What do you get when you cross Dungeons and Dragons with Monty Python and Lord of the Rings? You get Jonan The Barbarian, a wacky story full of hilarity and hijinks! Written by Abel Alves, this comic is a fast-paced parody with tons of pop culture references that mix together fantasy and modernity. Every page packs something new and exciting, for both the reader and our heroes; whether it’s a new joke, gag, or a complaint about flashbacks.
Our main character is Jonan the barbarian. As his name suggests, he’s a barbarian. He rushes into battle without thinking first. Surprisingly, this doesn’t get him into too much trouble, nor does he see any issue with it; he is getting the job done after all. He’s also accompanied by Shula the monk for a majority of the adventure. Clearly a skilled fighter, taking out baddies left, right and center, she also builds a mean shelter. Seriously, if the exterior is anything to go off of, she’d make an excellent architect.
We follow these two wacky characters on a quest for vengeance. Shula seeks the one who killed her master, and Jonan is looking for the villain who destroyed his daisies. They eventually storm the stronghold of the Dark Lord, and with a lot of special attacks, funny quips, and even a Sailor Moon-style transformation, the duo eventually defeat him. All in all, it’s a straightforward narrative about a hero’s journey and the obstacles that come with it. The humor and pop culture references, while not exactly unique in any way, are refreshing and service the narrative well. There’s a joke for every kind of humor; Simon and Garfunkel references, fourth wall breaks, tense romantic situations between Death and the Dark Lord—you name it!
While Jonan the Barbarian is a fun story, it also moves very quickly. Each panel brings something new, and oftentimes every page brings you to a different location. If you’re a fast reader like I am, then you might have a hard time reading this. In order to appreciate the story, you’ll have to slow down, and it’s not because you’d be missing any tiny details. I had to double back in the first few pages because I didn’t realize that Jonan was more concerned about his squashed daisies than he was about his half-orc buddy! The art style is also not my cup of tea, though I can appreciate how minimalistic it is. Shula’s design had me raising an eyebrow too – it’s very provocative, to say the least. But that’s probably the point, considering this story is essentially one big fantasy parody.
All this aside, one of my favorite parts of this comic is actually the extra content. At the end of the story, there’s a few pages where Death introduces us to the world and its history. We meet the gods of the world, the different realms, how magic is divided between races, and how the five different schools of magic is used by these races. There’s even maps of the land with paths marked out for roads, and a timeline of historical events! It’s a shame it’s not in the main story, but I am happy to see that it is available as extra content. You can tell how much love went into creating this world!
Overall, Jonan The Barbarian is a fun but short read. I appreciate every reference I came across. I recommend this to anyone who appreciates comedy in fantasy settings, and especially if you’re a fan of movies like Spaceballs, Galaxy Quest, Shrek, or any of the Monty Python films!
Jonan the Barbarian is available on Amazon in paperback, and free if you’ve got Kindle Unlimited. Have you read Jonan the Barbarian? What did you think of it if you did? And if you haven’t yet, are you planning on getting it? Let us know in the comments or send us your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter!