I’d heard for years about how good Jeff Smith‘s comic Bone is. I always passed on it though. For one thing, I was kinda suspicious of the name, another thing was the artwork always seemed a little too Disney and cartoon-y for my taste. Sometime last fall I found myself in the downtown SLC library, I did a quick walk-through the comic section, came across the 1200+ page collection of Bone, and decided I’d check it out. What the hell… So glad I did, the story and artwork are amazing.
Bone started as a black and white comic, and was self published from June 1991 to June 2004. The story starts with three cousins, Phoney Bone, Smiley Bone, and Fone Bone having just been run out of their hometown, Boneville, because of some scam that Phoney had pulled. While crossing the great desert, they become separated, but each eventually makes their way to the mysterious valley. They are reunited in the town of Barrelhaven, make some new friends in a girl named Thorn and her grandmother, and battle an army of Rat Creatures. Then the story really gets moving… I’ve heard it compared to the Lord of the Rings and, although I wouldn’t make that comparison myself, it is an exceptional (and funny!) fantasy. The comic has gone on to be colored, is now being redistributed by Scholastic, and is even available in the digital format. Pick it up!
I was very interested in reading more of Smith’s work, so I got some of the RASL collections and, hot damn… I like it even better. RASL is an art thief who jumps into different dimensions, stealing their masterpieces in order to fund his scientific research, while being pursued by the government. It is definitely more sci-fi, more adult, and the artwork is a lot more detailed, although it is still drawn in simple black and white.
I’d write up a little bio about Jeff Smith, but he did a better job than I ever could. Check it out: boneville.com