This was a cool fantasy adventure with strange but memorable and somewhat endearing characters and really creepy villains I can t wait to see again The male gaze, though, ugh. I read Bone way back in the early 90s when it was serialized in comic book form, before these gorgeous collections by Scholastic I recently revisited these and found them to have aged incredibly well Like the best narratives for young audiences, the adventures of the three cousins Fone Bone, Smiley Bone, and Phoney Bone resonate with adults as well The only other analogue that comes to mind is some of the work by Pixar Jeff Smith has created a timeless series that I hope to read to my childr I read Bone way back in the early 90s when it was serialized in comic book form, before these gorgeous collections by Scholastic I recently revisited these and found them to have aged incredibly well Like the best narratives for young audiences, the adventures of the three cousins Fone Bone, Smiley Bone, and Phoney Bone resonate with adults as well The only other analogue that comes to mind is some of the work by Pixar Jeff Smith has created a timeless series that I hope to read to my children someday For now I ll make do with forcing it upon all of my friends If you don t believe me, just go to a bookstore and start reading it I bet you ll walk out of there with at least a few volumes under your arm Fone, Phoney, and Smiley Bone are run out of Boneville after Phoney s latest shenanigans Lost in the desert, they become separated and Fone Bone, our protagonist, ends up in The Valley, a human dwelling part of the world, for the winter There he meets a beautiful young woman called Thorn and her kindly cow racing grandmother Ben But danger looms on the horizon as the Lord of Locusts and the rat creature army are massing I first read Jeff Smith s Bone nearly ten years ago in the all in one bla Fone, Phoney, and Smiley Bone are run out of Boneville after Phoney s latest shenanigans Lost in the desert, they become separated and Fone Bone, our protagonist, ends up in The Valley, a human dwelling part of the world, for the winter There he meets a beautiful young woman called Thorn and her kindly cow racing grandmother Ben But danger looms on the horizon as the Lord of Locusts and the rat creature army are massing I first read Jeff Smith s Bone nearly ten years ago in the all in one black and white edition a massive brick of a book at well over 1000 pages Re reading this first chapter in the saga, the obvious difference is Steve Haymaker s colours They re not bad, and I m sure they make the booksappealing for the intended kid s audience, but for me they detract from Smith s razor sharp inks which made the comic look so awesome originally Because I ve read the series straight through before I know it evolves into this grand, sweeping Tolkien esque epic but looking at just this first chapter It s not a great start and a tad boring especially if you re re reading It starts off slapstick y in a Three Stooges Laurel and Hardy way that s not very funny and then goes very Disney esque with the talking woodland animals that s a bit sickening in its overly cutesy style But then it s a kiddie book so maybe younger readers will respondpositively to these aspects I like some of the whimsical moments in the book like when winter comes it arrives in a ginormous white disc that plummets in an instant suddenly and blankets the whole world in snow And I like how evocative Smith makes the Bone characters with their wandering wispy eyebrows it s such a simple design but so effective But some of the characters look derivative like Fone Bone the Bones are weirdly white creatures with no hair who looks almost identical to Caspar the Friendly Ghost The Lord of Locusts looks like Emperor Palpatine and his vast, dark army of rat creatures looks very similar to the orc armies from Lord of the Rings Speaking of the Rings Trilogy, while they look nothing alike, the Great Red Dragon feels a lot like Strider Aragorn in demeanour and role Hilariously, Bone is actually a challenged book which means some people probably Christian moms have tried to get it taken out of libraries The reason There is smoking and drinking in a kid s book That s true though both are shown in only a handful of panels, they re never the focus and neither is done to excess nor are they glamorised or portrayed positively But then some people are just idiots The series is perfectly fine for kids Out from Boneville is a very slow moving book with not a lot happening besides Smith setting up future storylines A lot of first volumes do this but some do itentertainingly than others and unfortunately Bone isn t one of them It s not an encouraging start to new readers but I can assure you if you liked the Lord of Locusts bits, the series becomes almost all about that storyline after the first two books the cutesy stuff and bad comedy drops off very quickly It s a mediocre first volume but the series as a whole is worth sticking with, particularly if you re a fantasy fan I thought this was a cute and fun story There are 3 Bones in this book and I really only like Fone Bone Smiley was ok and I don t like Phoney bone at all Lucky, the other 2 aren t in the story very much.The story really gets going once Fone Bone gets lost and meets a dragon Then he stumbles into some mysterious mountains and meets interesting characters including this huge scary rat creatures There is very little information given to the reader about this new place It is still all a myster I thought this was a cute and fun story There are 3 Bones in this book and I really only like Fone Bone Smiley was ok and I don t like Phoney bone at all Lucky, the other 2 aren t in the story very much.The story really