Friday, June 09, 2006

Bone by Jeff Smith

Bone is the Eisner and Harvey Award winning children's fantasy comic by Jeff Smith. In 2004, Smith collected all of the 55 issues of the serialized comic into a single omnibus edition, a format that has proven ideal for telling the epic adventures of the Bone cousins.

The tale begins with Fone Bone and his cousins Smiley and Phoney wandering aimlessly due to being kicked out of Boneville. They are soon separated by a plague of locusts, and Fone Bone finds himself in a not-so-peaceful valley on the eve of winter. (Winter comes fast in the Valley.) He meets a mysterious red dragon, a bug named Ted, and two numskulled rat creatures who are very interested in eating him. (Smith has the rat creatures act much like the trolls in The Hobbit, Bone is able to escape while they decide just how to cook him.)

After a long winter without his cousins, Fone Bone meets the beautiful young lady Thorn, and is brought back to her home to meet Thorn's Grandma Ben. With the help of Thorn and Grandma Ben, Fone Bone is able to locate his cousins, just in time for the Great Cow Race.

As the tale progresses, we realize that this is not just another children's comic book. Before long, we are thrust into an epic fantasy worthy of Tolkien. Thorn is not what she seems, and neither are the Bone's. The lines between good and evil are blurred in a manner not often rendered in children's fantasy. There are grandiose battles and perilous sorcery, we are taken to dragon graveyards, ancient castles, and mythic ruins, all the while providing humor to lighten the depth of the story. Smith has done a wonderful job in creating a fantasy for people of all ages, and in Bone, has created one of the better comics in the history of the medium.


Collector's Notes:

The winner of nine Eisner Awards and nine Harvey Awards, Bone is among the most critically acclaimed comics of all time. The single issues have various values, but the first printing of the first issue can command $200.

At $40 (or less) for the complete edition, you get an incredible value, and a book that belongs on the shelves of fantasy fans of any age. Certainly a great gift to give to children who are looking for something after they're done with the Harry Potter books.

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