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You’re on notice, comics blogaxy!


And I’ve only read 400 pages (in two days!).  It’s 1300 pages long!  Even though I’m less than halfway through, it’s still freakin’ brilliant!  I blame you people.  Oh sure, I saw stuff like “It’s good,” but that’s like Paris Hilton saying “It’s hot.”  No in depth commentary anywhere!

Anyway, once I’m done with it (in another three days or so, because I literally hate putting it down) I’ll have a proper post about it.  Maybe then you’ll no longer be on notice!


People have been saying it’s one of the best series around for the past 15 years.

I picked this up when I finally found a copy and I read it non-stop for two days or so.

I agree that it’s one of the best reads I’ve ever had, but for the life of me I can’t put my finger on why.

I suspect others felt the same way and that’s why there’s been no in-depth commentary. I couldn’t have provided it, so I doubt many others could have either. :)

Oh hush, Michael, let me have my fun. I’ve known that it has been critically adored since it appeared, but I have never read anything ABOUT it, as David (taking time out from kicking for the Eagles to visit our blog!) points out. Usually, it’s just “Bone is excellent” without any qualifiers. It’s one thing to say something is excellent and another to give reasons. I never saw any reasons, which is bizarre.

This was more just to put people on notice. It’s fun!


The reason why nobody told you is that, if we had…everyone would buy it, and we would have public blog fights about Bone continuity.

Plus, it would mean that the fanboys would have dumb debates on who would win if Bone and Wolverine fought with kryptonite lightsabers.

I think there’s so little concrete information on Bone out there because it’s so hard to describe. The best you can do is compare it to the Barks Disney Ducks stuff, and even that isn’t really adequate. Bone is just in a class of its own.

(And also my Platonic ideal of a comic book– I’ve just never gotten as interested in any comic again after Bone ended. All-Star Superman is as close as it gets, and even that isn’t quite as good.)

Why didn’t we tell you? Because we figured it out about 15 years ago. Where the hell were you?

That was a really good use of the Colbert thing!

moose n squirrel

September 7, 2006 at 4:33 pm

I think there’s so little concrete information on Bone out there because it’s so hard to describe.

I usually go with “Pogo meets Lord of the Rings.” Not really enough, but it usually does the trick.

“Pogo meets Lord of the Rings” is pretty good m n’ s. Shame more people don’t know Pogo in this day and age. =/

I’ve always felt a little weird comparing Bone to LotR at all, too… I know Jeff Smith cites it as an influence himself, but the storytelling in Bone just reminds me so much more of the Hobbit. If it’s someone who knows comics at all, I usually use “Unca Scrooge meets Sandman” or something to that effect, since some of the Lord of Locusts sequences strike me as pretty Gaiman-esque. Even that’s not really adequate, though!

I’ve actually had the best luck making converts with Bone out of manga fankids. They don’t mind the black and white art at all and the omnibus always seems like a great way to read it to them. There’s also so many manga that defy description the way Bone does that it’s a bit easier to convince someone to try it based on “You just have to read it! It’s good!”

I’ve been meaning to finish reading the series for almost 5 years now. I’ve read the trades up to the end of The Old Man’s Cave as well as the two spin-offs and loved all of them, but that was back when I was still in High School. Now, I’ve held off trying to restart the series until I get a copy of the one volume edition.

I spent about a year trying to convince my roommate to use the Amazon.com gift certificate he got for his birthday to buy the collection, but he didn’t want to spend more than $10 for a series he had never read before.

Dave – yeah, it’s 40 bucks (or a little less if you can get a discount), but it’s 1300 pages, and it’s very good reading. So not only is it good value, it’s entertaining, as well.

Cory, 15 years ago I was still reading Uncanny X-Men and Amazing Spider-Man religiously. I didn’t even know independent comics existed. That’s where I was. I am lame, I know.

I feel the same way about Usagi Yojimbo which I started reading a few months ago. I heard all this vague and nonspecific praise over the years and then I started picking it up and discovered how awesome it was for myself. Full of interesting Japanese history and folklore, fun action and interesting characters.