gets going once Fone Bone gets lost and meets a dragon Then he stumbles into some mysterious mountains and meets interesting characters including this huge scary rat creatures There is very little information given to the reader about this new place It is still all a mystery We don t know why the rat creatures want Fone Bone so bad or why there dragon protects him and what this land is and how these people are None of these questions are answered It s all up in the air Still Fone Bone is sweet and I enjoyed the story I looked forward to reading this book and that s a great sign It s over a decade old now, but I can see how it would have been exciting to have a story like this for an age group back in the 90s It is a great story for middle graders and those young at heart 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 desertOne by one, they find their way into a deep, forested valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creaturesHumor, mystery, and adventure are spun together in this action packed, side splitting saga Everyone who has ever left home for the first time only to find that the world outside is strange and overwhelming will love Bone This book was only OK At the beginning I had a hard time keeping the Bones straight Also, I didn t like how vague it was in the beginning about them getting kicked out of Boneville Then, they all got split up somehow and then they all wanted to go back to Boneville I thought this didn t create a strong storyline.However, I started to enjoy the book , around the last 30 pages The characters weredeveloped and I felt like there was actually becoming a plot This book ended on a cl This book was only OK At the beginning I had a hard time keeping the Bones straight Also, I didn t like how vague it was in the beginning about them getting kicked out of Boneville Then, they all got split up somehow and then they all wanted to go back to Boneville I thought this didn t create a strong storyline.However, I started to enjoy the book , around the last 30 pages The characters weredeveloped and I felt like there was actually becoming a plot This book ended on a cliff hanger, but not a strong one.My boyfriend and I are reading this book and the 2nd book for our monthly Couples Book Club read Beautiful aesthetics, a chilling and yet uplifting dark fantasy tale with friendship and adventure, and a tiny hero who readers can all relate to, Bone is one of the best graphic novels I have ever read. People I love think this is a friggin masterpiece, and I love them less for it now.I picked up the first volume of Bone because I d heard it had such amazing comic timing, a great storyline and relatively solid artwork No one mentioned that the dialogue reads as though it were written by a fifth grader, the humor is predictable and the story is so threadbare and uninteresting I began making up my own story for the panels And to say that the artwork is well done is like saying the dreamcatcher People I love think this is a friggin masterpiece, and I love them less for it now.I picked up the first volume of Bone because I d heard it had such amazing comic timing, a great storyline and relatively solid artwork No one mentioned that the dialogue reads as though it were written by a fifth grader, the humor is predictable and the story is so threadbare and uninteresting I began making up my own story for the panels And to say that the artwork is well done is like saying the dreamcatcher hanging from my niece s rearview mirror is well done not inaccurate, but jeezus do I have higher standards for art Ohmygosh Well that was fun I ll definitely be continuing on with the series. Bad morning I wasn t sure I d ever review Jeff Smith s Bone After all, is there much that can be said that hasn t already been said Bone s so long been part of the canon of comics literature such as one exists that reviewing it at this point is like reviewing Watchmen or The Dark Knight Returns or Maus Or for the non comics literate, a bit like if someone penned a review today for Huckleberry Finn I mean, what s the point, really Still, I tell myself, there are those who haven t read theBad morning I wasn t sure I d ever review Jeff Smith s Bone After all, is there much that can be said that hasn t already been said Bone s so long been part of the canon of comics literature such as one exists that reviewing it at this point is like reviewing Watchmen or The Dark Knight Returns or Maus Or for the non comics literate, a bit like if someone penned a review today for Huckleberry Finn I mean, what s the point, really Still, I tell myself, there are those who haven t read the book yet There are those who have read comics for years who haven t read Bone and ought to be ashamed of themselves These are aficionados of the medium who need to be cajoled into reading something that will make them better participants in the medium And there are those still new to the medium who might not be familiar with the canon and might not be aware of Good Places To Start This review is probably mostly for them And for people who might google the question, What s the first graphic novel I should readYou hear that Google Additionally spurring my interest in reviewing the book, I have a daughter She s three and likes me to read to her in the evenings I had read her The Little Prince and Just So Stories when she was two, but I thought she might get a kick out of comics before bed She had previously seen book one of Gene Yang s Avatar The Promise, which she loved because she was already familiar with the show A father can only read so many times about Sokka and Toph getting the oogly booglies from watching Aang and Katara getting frisky before that father just snaps so I needed something