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 Boneville. Against all odds, the small company flourished, building a reputation for quality stories and artwork. Word of mouth, critical acclaim, and a string of major awards helped propel Cartoon Books and BONE to the forefront of the comic book industry.
In 1992, Jeff’s wife Vijaya Iyer joined the company as partner to handle publishing and distribution, licensing, and foreign language publications. In the Spring of 2005, Harry Potter’s U.S. publisher Scholastic entered the graphic novel market by launching a new imprint, Graphix with a full color version of BONE: Out from Boneville, bringing the underground comic to a new audience and a new generation.
In 2007, DC Comics released Smith’s first non-creator owned work, SHAZAM! Monster Society of Evil, a four-part mini-series recreating a classic serial from comic’s Golden Age. Between projects, Smith spends much of his time on the international guest circuit promoting comics and the art of graphic novels.
Reading through this series again, I was surprised at the tone of the book. Or rather, the lack of a consistent tone.
Follow me here for a second.
For years and years, if I didn't like a story (especially a movie) 8 times out of 10, my main criticism was "Lack of consistent tone."
Waterworld is the best example of this that I can think of. At various points it's a grim survival movie, a light-hearted action movie, a gritty post-apocalyptic morality play, or a slapstick farce.
And any one of these would be a fine movie. But if you try to do all of them at the same time, odds are your story is going to suck suck suck.
We all can think of exceptions to this rule. We can all think of stories that made us laugh AND cry AND despair. Stories that were mysteries and romances with action and humor. Joss Whedon does it. Neil Gaiman does it. Terry Pratchett does it.
But here's the thing. I'm guessing y'all can think of 10 *more* examples of terrible mangled stories that try to be everything and end up as a hot mess.
The folks I mentioned above are are masterful storytellers, and they bring us stories with complex tone. Complex tone is different from inconsistent tone. A complex tone is a delicious four-course dinner. Inconsistent tone is a chocolate milkshake with bacon, egg, mango, and ranch dressing in it.
I bring this up because Bone has a very odd mix of tones in it. There's strong thread of classic fantasy we-have-to-save-the-world-from-evil. There's slapstick. There's a very light love story. There's a dark mystery. There's element of animal fable in it, and hayseed farce. It should be a train wreck.
But it's not. It works. I look at the pieces of this and think, "Wow. No. You shouldn't have all these things together in one story." But they blend together.
As someone who strives for a consistent tone in his work, it's interesting for me to see how so many odd and seemingly antithetical elements can work together to make a solid story.
I enjoyed this a lot more than Vol. 1. This has the characters already established and more of the mystery is unfolding for us.
Grandma Rose is running her annual cow race. She can outrun a heard of cows because she is tough as gristle. Phoney is rigging the game to make money on betting. He is telling everyone to bet on the mystery cow against grandma and Smiley is going to dress up as the mystery cow.
Fone Bone goes to the festival with Thorn and Thorn flirts with another guy and it hurts Fone. He goes out in the forest where he meets some trouble. It all collides at the end and we are left with a little mystery at the end.
This is some mad-cap silliness and I enjoy the story very much. I plan on getting Vol. 3 soon. These are fun and go down like butterscotch..
I love how Smith lures the reader in with almost slapstick comedy while laying some more ominous undertones of things to come in the future. Phone Bone and Smiley Bone are hilarious with their scheme to bilk the townspeople out of their livestock. The village has no use for money and trades in eggs mostly instead.
I just love Jeff Smith's artwork. His animation influenced style really works for me. He's a master of using only slightly changed panels for comedic effect.
I think I'm getting into this story. I had a lot of fun with the cow race story that takes up much of the volume. Phoney is significantly less annoying when he's actively trying to scam somebody, and I ended up actually kind of liking him and Smiley by the end of the book. Not nearly as much as I like Fone and Thorn, of course. There are some hints towards the deeper story, but Smith doesn't hit you over the head with it. Most of all, I like that this feels like a complete story in and of itself, not a hunk chopped out of a bigger story.
