Computers and Barbarians

Well, the new computer is up and running. I spent most of the last two evenings downloading programs, uploading my old programs and documents (and not done yet — found another few last night that I still need to extract from the old backup drive), downloading and installing driver updates, etc., etc. I got “City of Heroes” working, but haven’t really had time to play it yet. I downloaded “Old, Blackened Century,” a new album from a metal band called Flaming Tusk — a brief, abbreviated listen-through has me declaring it great, but I won’t have time to sit down and focus on it ’til Saturday. The apartment is littered with empty boxes, receipts, computer disks — and it looks like the dumpster is already overflowing with other people’s garbage.

In other words: Wah, wah, wah, I have a new computer!

I think I can get a review done, so let’s hit it.

Joe the Barbarian #1

Okay, it’s a new comic from super-writer Grant Morrison. It’s published by Vertigo, and Morrison has published a lot of good comics through Vertigo — “The Invisibles,” “Animal Man,” “We3,” and “Doom Patrol,” just for starters. And it’s just one freakin’ dollar!

So we got this kid, Joe. He’s diabetic, his mom’s worried about him, he’s pissed off at his late father, and he’s picked on by almost everyone. He comes home one day, climbs up into his seriously awesome attic bedroom, takes a nap, and when he wakes up, starts hallucinating a whole different world, where his toys and action figures are the inhabitants of a dying fantasy world. He comes to, and realizes it’s been hours since he ate anything. He needs his insulin bad or he’s going to die. Can he make it clear across his house, hallucinating all the way, to get his medicine in time? Or is there something much bigger going on?

Verdict: I’ll give it a thumbs up. It’s definitely not your standard Grant Morrison comic. It starts out slow — heck, it moves glacially slow nearly all the way through. Some folks are already complaining about how slow it moves, but it’s fine with me. If it was anyone other than Morrison, we’d expect that there would be some slow build-up, some time taken to establish character and setting — for Morrison, we tend to expect some explosions and head-tripping straight out of the gate. So I didn’t mind the slow pace. If I’ve got a quibble, it’s that Morrison is a bit too subtle about Joe’s diabetes — I had to read the comic twice before I realized why Joe’s mom kept admonishing him to eat candy and before I recognized the blood-sugar meter next to Joe’s bed. If you don’t realize that he’s diabetic, you won’t understand why he’s hallucinating, or why he’s so worried about it.

And it’s a buck! One little George Washington dollah! Can’t beat that with a stick!

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