Friday, December 13, 2013


book review

Comic book series: Bone
Writer and artist: Jeff Smith

A few pages into the first volume of the Bone series, a character comes across some comic books and comments that she has never seen one before. “You haven’t?” her companion replies. “You must’ve had a deprived childhood”. If by those standards your childhood has also been deprived, then now would be a good time to rectify this dearth of graphic novels in your life by seeking out some of the best works in this medium. And you couldn’t really ask for a better introduction to the world of comics than Jeff Smith’s high fantasy series Bone.

Divided into nine volumes that were originally drawn and released in black and white (1995 to 2004) and then reissued in colour (2005 to 2009), the series, which is also available as a one volume edition, follows the adventures of the Bone cousins – the money-obsessed Phoncible P. “Phoney” Bone, goofy Smiley Bone, and responsible Fone Bone. After being run out of their hometown of Boneville, the Bones wander across a desert where they are chased by (stupid, stupid) rat creatures, eventually making their way to a mysterious valley where they meet a young girl named Thorn and her grandmother Rose Ben. Little do they know that an epic conflict is brewing; an ancient war is about to reignite and it will soon have them all struggling for survival as dark forces threaten the world.

The yarn gets off to a humorous start and captivates the reader right from the get go before turning into a more complex and thrilling tale that gets darker as it progresses. It never really loses its sense of humour though, and always finds the right balance between comedy and fantasy.

Drawn with skill, written with zeal, and clearly put together with a lot of passion, Bone is as masterful an example of storytelling as you’re likely to find. One of the best fantasy tales in this or any format, this award-winning series is an impressive blend of excellent artwork, effective writing, engaging characters, a riveting story, unexpected plot twists, remarkable depth, and meticulous attention to detail. And that’s why it has so quickly turned into such an endearing classic and become a testament to Jeff Smith’s remarkable talent.

It’s The Lord of the Rings of comic books (a comparison that is apt on many levels as you will discover when you read it), and deserves to be more popular than many of the fantasy series that have taken mainstream traction. And it’s practically begging for a big (or small) screen adaptation (although seeing Hollywood’s track record, perhaps it’s a good thing that there hasn’t been one yet).

All in all, Jeff Smith’s magnum opus is a whimsical and exciting combination of fantasy, action, and adventure, and a riveting tale of perseverance. If you are one of those who haven’t read this 1300 page epic yet, then grab a copy immediately. It doesn’t matter if you like comics or not, and you don’t necessarily have to be a fantasy buff to enjoy this novel. And it wouldn’t be a bad idea to suggest it to youngsters (or even grown ups for that matter) who aren’t into reading. You have a variety of formats to choose from, and no reason to not at least give it a try. This fun filled, action packed adventure graphic novel is very impressive and waiting to take you on an exciting journey.

- S.A.

Us Magazine, The News - 13th December, 2013 *

No comments: