Thursday, January 20, 2005

Bone: Out From Boneville
Jeff Smith
GRAPHIX, $9.99, 144 pages, Full Color

I'd never read the Bone series before, I never had anything personal against it but its press just didn't attract my interest. Yet I was given the first volume by a friend who bought it at Wal-Mart, so I decided to give it a look.

The series follows Fone Bone, and his two cousins, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone, who have been kicked out of their homeland of Boneville. The book starts with them having narrowly escaped a mob, only to become separated from each other when attacked by a swarm of locusts.

Fone Bone wanders heroically through this strange new land in search of his cousins. Where he makes new friends in a talking bug, three weasel children and a cute young woman named Thorn who lives with her cow racing grandmother on a farm.

There are also dangers there, as he encounters a race of rat creatures who attempt to eat him. Yet the creatures are very stupid, and through wit and the help of a dragon he is able to escape them and eventually meet up with his cousins.

This volume is mostly about introducing the characters to readers, along with a few mysteries, with nothing really being resolved. I hope in later volumes that the characters become a little more than the one note they are here. Fone Bone is the heroic do gooder, who always does his chores and helps those in need. Phoney is greedy and self centered, Smiley is the careless free spirit and Rose is well pretty and kind.

It all has a real old Saturday morning cartoon feel to its story structure and style. In that there is a lightness both in tone and in the attention to detail. That keeps the dangers from being too dark, but also kept me from becoming too involved with the story.

There is a complete volume of the series available in b&w and at a better price than all 9 volumes of the series will be. Yet I really enjoyed the coloring on this book that gave the world a bit of a brighter feel to it. Which given its cartoonish nature of tone and art style helps give the book a bit more impact.

Given that I'm not really blown away so far I haven't decided whether to give volume 2 a try or not. I can see why this gained the popularity it did with its clear art, and story and characters that are easy to grasp. Yet it just doesn't hit my buttons enough, and it seems to be heading in an even more fantasy (I don't care for fantasy stories) oriented direction in future volumes. Leaving me doubtful of picking up more.

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