I think if you went through the UseNet archives you would see quite a lot of detailed review and discussion, including a TON of thoughful praise, followed by a backlash against volumes 4 (Dragonslayer) and 5 (Rock Jaw) as the series got darker and less humorous.

When the One Volume came out, two things struck me:
1) How could THIS many people not know about this classic series?
2) Boy, it’s hard to review an epic! Because a lot of people praised it very non-specifically (sometimes with the promise of a more detailed review that never arrived).

So, yeah, it was lot easier to review when it was being issued in smaller chunks.

Other things Greg Burgas might not have known and we should tell him:

1) Air is fun to breathe.
2) As far as fluids go, water is pretty good.

I agree – it’s hard to talk Bone without just gushing about its unqualified awesomeness, which may be why people have shied away from it.

Does Bone poop in the woods?

Yes. And it’s awesome.

I find I always have a weird craving for quiche after I finish reading it.

Bought the first 2 volumes about 18 months ago, then sought out the complete Bone book. Have read it 3 times since.

Why is it so good? Is it because Smiley is so gloriously dense and lovable? Is it Phoney’s constant get rich quick schemes?
Is it because it works the way any good epic does, it starts small and keeps gettng larger and larger?

Or is it simply, because it just IS?

The answer to all of these is yes.

Man, I’ve given up trying to reccomend this series. I show up with the one-volume edition, and either a) They’ve allready read it and adore it, or b) they scream “EEEK! WORDS!” and the book gathers dust on a shelf for a month or two before I take it back.

Man, Bone is great. One reason it’s so great is Jeff Smith’s amazing cartooning. I love how the Bones are very simply designed, but everything else around them is so beautifully detailed, from the people to the animals to the landscapes. It’s incredible. And the art keeps getting better as the series goes on. Another reason is the characterization. The three Bones are really well done, and I think that’s another Barks influence besides the art. Phoney really comes across to me as a cross between Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck, with his love of money, crazy schemes, and all-around obnoxiousness. And although they aren’t Barks characters, Fone Bone and Smiley are kind of like Mickey and Goofy. Smith really plays them off each other, too. The way Smiley is always ready to join Phoney in one of his schemes, or how exasperated Fone Bone gets at Phoney are great. But the other characters are very well-realized too. Thorn, Gran’ma Ben, Lucius, and even Ted the Bug (not to mention the Stupid, Stupid Rat Creatures) are all great characters that really LIVE in the world that Smith created. And the overall plot is great, too. I read an interview with Smith where he said he wanted to start it out as a humor book and slowly turn it into an epic fantasy, and that is exactly what he did. The great thing about it is that he keeps the sense of humor throughout the whole story, even when the plot is at its darkest. It’s really an amazing accomplishment, and I can’t recommend it enough. I had read all the volumes through Treasure Hunters (#8 of 9) at the local library, but at that point the final volume hadn’t come out, and it was driving me crazy for a couple years that I hadn’t read the ending. Then the single volume edition came out, and I bought it for my wife for Christmas (she read them at the same time I did; she likes comics, but I have trouble getting her to read them; Bone is one of the few that she has fallen in love with). I still didn’t read the ending, because I wanted to sit down and read the whole thing over again. I finally got around to it earlier this year, and man is it a great book.

There you go Greg. Better late than never for an actual critical consideration, right?

Greg, interestingly enough, the day before you posted this, I put up my Top 25 Under-Read Comics list and Bone makes it into the Top 5 Critically Acclaimed but Still Under-Read section (so does Usagi Yojimbo). I can’t really speak for most people and why so little is said (though I suspect that Yo was right about the fear of gushing bit), but part of the problem is that I can’t really talk about Bone without talking about ALL of it. There’s really so much to say, but anything worth saying really just gives away the end. And I would hate to give away the end.

Thanks for that, Dane. I’m still only about halfway through it (Bartleby just went back to the rat creatures) and I don’t want it spoiled. Perhaps when I finish it I will join the legions of people who say it’s great but don’t say anything else about it!

Very good points, Matt, from what I’ve read so far. A fine job!

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