Friday, September 29, 2017

Bone - Jeff Smith

Summary: An American graphic novel first! The complete 1300 page epic from start to finish in one deluxe trade paperback.

Three modern cartoon cousins get lost in a pre-technological valley, spending a year there making new friends and out-running dangerous enemies. After being run out of Boneville, the three Bone cousins, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone are separated and lost in a vast uncharted desert. One by one they find their way into a deep forested valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures. It will be the longest -- but funniest -- year of their lives. (image and summary from

My Review: I just recently finished reading the nine volume graphic novel series Bone, and it was a seriously fun ride.  This series has everything, humor, fantasy, monsters, heroics, cows and quiche.

The premise itself us utterly strange, but at once so fun and sucks you right in.  It follows the journey of three brothers, weird cartoon characters that resemble bones, as they have been kicked out of their town and are traveling to find somewhere else to live.  You've got Fone Bone, the main protagonist, the relatable everyman who tries to keep things under control; Smiley Bone, the cigar-smoking simpleton who's always up for any adventure; and Phoney Bone, the money obsessed opportunist who doesn't care who he throws under the bus.

The series is a complete saga with a full story arc and finite ending.  It has a fine balance between the darker themes of war and destiny, and light, goofy humor.  The land the Bones stumble upon is filled with intrigue and hidden secrets, along with strange rat creatures, cow races, a particularly awesome old grandma, and a very spooky villain.

The art is just plain amazing.  The sweeping vistas contrasted with simple art of just the characters depending on the panels is well placed, and helps to further the story along.  The characters themselves are well rounded and adequately troubled (or untroubled, in the case of Phoney Bone) by their situations.  Fone Bone is a perfect protagonist, striving so hard to do his best and help his cousins and new crush Thorn, a girl with a strange destiny that unfolds at the perfect pace.

It's a pretty epic story with well written humor and beautiful art, as well as deep questions about the general nature of good and evil, filling this vast, rich world with adventure and fun.  Being a series of graphic novels, they are also pretty quick reads, but well worth it.

My Rating: Four Stars

For the sensitive reader: This is a good series for all ages, though there are some depictions of war and blood, and deaths of characters.  Also some mild swearing.

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