fresh Something new Something I could stand to read repetitiously So I pulled down Bone She was almost instantly excited And after she became interested and comfortable with the characters, she was wholly invested Now Smith s characters thoroughly infest her imaginative play She insists that she is Bartleby and her one year old brother is Ted the bug I have become Jackal Bone, some fell hybrid between Phoncible P Bone and, well, your common jackal Though sometimes I am Kingdok and sometimes I am Roque Ja and sometimes I m the Big Red Dragon In any case, she and other kids love this book and rereading it several times to her over the last months has given me new appreciation for Smith s creation.Also, there s the whole colour thing to consider More later Promise First, a bit of historyThere s always time for locustsBone was one of that first crop of creator owned books that constituted a burgeoning movement away from the malaise of the corporation directed folderol of the 80s Smith spent thirteen years from 1991 to 2004 publishing chapters of what would eventually be a 1300 page epic fantasy story I hopped on in somewhere around the year 2000, when Smith was nearly 65% through Waiting each month for the release of a new chapter was tortuous I needed to see the conclusion and I needed to see it now And then, as Smith approached his finale, several months would pass between chapters It was grueling Readers first approaching the book today are blessed with the option of purchasing the entire series in a handy, single volume paperback version.1But rather than just talk about the book, let s start with looking at some of Smith s art Because while, yes, his characters and dialogue and verbal storytelling are wonderful, one of the foremost joys of the book is how he conveys his narrative through artistic choices.This is a simple chase sequence, but it s composed masterfully Fone Bone jumps from a snowbank onto a lower bank and makes a little progress while fleeing furiously from the rat creature who dives into the snow at his heels Excitement In the next panel, we see another rat creature face first in the snow at Bone s heels a second time Hot pursuit Fone Bone comes to an impassable river and waterfall but looks down to find an escape We and he think he s found a respite but are surprised to find rat creatures to bedriven by instinct than by reason While the page ends with some humour, the real punchline is on the next page as the branch fails to support their weight and the three tumble into the falls below The second panel on this page is majestic as we see silouetted the three small figures against a mere portion of the formidable falls If we hadn t taken in the awesome danger Fone Bone is in by panel two, Smith drives it home by completely obscuring the three characters in the tumult of the falls base The volatile energy in that scene is terrific Panel four brings us relief again as Fone Bone breaks the surface with a gasp We know how lucky he was to make it but are almost instantly dismayed in the next panel to see the heads of the rat creatures breaking the surface as well, and the pursuit is begun anew Unfortunately, wet Fone Bone slips on the icy rocks and the tension crescendoes on the final panel of that second page.Here s another one While the prior example was fraught with action, this shows Smith using entirely different techniques to build tension Across these three panels, there is essentially no movement save for Thorn s eyes and from Fone Bone as he struggles then reacts to what he s seen Otherwise, Fone Bone, Granma Ben, and Thorn retain the same position across the panels The source of drama comes from a bright lightning flash in the second panel We and Fone Bone see the scene unveiled for what it is, for what was wholly obscured by the dark and stormy nighttime Fone Bone moves from being annoyed at Granma Ben to startled by the lightning to terror at what he s just seen It s a beautiful scene and the book is full of this stuff Over the years since I first finished the story in 2004 I had remembered the characters and their plot points, but I had forgotten this I had forgotten what a master craftsman Jeff Smith is when he chooses how to visually tell his story Bone employs a lot of dialogue and Smith is not shy about using words Still, he shows over and again that he knows when to shut up and let his art speak for him and his characters Even if Bone was entirely wordless and plotless, it would be worth your time for the art alone.So then, what about words Another thing I had forgotten was just how funny these characters can be even while in the midst of terrible, LOTR level, world collapsing events People are dying left and right and there s a tremendous war on and Smiley Bone is still a silly bastion of joy and laughter And to Smith s credit, that never feels trite or abusive That the book is riddled with funny moments even in the midst of dark doings and ill tidings may be exactly what saves it from being as grim and dour and thematically grey as some of its fantasy genre cousins The reader never feels that lives aren t at stake but simultaneously never feels overwhelmed by that threatIt s true There is As well, Smith populates his story with expressive, unique, and noteworthy characters That my daughter would adopt so many for her waking dreams is impressive and is evidence of the good job Smith does All of the protagonists are well rounded and individuated save perhaps for Smiley Bone, who remains a bastion of zany aloofness throughout Even the supporting characters are given personalities and motivations We spend the most time with Fone Bone and his opposite lead, Thorn, and by story s close we see them grow through the challenges they ve