- "I'm great-great-great-grandfather to the present king and I'm here on a very secret mission! So don't tell anyone that I'm here!"
- —"King Joe" to Simba
"King Joe" is a mysterious rogue who makes his first and only appearance in A False Ancestor.
- "I'm so hungry I could eat a whole elephant, to begin with! I haven't eaten anything for days!"
- —"King Joe" about his physical condition
Life as a rogue has affected Joe's physical demeanor in many ways. For one, he is very disheveled and scruffy, particularly in regions such as his chin, elbow joints, and base of the tail. For another, his skinniness and lack of physical prowess are very apparent in the way his ribs can be clearly seen through his chest fur.
As far as coloring goes, Joe's main pelt is golden-brown, while his chest, muzzle, and paws are all sandy in color. His mane and tail-tip, both of which are quite scraggly, are russet-red, and his eyes are golden-brown. In addition, he has two unusual features, one of which is a freckled muzzle. The other can be seen in the distinctive way his frontward mane hairs curl. While the rest of his mane is somewhat slicked back, the two pieces of hair on his forehead curl forward in a meticulously deliberate way.
- "And believe me, kid, you have never seen a battle like that one! I am the bravest of all your ancestors!"
- —"King Joe" to Simba
Reclusive and solitary by nature, Joe is a wanderer. His personal history remains a mystery throughout the comic, though it's heavily implied that his family is deceased. Such presumptions are supported by the fact that he has a natural instinct to be alone, except when the prospect of food is brought up, in which he will respond vigorously. However, despite this mild misery which comes from living alone, he remains thoroughly positive about his predicament, as he is enlightened by the sight of a prosperous land.
On the other hand, even though he is reclusive by nature, he has an overall friendly personality and doesn't seem to render any aggressive instincts, as would be expected of a rogue. His moral standards seem to be a bit low, however, as he takes no shame in lying to Simba in exchange for food. His hunger serves as a method of persuading him to do, essentially, anything, and often overlaps his good judgment.
Despite this, it's obvious by the end of the comic that he has a good heart, due to his heroic efforts in rescuing Simba from a crocodile. In addition, he has a certain degree of bravery to risk his own life in exchange for that of a cub he barely knows. It can be presumed that he formed a minor bond with Simba over the time they got to know each other and even felt guilty about lying to him. In the end, he owed the cub for all of the food he provided.
- "And there I was! Alone and abandoned! Me, King Joe, against a thousand hyenas!"
- —"King Joe" tells Simba one of his made-up stories
The personal history of Joe remains a mystery throughout the comic, though it's heavily implied that his family is deceased. He first appears as a nameless rogue who has wandered into the Pride Lands in search of food.
- "My great-great-great-great-grandfather saved me! But he had to go, so you just missed him..."
- —Simba to Mufasa about "King Joe"
At the start of the comic, Joe is a nameless rogue who has wandered into the Pride Lands in search of food. Decrepit and starving, he laments his current circumstances, of which he hasn't eaten in days and has no family to take care of him. Enlightened by the prosperous kingdom of the Pride Lands, however, the rogue is soon convinced that he will be able to find a good way of feeding himself in such a lush new world.
As he's continuing to take in his surroundings and planning what to do next, a small meteor suddenly crashes down right on top of him. Simba, the prince of the Pride Lands, happens to see the crash and immediately rushes over to see what has happened. As he approaches the crater, he is just in time to see Joe climb out of the hole, muttering to himself about food. The cub excitedly comes to the conclusion that Joe is a star (or a great king of the past) who has fallen from the sky and then proceeds to welcome the rogue to earth.
As Simba bows low to the ground, Joe realizes that the cub thinks he's some sort of king. The uneasy rogue tries to slink away, but Simba protests and asks Joe if he can at least stay and have some lunch. The older lion's yearning for food stops him dead in his tracks, and Simba quickly offers to fetch him something to eat.
When the young cub returns with a hunk of meat, Joe immediately plunges into the meal and begins to make up a story about his false reign as king, hoping that more food will come his way with each story he tells. Simba is oblivious to this, however, and amazed at the things Joe has to say. He asks Joe his name, and Joe tells the cub that he's his great-great-grandfather, here on a very secret mission. He then warns the cub not to tell anyone about his visit to the Pride Lands. Simba asks if he can at least tell his father, but Joe exclaims, "Especially not your dad!"
A few days after the incident, Mufasa becomes suspicious of his son, for Simba has been distant the last couple of days. He sends Zazu to see where Simba has been lately. The hornbill soon spots Simba with Joe, who is telling another one of his made-up stories about being king. Joe brags about the great battles he's been in and claims that he is the bravest of all Simba's ancestors. Zazu soon figures out that Joe is lying and promptly goes back to report to Mufasa. At first, Mufasa is outraged and wants to drive Joe out for good, but Zazu advises against this, as Simba would see it as Mufasa driving out an ancient ancestor. He tells Mufasa that it would be best if Simba figured things out on his own.
Meanwhile, two strange birds come to visit Joe. The pair ask him if he's an ancient king who has fallen from the stars, and Simba confirms this. Pleased, the two claim to know all about the great kings of the past. After examining Joe, they come to the conclusion that he is the king who discovered the Elephant Graveyard and ruled during the time of the hyena invasion. The birds begin to pester Joe with questions, and the uncertain rogue is unable to answer them correctly.
Afraid that Simba will find out he's a fake, Joe starts to slink away, but the cub runs after him and begs him to stay. Joe insists that he must go and then leaps across a river in order to lose the cub. As Simba follows him across the stream, he is suddenly trapped by a vicious crocodile! Zazu, who happened to be flying overhead, rushes to get Mufasa, but when he returns with Mufasa at his side, Simba is standing on the bank of the river, smiling. The cub claims that his "great ancestor" had saved him from the crocodile before leaving the Pride Lands and then proceeds to tell his father all of Joe's stories. Even though Joe is a hero for saving Simba, he is never seen or heard from again.
- Though his name translates to "King Joe" in the Norwegian version of A False Ancestor, in the German version of the comic, Joe calls himself "Konig Gutus Kampfus." "Konig" means "King" in German, but though "Gutus Kapfus" has no meaning in German, it is similar to "Guter Kampfer," which means "Good Fighter."
- "You must be one of the Great Kings! How awesome! Welcome to earth, your Majesty!"
- —Simba to "King Joe"
- Joe: "Well, it was nice to meet you, but now...I've gotta go!"
Simba: "Wait! Can't you just stay and have some lunch?"
Joe: "You said lunch? Like in...food?"
- —"King Joe" and Simba