 in the rankings).[11]


The comic has been optioned for a film adaptation by Thunder Road Pictures.[12]


  1. ^ Melrose, Kevin (June 2009). "An early glimpse of Morrison and Murphy's Joe the Barbarian". Robot6. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved January 20, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Renaud, Jeffrey (December 22, 2009). "Grant Morrison's "Barbarian"". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved July 26, 2010.
  3. ^ Phillips, Dan (January 20, 2010). "Grant Morrison Discusses Joe the Barbarian". IGN. Retrieved July 26, 2010.
  4. ^ Arrant, Chris (December 15, 2009). "Sean Murphy Plays in Morrison's Toybox in JOE THE BARBARIAN". Newsarama. Retrieved July 26, 2010.
  5. ^ O'Shea, Tim (January 18, 2010). "Talking Comics with Tim: Sean Murphy". Robot 6. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved January 19, 2010.
  6. ^ January 2010 Comic Book Sales Figures, The Comics Chronicle
  7. ^ February 2010 Comic Book Sales Figures, The Comics Chronicle
  8. ^ March 2010 Comic Book Sales Figures, The Comics Chronicle
  9. ^ April 2010 Comic Book Sales Figures, The Comics Chronicle
  10. ^ May 2010 Comic Book Sales Figures, The Comics Chronicle
  11. ^ June 2010 Comic Book Sales Figures, The Comics Chronicle
  12. ^ Collins, Sean T. (July 26, 2010). "EXCLUSIVE: Joe the Barbarian film adaptation in the works". Robot 6. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved July 26, 2010.