Daily Archives: August 27, 2008

Bone – Review (guest post)

Guest post by my best friend, local graphic novel enthusiast and my local dealer and source for all things comic book. Here is her great review of a comic book series called Bone by Jeff Smith, which I will probably be borrowing in the near future:

***

One Volume Edition You’ve read the story before. A kingdom, set in medieval times, is taken under siege by monsters who no longer wish to be subordinate to the arrogant human race. The royal family goes into hiding, is betrayed, and the only two surviving members abandon the kingdom in order to seek refuge in a pastoral farm town. A treaty is signed between the humans and monsters, order is restored, and the once powerful kingdom is only a shadow of what it used to be without its royal family inhabiting its walls. Nevertheless, peace reigns throughout the valley again.

Time passes and the two surviving royal family members are living in tranquility on their farm. It is a grandmother, Rose, and her granddaughter, Thorn. The granddaughter, Thorn, was only a baby when the war had broken out, and knows nothing about her royal heritage. She believes they were always pastoral farmers, and her grandmother intends to keep her in the dark for as long as possible, believing it will keep the monsters, or rat creatures, from breaking the treaty and going back into the valley.

Inevitably, something happens to cause disruption once more. Chaos erupts, war happens, characters die, others are redeemed, and order is restored once more. (C’mon, I didn’t just ruin the ending. Order is always restored in these sorts of tales!) So why should you read “Bone” by Jeff Smith? I’ll give you one word — its namesake — the Bones.

Meet cousins Phoncible P. “Phoney” Bone, Smiley Bone, and Fone Bone. They are bone creatures and residents of Boneville. The book starts with the three cousins wandering the desert, two weeks after having been exiled. One of the cousins, Phoney, had incurred the wrath of the entire town after having implemented one of his famous get rich quick schemes that ended terribly wrong (imagine gastrointestinal troubles on a town wide scale). They are drawn and depicted as sweet and childlike as Tolkein’s hobbits are in the “Lord of the Rings,” and even Phoney’s shady business deals are described as being innocent in their selfish intentions. After accidentally splitting up, each cousin individually makes their way to Barrelhaven, the human inhabited town where Rose and Thorn live. This is when the story really starts.Out From Boneville

It is the scenes with these bones, whether with each other, the rat creatures, or the humans, that makes the story attractive to even non-comic book lovers. As we get to know each Bone individually, we find ourselves rooting for Phoney as he implements one of his schemes just so we can see to what humorous means it will ultimately backfire. We then sympathize with the lovelorn Fone who follows Thorn, his unrequited love, and later partner in war. And finally, we smile every time we get to see Smiley interact with his pet baby rat creature, constantly hiding and sheltering him from those who try to kill him simply because of his race. Then, when the war really starts, Smith masterfully has the reader wondering what will become of the innocent spirits of the Bones as they are thrust into ugly times where allegiances are shadier than Phoney’s business schemes and evil doers exists solely to destroy the entire world and sheer existence.

In short, if you’re a fan of the Harry Potter series, Lord of the Rings, or any kingdom like fantasy world, you should read “Bone”. Don’t be a literature snob and turn away from this masterful piece of work just because it is drawn like a children’s comic, or simply because it is drawn. “Bone” stands alongside any great bildungsroman or hero’s journey tale, and will suck you in so much that after the last page is turned you will want to go back to the beginning get lost with the Bones all over again.

** Bone by Jeff Smith is available in a 1 volume, 1332 page, trade paperback by Cartoon Books.

** Winner of several Eisner awards, including, but not limited to, Best Humor Publication (1993, 1994), Best Continuing Series (1994), Best Writer/Artist (1994).

** Winner of several Harvey awards, including, but not limited to, Best Cartoonist (1994-97, 2000, 2003, 2005), Best Graphic Album of Previously Published Work (1994, 2005).

Find this book at your local library

Buy this book at Better World Books

Buy this book from Amazon

Inside the Reader’s Studio

I was tagged by Jen from Devourer of Books for this fun little “getting to know you” meme.

What is your favorite word?

For a while I used to subscribe to Dictionary.com’s word of the day, and they would always send me words that I could never find a way to easily slip into daily use, so most of those words fell into my favorites category, mostly because they are outdated and fun to say.

Brobdiganean is the number one favorite. It means “huge”

Lackadaisical is second runner up.

What is your least favorite word?

I’m not fond of swear words. I don’t use them, and I think that more creative words can be used in their place.

What turns you on (creatively, spiritually or emotionally)?

Being outdoors, whether its a park, hiking in the woods, or being lazy at the beach. Also snuggling up on the couch with a glass of wine with the boyfriend.

What turns you off (creatively, spiritually or emotionally)?

Selfishness, greed. Parents misusing their children’s library cards…

What sound or noise do you love?

My guinea pig wheeking for food. My guinea pig eating food (she chews really loudly, its really cute).

What sound or noise do you hate?

Dogs barking, it always makes me jumpy. I hate car horns, when used inappropriately. I hate it when the latex balloon pops.

What is your favorite curse word?

I use damn a lot. But my friends debate if that is considered a swear word or not.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

I would like to be a professional baker. Open up my own bakery/reading room.

What profession would you not like to do?

Anything involving customer service in a retail store.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Your dad is right over there. Go say hi.  —–>

Now it is your turn!

I’m tagging:

Meghan from Medieval Bookworm

Trish at Trish’s Reading Nook

and MizB at Should be Reading