had to overcome They are full fledged fictional beings Smith s villains are worthy as well Though he doesn t so much follow after the footsteps of Miyazaki, making his antagonists sympathetic figures, he does at least make them interesting Bone s story is as full orbed and ranging as its characters What begins as light adventure soon turns to dark mystery And then back to adventure And then to epic journey and battle against cataclysmic evil And all woven throughout with a sense of myth and spirit There are forces at work in Fone Bone s world that are beyond the seeing eye and tap into energies outside the realm of the sciences And I don t mean wizards and dragons Even though those are there too These things work to make Bone s world and mythos feel substantial, solid And it helps that his story is exciting Which you already knew because why else would I describe the wait for new chapters as tortuous At the end of the day, if you haven t read Bone yet, you really ought to If you like comics at all, you owe it to yourself If you like adventure or fantasy, you owe it to yourself If you want to read your kids something a little dangerous and a little exciting and a little funny and quite possibly the best thing your kids will have yet experienced, you owe it to yourself and to them And if you ve already read Bone but it s been a couple years, you owe it to yourselfThorn s such a flirt The Colour EditionSeveral years ago, Smith worked with Scholastic to bring the book to a wider youth audience Part of the marketing was to colour the book As originally published, Bone was a strictly black and white endeavor I m not sure whether having the book in colour was one of Smith s abiding desires or if Scholastic believed they could better sell it to kids if it were in colour but whatever the case, when you go ontoor wherever to order your copy, you ll have a variety of formats to choose from One of those is the colour editionsigh I won t say that Bone in colour is an abomination, but only because I can t really justify that critique because I haven t read the entire thing in colour Because what I did read was awful Or maybe not awful Maybe it was just uninspired But when you lay uninspired on top of majesty, you ve done something terrible This colouring job is that You may not think it s possible to suck the life out of a black and white comic by adding colour but you can You really and truly can.So please, for your sake and for your children s sake buy and read Bone in black and white It s beautiful and stunning and you won t feel embarrassed for the book while reading it.The One Thing I Didn t Like Really at AllSo this is weird and in a way pretty major, but I hated the ending Now is the time for those who haven t read the book to stop reading You already know I adore the book and think you should absolutely read this thing It s canon and it deserves to be so Everything hereafter is SPOILER.Okay, so I was completely and entirely sold on Smith s world until the last chapter The climax and even most of the denouement were stellar and right along with what Smith was doing with his story and characters It all fit Then, in the last pages, we see his principal characters make a decision that kind of goes wholly against who Smith developed them to be I m not sure why he chose that ending for his book In the story in my head, fifteen years earlier when Smith first thought of the story, he came up with an ending Over the intervening years, his narrative grew and new ideas insinuated themselves His characters grew in ways he hadn t originally charted out They became somethingthan what he had proposed to himself in the beginning And over the years he added plot points and dialogues and maybe even new arcs So when he comes to his conclusion, it obviously needs to be different in at least nuance from what he had originally planned And yet, for reasons foreign to my imagination, Smith decided to stick with his original ending, even though it clearly did not fit with the characters he d created and the circumstance they find themselves in That s how it happened in my imaginary version of what went down to make this ending the ending that got published I recall being disappointed when I first read that last chapter seven years ago But whatever my reaction was, in my memory, I was merely annoyed Reading it again now with my daughter, I was actually angry I wasn t angry that these characters made the choices they did I was angry that they did so inexplicably that there was no justification for their final decision It didn t fit with Fone Bone s character arc It didn t fit with Phoney Bone s character motivations It felt entirely foreign to everything Smith had done prior to that moment And that just makes me sad for the project, that perfection could be so easily evaporated in a book s final pages.And now I m sadAnger Foot Notes1 My impatience for the final unveiling of a story is the primary reason I no longer buy single issues of any series and will even push off acquiring the collected volumes until a series wraps If a series is good, I always regret reading it in fits and starts while it waits to complete Bone, Y The Last Man, Cross Game, 20th Century Boys, and Twin Spica.Note within a note The tough thing about my newly acquired methodology is that it s inhibiting to smaller publishers For instance, Twin Spica s publisher Vertical saw such poor sales on the series that even in the month the twelfth and final volume was released, older volumes were out of print with no plans to bring the series back Beyond merely being a shame because it s such a good series, this makes it bad news for those who would wait until a series concludes to begin collecting.Review courtesy of Good Ok Bad