[images & words is the comic book pick-of-the-week at OL. equal parts review and diatribe, the post highlights the most memorable/infuriating/entertaining book released that wednesday]
Congratulations, Joe the Barbarian! Not only did you beat Jonah Hex and Sweet Tooth in this week’s triple-threat comics cage match, but with your final issue you’ve become one of my all-time favorite limited series. You’ve earned a spot in my Best Of list and, if there’s any damn justice in the world, comics history as well.
So how did you do it, Joe? How did you never tire while running for eight issues over the course of a year? Brandishing a tale of a hallucinating youth in the midst of insulin-shock, you easily could’ve devolved into incoherent drivel. Your parallel narratives (wandering through a house looking for sugar and traversing the most hidden recesses of childhood imagination) could have slugged each other out: DOUBLE KO!!! And yet, with each appearance you became more effective.
So how did you do it? It was, beyond a coffee-stained shadow of a doubt, that intangible, unquantifiable quality for which all art should aspire. It’s that warm little nagging at the forefront of excitement, the pinch on your ass that makes you giddy, that informs the reader/viewer/listener that the artists at work care. Necessarily, this quality defies definition and rears itself only in terms of gut-instinct. But it’s undeniable. Unshakable. Motherfucking unstoppable.
For lack of a better word, let’s call this quality heart.