Thursday, May 05, 2005
Review: Bone #1: Out from Boneville
Image from Powell's Bookstore
I read of Jeff Smith's "Bone" series from my earlier days of reading comics but I never managed to find a copy. Not until now, more than ten years on, under the Scholastic imprint. Was it worth the wait? Yes! Absolutely, yes!
Smith's art is a real pleasure: clean, cartoony, and with just the perfect balance of fantasy and realism, reminiscent of a Disney cartoon that's grown into adolescence. His pacing is near-perfect, with nary a panel wasted. The gags range from giggly funny to laugh-out-loud riots.
Out from Boneville kicks off the adventures of the Bone cousins as it places them in the middle of the desert running away from the irate people of their town. There's Fone Bone, charming and heroic lead character; Phoney Bone, irascible and greedy; and Smiley Bone, amoral and happy-go-lucky.
The three get separated in a locust swarm and individually find their way into a strange valley in the middle of the desert. In the valley, we meet the other characters: the beautiful and childlike Thorn, the tough-as-nails cow-racing Grandma Ben, a stogie-chomping dragon, three opossum brothers, and quiche-loving rat creatures. There's also a Death-like creature that's after Phoney, but his real agenda is yet to be revealed.
There's also the talking leaf. Oh, wait, he's not a leaf. He's a bug.
"Bone #1: Out of Boneville" is the first in a series of nine books reprinting Smith's underground classic. You can bet I'll be waiting for the other nine.
Learn more about the world of Bone from the Boneville site.