This week, on the Major Spoilers Podcast, the team celebrates the holiday by taking a super-sized helping of Jeff Smith’s Bone.

Bone: The Complete Volume

Art and Words by Jeff Smith
The series centers around the Bone cousins, white, bald cartoon caricatures. In the opening pages of Bone: Out from Boneville the three Bone cousins—avaricious Phoncible P. “Phoney” Bone, goofy cigar-smoking Smiley Bone, and everyman character Fone Bone—are run out of their hometown of Boneville after Phoney decides to run for mayor and built a balloon on top the head of a statue of Boneville’s founder. A strong wind made the balloon break the head off of the statue and all the townspeople ran Vincible, Smiley, and Fone out of town. After crossing a desert, the cousins are separated by a sea of locusts and individually ending up in the mysterious Valley and must make their way across the fantasy landscape pursued by rat creatures. They joyously reunite at a local village called Barrelhaven, where they are taken in by a mysterious girl named Thorn and her even more enigmatic grandmother. Fone Bone instantly develops a crush on Thorn when he meets her, and repeatedly attempts to prove his love through poetry. As they stay longer in the valley, they encounter humans and other creatures who are threatened by a dark entity, the Lord of the Locusts. The Bones are quickly drawn into the events around them, compelling them on a hero’s journey to help save the world.

Join in on the discussion by ordering the book here Bone: The Complete Cartoon Epic in One Volume (Vol 1)

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  1. Bone by Jeff Smith is such a huge accomplishment, not just for self-published comics, but for comics in general. In a time when comics from the big two and smaller publishers are heading towards more darker content, it’s great to have a story that is a sprawling and fun adventure story like Bone. The complete collected version is one of the books that got me back into comics, after my interest dried out during the ’90s speculator market (I was one of the many fools who didn’t read Bone in single issues), and I’ve gotten others interested in reading comics and graphic novels after having them read Bone. Its funny because they all look really intimidated when I first give them this giant tome, but without fail they always hand it back to me saying “it went by too fast!” or “I wish there was more!” Well done Jeff Smith, well done.

  2. I will repost my old comments from the forums…

    I think Bone is well done, but somewhat over-rated.

    My opinions are colored by the fact that I was an adult comic buyer when Bone was initially published. I mention this because much of the original hype for the series is due to the era in which it was initially released.

    1) The artwork is exceptionally clean, and very nicely rendered. This immediately makes the work very accessible to more readers because the style is comforting.

    2) The personal narrative of the creator, especially as initially championed by Dave Sim (back when Sim was viewed as a crackpot by *only* about 15% of the comic-reading industry), is a strong story that ends with accolades and wealth.

    3) The early Bone story satisfied some parts of the classic dramatic mantra “make ’em laugh, make ’em cry, make ’em wait”, but never followed through IMO. By the time I was reading what became the 3rd or 4th collection, there was always one-too-many emotional resonances (trying to be) struck that the story became too dull for me.

    I’ll say that I am perfectly happy that my 12-year-old is interested in the story, and I certainly found things in it that I liked.

    The art and accessibility of the story push it to 4 out of 5 stars, but I don’t consider it a masterpiece of the genre.

  3. When I first read this huge book, I was a tad confused. I was sure I had read something of a landmark in comics, but it was so big that I figured I must have missed something…so I read it a second time.

    I will not belittle this book, but I dare say that the story is big, and at times becomes tiresome. I would’ve edited it big time (had I been the editor). It loses itself in lots of details, and even though it manages to come back to the main storyline, it still diverges often and has too many unnecessary details.

    It is a good book, and something of an accomplishment, but to me it reads like Smith wanted to milk the thing for all it was worth…and completely sucks it dry.

    All in all, a solid 4 pieces of meatloaf (if you allow me to use this…), but I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone…only hardcore fans of the comics medium.

    Mokin’s 2 cents…

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