Interview & Top 5 Reasons to Read Barb the Last Berzerker by Dan Abdo & Jason Patterson

I am so excited to be part of the tour for Barb the Last Berzerker by Dan Abdo & Jason Patterson, hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power meets Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man in this side-splitting graphic novel about a young Berzerker who has to rescue her fellow warriors from the evil villain Witch Head before he destroys the world!

Barb the Last Berzerker by Dan Abdo & Jason Patterson
Genre: Middle Grade Graphic Novel
Publishing date: September 28th, 2021

Barb is a Berzerker, one of a group of warriors sworn to protect the land of Bailiwick from the scourge of monsters that plagues it. But the fearsome crew seem to have met their match in the nefarious Witch Head. Using power from his magical sword, he tricked the Zerks and took them captive. Only Barb was able to escape—and she took Witch Head’s Shadow Blade with her.

Now it’s up to Barb to free her fellow warriors so they can stop Witch Head from taking over Bailiwick. On the way, she’ll battle vampire goat fiends, snot goblins, and a giant with serious foot odor issues (but don’t mention that to him—he’s very sensitive about it). Luckily, she’s got her best friend, Porkchop the yeti, to help her.

But the power of the Shadow Blade has a mind of its own, and the deeper Barb gets into her quest, the harder it is to keep the blade’s awesome power under control.

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  1. It’s a wacky, fun, ridiculous farce, filled with weird characters and perfectly nonsensical illustrations
  2. A really fun illustration style
  3. Girl empowerment!
  4. Full of spunk and determination.
  5. The bright, colourful illustrations keep your attention and the storyline shared some nice lessons.

Dan Abdo and Jason Patterson are long-time partners, best friends, and co-creators of the animated comedy series Rocket Monkeys. Their credits also include developing shows for Disney, Sesame Workshop, Fox, and Nickelodeon, not to mention directing lots and lots of animated commercials.

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Hi Dan & Jason! First, thank you so much for doing this interview with me, I’m so honoured! Could you introduce yourself and your book a bit?

Jason: Yes! Hello and thank you for hosting us! It’s so much fun to finally get Barb into readers hands! 

Dan: The honour is all ours!!! Thanks for having us. We are big fans of blogs, curating the internet’s content is a hard job, and we really appreciate it! 

My name is Dan Abdo, and I’m one half of Dan & Jason, the hardest working two-headed ogre in the biz! We are writers and cartoonists and our new graphic novel Barb The Last Berzerker is about to “zerk out” all over your bookshelves!!!

How did you get the idea for Barb the Last Berzerker?

Dan: Barb contains lots of ideas that we’ve been bouncing around for a while. Conflict resolution without violence, power and what you choose to do with it, sausage loving yetis. There’s a lot in there, but I do remember that there was a bit of a lighting strike one day, when Jason and I were eating sandwiches at this little shop in New York. We knew we wanted to play in the fantasy world, we knew we wanted a kick butt super silly hero our kids would be stoked to read about, and we landed on the Berzerker thing!

Jason: Yes, the sandwiches were key, there is definitely a love of food running through the book! Dan and I always carry around sketch books and I remember one of us doodles a tough looking girl with curly hair, and we just thought…woah she looks so tough! Where does she live? What does she do? I think we both just wanted to follow this character on her quest. I think readers are going to have the same experience with Barb. She is just so Rad!

Why did you want to write this story?

Dan: We love comics. Getting lost in a comic book is one of the purest, most fun, most exciting experiences you can have. So we’re striving to make a book that can do that. We wanted to make a book that makes you laugh, makes you feel, and makes you think. We wanted to make something that not only competes with other comics out there, but will also compete with phones and video games and then a never ending barrage of distractions that are screaming at our kids. And honestly, every time I’ve been lucky enough to watch someone read this book, they burn right through it. They start and don’t stop till it’s over, and it’s amazing to behold!

Jason: It’s funny, we started with a 45-page mini comic, but by the end, we had so much more we wanted to write and draw. Then after we finished the first book, which is 250 pages…we just wanted to keep going! Luckily, the awesome folks at Simon and Schuster are so supportive of Barb, they are letting us do three books! It really has been so much fun that it doesn’t really feel like we are writing the story as much as we are just keeping up with Barb! 

What is your favourite scene in the story?

Dan: There are so many scenes in this story that fill me with joy. But one of my absolute favourites is Barb’s battle with Grom the Giant. The whole scene exemplifies the main theme of the book, which is violence isn’t the best way to deal with your problems. Okay, spoilers ahead, so skip this next part if you haven’t read the book yet. Grom is defeated, and he sinks to the bottom of this mud pit. When we originally wrote the story, that’s how the scene ended. Grom was defeated and Barb saved the day. But then we realized Barb would never do that. She’d never let someone drown, even if it was this big jerky bully. So Barb ties up her hair and risks her life to save Grom. At that point we stopped writing for Barb, and Barb was calling the shots on her own.  

Jason: Yeah, that scene was really incredible. It’s never really happened to us before where a character has been like, “Dudes, I got this. Let me save him!” At that point she totally leapt off the page and became a real person. 

Another scene that totally got me was when she met Porkchop for the first time. They are on opposite sides of the conflict in the book, and they also see the world totally differently, Barb wants to protect others and Porkchop steals from people, he only thinks about himself. But they have a connection…they both really don’t like hurting people. Deep down they share that and that’s what leads to their unlikely friendship. It reminds me a bit about how Dan and I connected in High School. We were from totally different social groups, Dan was a skater punk, and I was a full blown nerd, but we both loved to draw comics. It really brought us together. 

What’s your favourite Graphic Novel series?

Dan: I have lots! Right now I’m going nuts over Hilda, holy smokes the colour is breathtaking! Battling Boy, I’m late to the game on Paul Pope but his drawings are so full of life, I can’t get enough. And thanks to the totally brilliant Cartoonist Kayfabe YouTube show, I just dusted off my copy of The Amazing Screw on Head! This just might be a perfect comic. 

Jason: I’m really all over the place when it comes to comics. I loved Paper Girls. The art is so amazing and the story telling feels really personal while also being totally insane and filled with monsters. I also really got into Nimona, the tone is so smart and just the right amount of sadness. Also, I just started reading The Hobbit to my 8-year-old, and I have to say that book is so amazing at building a fantastic world while also staying grounded and real. The dwarves are so funny how all they do is complain and wine. It’s totally me on a camping trip. 

There are a lot of amazing bloggers and bookstagrammers participating on this tour. Click here for the full schedule to see all of these amazing posts.



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