Joe the Barbarian 3 (May 2010)

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So is the kid supposed to be a diabetic? Is that why he keeps talking about needing a soda? I can’t remember if Morrison even established that condition in the first issue. He might may and I missed it because I was too busy paying attention to the rest of the cast.

That cast who, it turns out, are absolutely useless to the comic.

This issue resembles the Aardman movie Flushed Away a lot. Good to see Morrison watches some movies for inspiration.

Joe the Barbarian has hit a nice point where each issue can only get better because Morrison’s already bottomed out the concept. Either the kid’s nuts or he’s not and there will be an intergalactic war. Neither one would make the comic any better or worse.

Again, Murphy wins—as Morrison goes further down the drain, the most exotic fantasy, steam-punk material for Murphy to illustrate.

CREDITS

The Dying Boy; writer, Grant Morrison; artist, Sean Murphy; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Pornsak Pichetshote and Karen Berger; publisher, Vertigo.

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Joe the Barbarian 2 (April 2010)

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So Grant Morrison doesn’t have an editor and Vertigo will publish anything he gives them.

Good to know.

This issue of Joe the Barbarian is both better and worse than the previous one.

Ryan Murphy’s artwork is definitely better, if only because he’s got all these fantastic elements to illustrate. Joe—the protagonist—is hanging out with a jumbo version of his pet rat, who he’s freed from his cage, both in reality and in his delusion. Giant rats are, being rats, cute. So the issue has that cheap element going for it.

However, it has zero story going for it.

Morrison’s big epical storyline this issue is getting the kid to the bathroom to puke (he thinks his head is in a waterfall). The series’s goal is apparently to get the kid downstairs.

I think Morrison wants to get the series optioned by Pixar.

I’ll keep reading to ridicule.

CREDITS

Cloud Quay to Feather Forest Falls; writer, Grant Morrison; artist, Sean Murphy; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Pornsak Pichetshote and Karen Berger; publisher, Vertigo.

Hellraiser 1 (March 2011)

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Okay, the comic is at least a sequel to the first and second movies. I’ve seen some of the other ones, but I can’t remember what happens in them. What’s going on here (if I understand correctly… Barker and Monfette’s attempts at giving the cenobites—if you don’t already know, don’t ask—formal speech is somewhat painful) is Pinhead wants to be human again so he’s going on a question. Juxtaposed is the girl from the first two movies who apparently has gotten a lot better since then (she’s now an artist, painting Pinheads and getting engaged).

Manco does a good job with almost everything… except Pinhead. Manco’s approach is so finished, so photo-referenced, it looks like they’re adding a still to the panels and he’s drawing around it. But the rest of the visuals are strong.

While better than I thought it would be, I wasn’t expecting much.

CREDITS

Pursuit of the Flesh, Part One; writers, Clive Barker and Chris Monfette; artist, Leonardo Manco; colorist, Charlie Kirchoff; letterer, Travis Lanham; editor, Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Hellraiser 0 (March 2011)

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Now… I know I’m not the target audience (though I do love Leonardo Manco from some of his nineties work), but even so… I wish Boom! had gotten someone better than Christopher Monfette to clean up Clive Barker’s dialogue.

It’s unclear how Barker and Monfette split the duties, but something about the lame dialogue makes me think Barker’s got some kind of a hand in it.

Again, I’m not the Barker audience. I like good writers.

Boom! has done something interesting with the zero issue—it’s a freely available PDF (you can download it here if interested). I’m pretty sure it’s the highest profile “digital only” release to date and it’s nice Boom! released it in an open format.

Though Manco’s art probably looks even better on the printed page.

It’s free and he nearly makes it worth a look. Or if you just want to snicker at the dialogue.

CREDITS

At the Tolling of the Bell; writers, Clive Barker and Chris Monfette; artist, Leonardo Manco; colorist, Juan Manuel Tumburús; letterer, Johnny Lowe; editor, Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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