Bone
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Bone (Bone #1-9)

4.4 of 5 stars 4.40  ·  rating details  ·  20,402 ratings  ·  964 reviews
An American graphic novel first! The complete 1300 page epic from start to finish in one deluxe trade paperback.

Three modern cartoon cousins get lost in a pre-technological valley, spending a year there making new friends and out-running dangerous enemies. Their many adventures include crossing the local people in The Great Cow Race, and meeting a giant mountain lion calle...more
Paperback, 1341 pages
Published November 1st 2010 by Cartoon Books (first published January 1st 1991)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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oriana
Book #7 for Jugs & Capes!
read a cleaner version of this review on CCLaP!

pre-read: I ordered this online and it arrived today -- not in a padded envelope, as is customary, but in a big-ass box. I should have understood then, but not until I sliced the box open did I realize just how massive this thing is. Good grief! I read on the subway, for heaven's sake; I need my reading to be portable! So obviously I took a steak knife and some old Vice magazine covers and DIY'd it into three somewhat m...more
John
A friend gave the Bone single volume collection to me a gift one year. I wasn't familiar with the series prior to that but had just finished a semester of graduate english lit courses that focused on cultural studies and serial fiction. Bone is Lord of the Rings meets Dickens. I loved it. The beginning pages hooked me with humor, the middle turned into serious plot with social commentary, then wrapped everything up but was a little too ladden with explanations, I thought, of the authors vision a...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
I thought, okay, weird little guys with big noses, lost in the woods, this is going to be goofy humor with throw-away gags. (And what ARE these guys, anyways? I never did figure that one out - there's a whole other story waiting to be told about that.)
And then, it turned into an epic! With kingdoms, royalty in exile, and battles, and life and death danger stuff! AWESOME!
I liked this better than the Lord of the Rings. Shhh. Don't tell the Tolkienites.
Bruce
Oct 14, 2008 Bruce rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ABSOLUTELY EVERYBODY
4 1/2 stars. This is my final review of this fantastic (and meticulously detailed, cartoon-meets-realist) fantasy epic. Now that I've completed it, I had to dock one-half star for a (to me) incomprehensible ending. I'll save my discussion of that to the end though, so that I can lead with the rave.

Bleach the colors from Walt Kelly's Pogo (with Al Gator as Smiley Bone, Pogo as Fone Bone, and Pork Pine as Phoncible ('Sponsible?) P. "Phoney" Bone) and shove them into Elfquest via Australian aborigi...more
Chris
Aug 07, 2011 Chris rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Pratchett readers
Once upon a time, the Marx brothers went to a magical kingdom and met a old woman who races cows and stupid, stupid rat creatures who have idenity problems involing the eating of quiche.

It's funny how we change and yet, somehow, stay the same. I've read comics (or graphic novels) at three points in my life so far. In each of these points, it's been a slightly different style. When I was a preteen, my local store sold mainly DC and so I read those. But it was mainly non-mainstream - Rocket Raccoo...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this review, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

It was through CCLaP critic Oriana Leckert's write-up for her Jugs & Capes essay series last year (book version finally coming next week!) that first brought Jeff Smith's epic comic Bone to my attention, plus of course the fevered recommendations I'd sometimes hear from the edges of the comics-loving...more
Keely
Smith's evocative and energetic drawings tell an enthusiastic and deeply-felt mini-epic. His simple chiaroscuro backgrounds create a fantastical but very real world. His strange cartoons mix with caricatures of realism to produce an easy-to-understand psychological reality.

However his very strong characterization sometimes falls prey to simple archetype, which weakens the story and the suspension of disbelief. Otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable, funny, endearing, and exciting read.

My Suggested R...more
Peter
Three cousins - the Bones - are run out of Boneville and get lost in the desert. They wind up in a mysterious valley, where they meet a young girl Thorn and her Grandma Ben and get sucked into an epic adventure of good versus evil, magic, dragons, yokels, talking bugs, and stupid stupid rat creatures.

This is such a brilliant graphic novel. A cross between the old Disney comics – think Carl Barks’ Donald & Scrooge McDuck or Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse adventure strips - and Lord of The R...more
Mary
If somebody had come up to me with this brick and said, "Hey, you should read this! It's like Walt Kelly having a J.R.R. Tolkien-inspired fever dream! For hundreds and hundreds of pages!" I probably would have blinked a couple times and changed the subject.

