Monday, February 15, 2010

Testing the waters: Bone

Closing out my four part "testing the waters" I've reached one of the most widely-praised comics of the 90s: Jeff Smith's Bone (Cartoon Books, 2004).

Bone concerns three cousins - Fone, Phoney & Smiley Bone - recent exiles from Boneville who wander into a valley which propels them into an epic fantasy adventure. Although the Bones are drawn in a cartoonish style similar to Carl Barks or Walt Kelly, the human characters are depicted in a more realistic style, which makes for interesting visuals.

When I was curious about Bone, I flipped through a copy of the complete edition and came across a two-panel sequence that convinced me it was my kind of comic:

But although Bone has plenty of laughs - notably a scene where Phoney was captured which led to a visual that made me laugh so hard I had to stop reading - it takes the epic storyline fairly seriously. The lead antagonist is an impressive visual, with the speech balloons trailing out from her hood like a trail of vapor:

Overall, Bone was engaging fantasy adventure, so much so that its 1300 pages breeze by all too quickly.

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