I’m obviously a little behind on my comics news – Grant Morrison’s been writing a creator owner Vertigo series that’s been publishing since January.
Morrison: It’s ‘Home Alone meets The Lord of the Rings’. ‘Joe’ is a big fantasy story, but I kind of wanted to reinvent the fantasy genre as we’re familiar with it and do something that felt more believable, modern and convincing to me. I looked at things like Narnia and Lewis Carroll, stories where some kid goes through the mirror or down the staircase into a weird world and although I loved that stuff when I was growing up, and lot of my favorite books and movies were based on that sort of idea – Elidor. The Phantom Tollbooth. Yellow Submarine. Peter Pan. The Wizard of Oz – I kind of wanted to do something that was, to me at least, an original take on that kind of story. What would be the 21st century, post-9/11 version of the quest through the Otherworld?
You know, Alice in Wonderland was written for Victorian kids who swept chimneys or lived in cruel orphanages! I wanted to write a book for and about kids today, incorporating all the feelings of loss, and the heavy, traumatic atmosphere of a culture in the midst of a distant war. In Joe the Barbarian the fantasy kingdom has fallen to darkness and Death and all its great heroes have been killed or otherwise neutralized. Can a diabetic boy and his ragtag gang of warrior rats, giant dwarves and ADD inventors save a world where Death has been crowned King?
That’s the big answer, but it’s really this wild fantasy story about a kid who’s dying, and he has twenty minutes to get downstairs and save his own life. And in that twenty minutes, he experiences an entire fantasy epic adventure based around the contents of his house.