Moving a little away from some of the darker themes in the first book, the Great Cow Race is about Phoney Bone's nefarious plot to bilk the locals by hyping a surprise entrant in the race versus Grandma, the perennial winner, who is portrayed as "over the hill." Light, but enjoyable read. I was disappointed that my library book was only black and white, and missing some of the excellent coloration from the first book I read.
Well the Bones move on, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone and Smiley. (I think I got their names right!) Phoney is off to embezzle/cheat/lie whoever he can to make the big bucks, which is how he got kicked out of his hometown, Boneville to begin with. (Will the little guy ever learn? Nah.)
Now he's taking bets that his gambling gambit will succeed - you see, he's betting everyone will bet on his Mystery Cow (Smiley in disguise, a cow suit!) to win the race, when he knows for sure that Gram’na Ben will win instead. (Cuz she always does!) So when Gram’na wins, Phoney gets to keep all the bets made against her. Oh, how wiley this little weird guy/thing/creature is! But things have a way of backfiring, and meanwhile...
Fone is in love with Thorn, a totally beautiful human girl, and Lucius is looking out for Gran’ma Ben, who I think he's secretly in love with, and the Rat Creatures are gathering, and then there's this dragon, and like I said, Fone (in love) is determined to get some real honeycomb for Thorn, who loves honey, and …
On it goes. A rambling, confusing, big-hearted drama which is hard to define. You just gotta read it!
Second in the Bone series. I must admit, it is pretty fun to read, especially trying to figure out what Phoney Bone did to have a specter after him. It is also funny to see how he tries to rig the great cow race to win all the goods in town, since they dont use money. I just wish Thorn would return Fone Bone's affection. I will definitely pick up the next book in the series.
This just squeaked by with 4 stars: it is a definite improvement over the first book, as the plot really starts moving, and the laughs were a lot more frequent. I almost didn't pick it up since the first one was just average, but I'm glad I read it. The cow race cinched the fourth star! And the quiche jokes. Yes! The only thing that bothered me was that now that we are meeting the whole town, it's all white folks, except a sudden (tongue-in-cheek) cameo. (I checked, and yes Aladdin came out the year before this was published!) With the ridiculous-looking main characters drawn white as actual bones, it would be nice to have more diversity (and I don't mean rats and dragons!). We are getting hints of a sweeping storyline, though, which adds to the interest.
Now we are getting somewhere I liked this better than the first volume and loved it. This vol had the cow race as the name implied and we also had the schemes by Phoney and the rat creatures were again chasing Bones. lets see what's more to come.
I have always loved comics, and I hope that I will always love them. Even though I grew up reading local Indian comics like Raj Comics or Diamond Comics or even Manoj Comics, now's the time to catch up on the international and classic comics and Graphic novels. I am on my quest to read as many comics as I can. I Love comics to bit, may comics never leave my side. I loved reading this and love reading more, you should also read what you love and then just Keep on Reading.
Lovin' the series so far. The thing I'm really digging about Bone is that it continues from one issue to the next with really no breaks whatsoever. This is one long, continuous story...so far. Bone: The Great Cow Race (Volume 2) collects issues 7-12.
Not much else to say as I'm not going to break down each and every issue since it all ties into one giant story. So, you're just gonna have to read it for yourself. One thing that I will mention is the reaction of Phoney Bone when he discovers that Lucius is placing his bet on Gran'ma. Now THAT was fucking hilarious!!!!!!!!! Hahahahahahahahaha.
The cornerstone of GRAPHIX, our new graphic novel imprint, BONE is the incredible comic book saga of an unlikely hero who must save an idyllic valley from the forces of evil.
In THE GREAT COW RACE, volume 2 of this 9-book epic, Fone Bone and his cousins plan to return home after visiting the village of Barrelhaven with Thorn and Gran'ma Ben. But Phoney risks everything on one last get-rich-quick scheme for the town's annual Great Cow Race. As usual, Phoney's plans go disastrously awry, and Boneville seems further away than ever. Meanwhile, ominous signs indicate that a war is brewing, and Fone finds himself helping his friends defend their valley from a formidable enemy.
