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Book Review: Jeff Smith's Bone: One Volume Edition

by anna battista

Author and illustrator Jeff Smith first created his comic Bone in 1991. The series developed throughout the following years and Smith wrote more than 50 successful installments of the Bone saga. Fans will be happy to know that now this ambitious comic epic is available in a 1344-page volume.

The story of Bone is centered upon cousins Fone Bone, Smiley Bone and Phoney Bone, all of them portrayed as cute creatures by the round features, exiled from their hometown of Boneville due to something that Phoney Bone has committed. While trying to find the way back home, the cousins find themselves trapped in a valley where they meet friends and enemies, and live amazing adventures. The place is populated by humans, talking animals, dragons and rat creatures, and the Bones make friends with Thorn, a pretty farm girl whose parents have died, who lives with her granny, also known in the area as tough Gran'ma Ben. Little by little, the story unravels and the readers discover that Thorn has a secret past which has been preserved by her grandmother. Thornís life changes as her secret is revealed, and as she realises she is the only person who, with the help of the Bones, can save the valley from the Lord of the Locusts who has been gathering armies, including the rat creatures, with plans to take over the world.

The plot of Bone is multi-layered, the adventures thrilling, at times this saga is reminiscent of works such as Tolkienís Lord of the Rings, only itís funnier, but also more heartbreaking.

Smith - the recipient of numerous Harvey and Eisner awards - is a master at creating his characters and at giving them peculiar personalities. All the drawings are in black and white but they express a wide range of emotions; action scenes alternate with quieter scenes portraying landscapes and valleys or with comic scenes - the ones involving the rat creatures and their love for a good quiche are great Ė and this sort of alternation helps giving the narration a pleasant rhythm.

Jeff Smith's Bone is a graphic novel for everyone: the tale is so well-crafted that readers of all ages will definitely fall in love with it, even those readers who donít usually love fantasy.

According to bestselling author Neil Gaiman, Jeff Smith ďcan pace a joke better than almost anyone in comics; his dialogue is delightful - so are all his people, not to mention his animals, his villains, and even his bugs." Smith's magnum opus is simply an excellent graphic novel that has the power to excite, enthral and impress, transporting you to a magical and, at times scary, world. Compelling.}

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