In a nutshell:- The three Bone cousins find themselves stuck in a strange valley where red dragons, rat creatures and cow races are the least of their worries. There's an ancient evil re-awakening and war is looming...
The Basics:- Written, drawn and published by Jeff Smith, Bone is single epic fantasy told over the span of 55 issues - at the rate of one issue every two months, it took Smith nearly ten years to tell it. Initially, it appears to be a fairly straightforward funny book about these odd little creatures who get lost in this strange valley and their ensuing misadventures. It's only as you get further into it that you begin to realise it's been following a masterplan right from the start...
Why's It So Good?:- Bone is funny, touching, exciting, scary and heartbreaking - everything a comic-book fantasy epic should be. It has some genuine laugh out loud moments of comedy and Smith artistic style and sense of character design is both distinctive and gorgeous. It falls back to that same old adage - craft a set of characters that people will care about and the rest will follow. Smith has certainly done that here - from the three Bone cousins themselves (the duplicitous and avaricious Foney Bone, the dopily cheerful Smiley Bone and our eponymous hero Fone Bone) through to the cow-racing Granma Rose Ben, her granddaughter Thorn and local tavern owner Lucius right on to the Red Dragon and the Hooded One, all go through character progression and reveal hidden facets to themselves as the series progresses.
Surely Some Of It Must Be Rubbish:- Reading it on a bi-monthly basis made the pacing seem a little slow in some sections of the story. However, once I sat down and re-read as one novel, it zipped along and I rushed through to the end. So, no, not rubbish at all.
So We Should Seek Out This Thing Of Which You Speak?:- This time, I can recommend this one for all the family - not a dirty word or vile act of depravity to be seen. Also, all 55 issues are available in one wrist-breaking omnibus edition which I seem to remember being ridiculously cheap (something like £20 - bargain!).
Tomorrow's title:- Starman