But this adorably geeky English teacher from one of the Carolinas presented it at a graphic novel forum at NCTE as the only thing the kids in his highly resistant 7th-grade classroom would read cover to cover. And it is oddly gripping, I must...more
Bonnie
When the Bone cousins, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone, are chased out of Boneville and into the desert, they think they’re done for. Even worse, a storm of locust separates the cousins, leaving them to wander alone through a strange valley. When winter falls (quite literally), Fone Bone meets up with Thorn, a beautiful young woman, and her grandmother, Rose. Only Gran’ma Rose suspects what the arrival of the Bone cousins means for her granddaughter. Fone Bone is guarded by a mysterious...more
Brandon
Jeff Smith started the Bone series back in 1994 when I was but a meager ten year old. I can vividly remember going to the grocery store with my Mother and begging her to buy me the latest issue of Disney Adventures. Due to my insistent whining, my Mom finally caved and bought it for me. When I got home and cracked the cover, I eventually made my way to their comics section and gazed upon Fone Bone for the first time.

To the best of my knowledge, that was the only exposure to Jeff Smith’s Bonevill...more
Cameron
all graphic novelists will enjoy this fast paced series
Christopher
Here is a radical statement: this cartoon comic strip is the one thing I have ever read that comes close to the epic fantasy greatness of The Lord of the Rings. What begins as a silly, Looney Tunes-like story about a couple of "bone creatures" getting run out of "Boneville" (sounds pretty childish, huh?) quickly becomes a complex, profound, and - there's no other word for it - EPIC tale about family history, religious cults and a crazy locust monster.

The way I see it, epic fantasy authors stumbl...more
Don Lloyd
May 13, 2008 Don Lloyd rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of graphic novels
Recommended to Don by: F&SF Theory Reading Group
Shelves: graphic-novels
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Seth Hahne
Bone by Jeff Smith
[Bad morning.]

I wasn't sure I'd ever review Jeff Smith's Bone. After all, is there much that can be said that hasn't already been said? Bone's so long been part of the canon of comics literature (such as one exists) that reviewing it at this point is like reviewing Watchmen or The Dark Knight Returns or Maus. Or for the non-comics-literate, a bit like if someone penned a review today for Huckleberry Finn. I mean, what's the point, really?

Still, I tell myself, there are those who haven't read the...more
John Wiswell
There was a week when we had no electricity and I spent my nights by candlelight and a propane heater. It was freezing in my living room. Those were the circumstances under which I read Jeff Smith’s Bone. At several points I yelled at the page or laughed despite myself. It kept me staying up later in the cold darkness to read more of what was essentially an all-ages comic book. I can’t give it a stronger endorsement than that, but I can talk about what brings this book together.

Bone deceives you...more
David
Dec 28, 2009 David rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone from 10-1,000
I LOVED this book. I was about to say graphic novel, but that seems cheapen the work. Bone was such a funny, interesting read I don't even know where to begin. Well...except from the beginning.

Bone starts out so hilarious and innocent that you are immediately brought in by the goofy characters, but as you continue into this fantasy world you find that it is a MUCH darker story than you would believe at first glance. I personally loved the way the artist had three cartoon style characters moving...more
Shark
Until reading this book, I couldn't think of the last time I was actually sad to see a story end. I've read plenty of excellent books in recent years, but none that have left me feeling so sorry to reach the last page!

I'm not sure why I never read this graphic novel earlier -- I think I was turned off by the promotions, which featured drawings of the Bone cousins so much that I misunderstood what the nature of the story was, assuming it was just a funnybook geared toward kids. That really isn't...more
abatage
It's hard to know where to start, or how to write about this book at all. After the first couple of pages I couldn't put it down - if I didn't have work and uni commitments, I doubt I would have! Bone is an epic tale that is a fine example of how graphic novels can excel beyond the limitations of a cartoon genre. In fact, it's the genre itself that makes Bone as close to perfect as the telling of a story should really get.

I'm stunned at how much care and elegance was given to each character, esp...more
leighcia
I burned through this graphic novel (aka, fancy term for comic book)in 3 days, struggling to resist the urge to stay up until wee hours of the night in order to finish it. It is absolutely delightful! The characters are so memorable—the protagonist loves Moby Dick, the greedy Phoney Bone, a rat creature obsessed with quiche, and a talking leaf bug just to name a few. While managing to be extraordinary cute, corny and funny, the novel is also incredibly thought-provoking, particular on the subjec...more
Brandon Sanderson
(This review is from 2006.)

