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Comic Book / The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius

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Barry gets PISSED.
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The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius is a comic book by Judd Winick, published by Image Comics and Oni Press over the course of three series between 1999 and 2002 (which, incidentally, makes it older than another famous boy genius).

It follows the life of Barry Ween — the world's smartest human, a ten-year-old Gadgeteer Genius who hides his intellect from the rest of the world — and his friend Jeremy Ramirez, a hyperactive and sex-obsessed, but overall rather normal, boy of the same age who's the only one to know Barry's secret.

The series is known for its profanity-rich dialogues and has been described as "Dexter's Laboratory meets South Park"; and it delights in subverting and lampshading many common comic tropes.


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The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adults Are Useless:
    • The only thing Barry's parents do in the comic is fail to notice anything weird in their son (it's implied Barry mind-wipes them when they do, to be fair). Jeremy's parents hardly ever appear, though it's made clear his mom is overprotective and zealously religious.
    • Another sterling example: When Barry and Jeremy's classmates are trapped in a museum with armed thieves, the local police argue with the curator on why the latter has a security system installed when the former can do the job. Then the argument devolves into childish levels with the curator replying that the cops couldn't "catch the clap in a whorehouse" The cop calls the curator a "sissy" and the latter responds with "pig", thus forcing Barry and Jeremy to take matters into their own hands.
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  • Another Dimension: The origin place of Bezeerul, a superintelligent ape with psychic powers. Barry, Jeremy and Sara even get to visit it at the end of the third series.
  • Author Avatar: Sara is very clearly based in whole or in part on Winick's wife Pam Ling.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: The probable explanation to the insane amounts of badassitude Barry harbors. See below.
  • Badass Bookworm: Barry has demonstrated to know enough anatomy to put most opponents out with a single finger. Just imagine what happens whenever he pulls out a weapon (of which he invented a lot). Winick never got around to discussing it in the actual comics, but if you read the single issues' letter columns, he discusses occasionally that part of Barry's super-intelligence is the ability to tap into his body's physical potential via biofeedback and other methods. Thus, when Barry has to, he goes flipping around the landscape like Spider-Man on a crack bender.
  • Berserk Button: "Oh dude. He went and touched Barry." Barry is bad-tempered at the best of times, but do not lay hands on him against his will if you value your appendages. The same goes for anyone who hurts Sara or Jeremy - without a doubt his two closest friends (not to mention Jeremy knows all his secrets). In a later story when a time-displaced, older Sara is killed by a barbarian enemy, Barry goes ballistic and blows a giant hole right through his chest, then threatens to slaughter his ally and his people if they ever pull Barry into their squabbles again.
  • Blessed with Suck: Especially in the latest comics, Barry makes it clear how hard it is not being able to ever stop thinking. The frustration of living The Masquerade is also addressed early in the comic.
    Barry: And I don't sleep.
    • Knowing this makes reading some of the earlier stories more poignant, especially the one after they meet Bigfoot, and Barry is teasing Jeremy about his crush on the (now human-looking and attractive) young female bigfoot. Their back & forth, followed by the mock "fight", is probably one of the only times poor Barry has been able to just totally unwind and act like the kid he really is.
  • Child Prodigy: The title character is a boy genius.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The series started out completely devoted to humor. A late story where he traveled to another world was significantly more serious.
  • Crossover: The obscure story "Ween-Out" has Barry and Jeremy meeting Carrie from Greg Rucka's Whiteout. It was collected in Oni's recent Barry Ween omnibus.
  • Death Ray: One of Barry's inventions is a ray that can kill anything.
  • Dirty Kid: Barry's friend Jeremy tends to be obsessed with seeing girls naked, a fact which Barry lampshades in "How the West Was Weened".
    Barry: It wounds me a little when I show you a new invention and you immediately think with your dick...
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Barry Ween can invent any device or gizmo he needs.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The time Barry accidentally turned Jeremy into a dinosaur. Barry earlier acknowledged that he makes a lot of mistakes during his experiments. Explosions, Body Horror, etc.
  • Heroic BSoD: In the final story when Barry time travels to save Sara's life, prevent a catastrophe and generally Set Right What Once Went Wrong, after he ensures everything is ok, he sneaks off to the kitchen, lays in a fetal position and cries piteously over the massive amount of emotional and physical trauma he experienced.
  • Impossible Task Instantly Accomplished: In a storyline, inhabitants of a parallel universe asks Barry's help to retrieve a MacGuffin from a Temple of Doom that no one has ever survived. They acknowledge it's a desperate task, and they just hope that in the time he can spend in their dimension (two days) Barry will find some clue they can build upon. When they finish talking, they realize with horror that Barry has left for the temple in mid-explanation — and he gets back one minute later, MacGuffin in hand.
  • Improbably High I.Q.: Barry claims to have an IQ of 350 (although he adds "if it could be measured" in one occasion).
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Barry's favorite way of dealing with who discovers his little secret.
  • Mistaken for Masturbating: Inverted. When asked by his parents why he's been in the bathroom so long, he shouts back "I'm masturbating! Go away!!"; while trying to dispose of the results of his latest failed experiment (which stubbornly keeps trying to climb back out of the toilet).
  • Morality Pet: Jeremy often acts as this for Barry, who would otherwise deal with his problems by shooting or blowing them up.
  • The Masquerade: The only one to know of Barry's brain is Jeremy, plus possibly a few others who present no threat. (Old Mr. Goldblatt knows he'd be put in a nursing home as soon as he claimed to have seen Barry and Jeremy chase scurrying dinosaurs.)
  • No Infantile Amnesia: Barry even remembers when he still was inside the uterus! He was already self-aware at the time.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Barry is an expert of any subject known to man, plus some that are still unknown. If you have questions about aliens or Bigfoot, he's your man.
  • Origins Episode: The fourth issue of the Monkey Tales series explains the first meeting between Barry Ween and his friend Jeremy Ramirez.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Averted. Barry alters the world's sociopolitical equilibrium on a daily basis, but nobody knows it's him.
    Barry: Who built a wallet-sized hydrogen bomb yesterday and buoyed Eastern Europe's economy by covertly disrupting a secret trade embargo? Right! Just ME!
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Barry, Jeremy, and Sara all have a tendency to use foul language.
  • Sleep Deprivation Punishment: During a rant about his Blessed with Suck status as a ten year old supergenius, Barry mentions that because his brain is always running at full tilt, he doesn't sleep, and in fact has never been able to. He's clearly found some off-screen way of keeping his body running without it, but he makes it clear that it's hell for him.
  • Super Intelligence: Barry Ween is gifted with a highly advanced intellect.
  • Take That!: The introduction of the story "E.T., Go Home" has Barry mention that he made his first telescope by cannibalizing a video camera and an Atari 2600. He remarks that no one's going to miss the latter.
  • Time Travel: Happens a couple of times by accident. When Barry intentionally builds a time machine, it only has a range of eighteen minutes — although he uses it to transfer himself into his old self, cell by cell, which can be expected to be harder.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Starting with the second series, Jeremy is obsessed with Oreos.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Barry, of course; which makes a particularly strident contrast with Jeremy's scatter-brainedness.


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