Bone is an independent series of comic books written and illustrated by Jeff Smith. The series had an irregular run as single issues in the 90s and was critically acclaimed. In the early 2000s, the book was colored and the story and dialogue was altered a bit and released in the form of collected editions. The first of which is Volume 1 : Out from Boneville. The book tells the story of 3 Bone cousins, Fone Bone, Smiley Bone and Phoney Bone, who were thrown out of their hometown Boneville because of Phoney Bone after he decides to become the mayor and in doing so, builds a balloon on top of the founding father’s statue and it breaks after a strong gust of wind blows the balloon away. The bones are chased out of town where they get lost in the desert and end up separated because of a swarm of locusts. If that’s not crazy enough, Fone Bone lands up in a mysterious Valley where the Rat Creatures are after them. It just simply keeps getting crazier and funnier with each page.
The characters make an impact the moment you start reading. The art immediately catches the eye and makes you crave for more. Many times while reading the book I noticed that Jeff Smith avoids dialogue completely and instead uses panels to progress the story or to complete a gag. Like at the end of Chapter one when Fone Bone talks about winter coming soon in one panel and the next panel shows a dump of snow about to fall on Fone Bone. These comical and often over the top situations make you smile and make up for a rather slow moving story. That’s what I felt. Not that the story is bad, it is just painfully slow. But then again, I do like a fast paced story. It does pick up in the final 2 chapters of this Volume. I had an instant crush on Thorn when she is introduced. Granma Ben is hilarious with her squinky eyes. The Dragon shows up every now and then. The rat creatures remind me of those Coffee drinking aliens from Men In Black. Jeff Smith’s dialogues are simple. He has scripted a story where not only does he set up comical situations perfectly, he also reveals the mythology of the series in a steady manner.
There are certain books which you pick up out of sheer curiosity. The first book in the Bone Series ‘Out from Boneville’ is one such book for me. I picked it up out of sheer curiosity after reading a tweet about it. Being the lazy bum I am, I bought the book without knowing what it is, or how is it. But I am glad I read it. It truly blew my mind. Jeff Smith has created a true masterpiece. Not only is the story interesting, but the art work is fabulous. I highly recommend this series not only to kids and teens but to everyone who loves reading. Its light, funny and entertaining.