I haven’t done a review for a while, so I thought I’d do something a little bit different. A week or so back, a friend loaned me the complete BONE graphic novel.

This is one I’ve been wanting to read for a while. Not only have I done very little reading in the graphic novel genre, but I’ve heard a lot of very good things about this one. I remember a friend reading issues from the then-serialized comic back during my freshman year of college. It was something of an under...more
Quyen
Beautifully drawn, and an amazing story to boot and –what's this? Fleshed out characters in a fantasy setting? Blasphemy! "Bone" is quintessential to anyone who loves fantasy, graphic novels, or both. I spent winter break 2008–2009 reading this in its entirety, and lent it to my friend Kat afterwards. I still need to get it back from her, and when I do I'm going to reread it like no other. ...more
Andrew Anony
I would recommend getting the full series to read through, as opposed to the individual volumes. I read the series by reading the original comics 1-50 over a couple days.
Laura
Grandma Ben is reason enough to read this. Other reasons:
-a laconic dragon
-monsters who just want to eat some quiche
-Lucius
-whoa hey, some actual dramatic/heartwrenching moments
-Smiley Bone, whose doofy behavior hides some occasional flashes of insight
-a pretty powerful teenage girl protagonist (minus 3/4ths of a star for her increasingly sexualized depiction*)
-Grandma Ben, guys. Seriously.

*As another reviewer pointed out, this book more than passes the Bechdel Test, with multiple powerful, comp...more
Willem van den Oever
May 09, 2013 Willem van den Oever rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Willem by: Tristan
Tom Sawyer meets the Lord of the Rings. But Jeff Smith’s “Bone” manages to pack a whole lot more in this fun, fantastic comic book for all ages.

After being roughly driven out of their native town of Boneville, the cousins Fone, Smiley and Phoney Bone get stranded in a valley where they find refuge in the remote farm of Rose Ben and her granddaughter Thorn, who live a life in solitude there. Meeting a stubborn local tavern-owner, an inquisitive bug and a duo of hungry rat creatures, the Bones qui...more
Adam
Oct 15, 2010 Adam rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: comics
The first third of this series is wonderful: simple, whimsical, comic, with stunning artwork and deft characterization. Unfortunately, it falls apart after issue 20 or so. The narrative develops with a haphazard pace, rushing some developments, belaboring others, leaving threads dangling or tying them together in meaningless ways. But perhaps the failure of the artwork is more responsible for the drop in the series' quality. The latter will be my focus, since the art was the strongest aspect of...more
Matt Glaviano
I started reading Bone as part of a Readers’ Advisory project for an MLIS class. In truth, the class was an excuse; I’ve had this sitting around for years, and jumped at the chance to finally dig in to it. I loved every minute of Bone. It starts out so simply, and slowly develops into a satisfying fantasy epic.

I’m reading Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics right now, and his chapter, “The Vocabulary of Comics,” shed some light on why I connected with Bone so much. Jeff Smith draws very simpli...more
Carl
Bone merges high fantasy and daily comics in a way that I've never seen before, and does it so well and so deftly that I am in total agreement with the critics that called this thing best book of the year. The atmosphere of the world Jeff Smith created captures everything from slapstick humor and silly wordplay to explorations of internal isolation, grief, family conflict and the battle between fear and hope that come with trying to find a place for ourselves in the world.
It's sophisticated - d...more
míol mór
1333 pages.
And I read it in a week.
With three other books thrown in, for good measure.
This book had been the object of my desires for ages, and when it finally arrived home I just couldn't resist.

***********

But now I'm going to play a game, it's called the devil's advocate.
This series has been pluri-awarded, hailed as a masterwork among graphic novels and an ultimate cornerstone of independent comics. All of which it deserves, by the way. Still, it's not without flaws���and somebody has to...more
Gage Price
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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5951
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See other authors with similar names.

Born and raised in the American mid-west, Jeff Smith learned about cartooning from comic strips, comic books, and watching animation on TV. In 1991, he launched a company called Cartoon Books to publish his comic book BONE, a comedy/adventure about three lost cousins from B...more
More about Jeff Smith...
Bone, Vol. 1: Out from Boneville (Bone, #1) Bone, Vol. 4: The Dragonslayer (Bone, #4) Bone, Vol. 2: The Great Cow Race (Bone, #2) Bone, Vol. 9: Crown of Horns (Bone #9) Bone, Vol. 3: Eyes of the Storm (Bone, #3)

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