As much of a delight as the first volume and a great job at opening up more of the story while keeping the overall feel of the book fun and of-the-moment. Jeff Smith's art is really something special. Everyone looks distinct, even the Bone fellows, and his use of texture and shadow is wonderful. I think this will end up being a favorite as I move forward, and for more than just my absolute adoration of Gran'ma Ben.
Why I Read It: Volume one of this series didn't blow me away, but it had enough that I wanted to come back for more. I was confident that the series would bring more to the table.
This volume still didn't amp things up QUITE to what I was hoping it would achieve, but that's in large part due to the fact that this volume was still developing things to come (which I now realize because I'm now almost six volumes into the series.)
The plot for the arc of this volume is perfectly fine, but it felt more like a bridge. It had a clearer direction than the first volume and the plotting felt tighter, but not a whole lot happens. There's the festival, which builds up tension for the upcoming cow race -- which we know won't end well because of Phoney Bone's scheming -- so there'a a much clearer "end game" in this volume, if you will. It's obviously not the end game of the series, but the volume is obviously leading up to *something*, and that something is how shit is going to hit the fan during the cow race.
Phoney continues to be a really unlikable character, Smiley is still crazy, I'm still kind of weirded out by Fone Bone's infactuation with Thorn, and I'm perplexed by Thorn's outfits which vary from dresses/skirts being tight and reallyyy short, to other outfits that look like potato sacks and somehow still show all kinds of skin. What I'm saying is: I find Thorn oddly sexualized. But these are honestly fairly minor quibbles I had and didn't really affect my enjoyment of the story as a whole (except for Phoney Bone -- I hate him. A lot.)
The art continues to look good (actually, the consistency of the quality of the art in this series is really good, the amount of time Smith took to draw and write series) and the translation to colour is still as smooth as ever. Some of the facial expressions from the Bones in this actually had me cracking up laughing. There was also a scene in particular (with the giant bee) that had me cackling quite loudly as well. So everything felt better from the first volume overall: better writing, better story, better humour.
Final Verdict: This volume still didn't bring the AWESOME that I was hoping for, but it was definitely an improvement from the first. The storytelling felt tighter and more cohesive and I found the humour quite good as well. This is still a story obviously geared for children, but the cross-over appeal was more apparent here. I still find Phoney Bone despicable (in a bad way), and Fone Bone's infactuation with Thorn is still odd, and I found Thorn oddly sexualized, but other than that, everything else was pretty good.
Like the first volume, this one was laugh out loud funny for me. There were several moments where my husband peeked in, briefly perplexed by how loud I was laughing. That's a rarity for me, and this book deserves at least one star for that alone. Nevertheless, there was far more to this book than simply the humor. Like the first few volumes of Chew Bone is building up to something greater it seems. How much does Phoney Bone really know? Is he aware why the rat-creatures are after them? Likewise, what is it that Gran'ma Ben isn't sharing with everyone else? Questions upon questions, and yet the journey is so fun it's fine to wait for all of that stuff to come out when it needs to. For now, the journey is too entertaining and far too silly to pass up.
As the title implies, this volume centers around The Great Cow Race. In the town of Barrelhaven they will soon be racing a number of their liveliest cows. Racing among them will be Gran'ma Ben, the reigning champion. Will she win? Phoney Bone certainly hopes so. He's taking bets against her, claiming her too old, and encouraging all to put their livestock and such on the Mystery Cow. The Mystery Cow is Smiley Bone in a cow suit. He loves costumes with big heads, after all, and has been practicing his moo. Chaos ensues, as you can imagine. Chaos also in poor Fone Bone's crush on Thorn. And the rat-creature's search for quiche.
This series is promising, and so far has not once failed to deliver. The tone was even downright spooky as they traveled back to the farmhouse. I'm eager to see where things go, what answers are given, how everyone grows. It's an odd little world, but man am I invested in it. And I really didn't expect to be. So far, it seems this comic genuinely deserves all the hype and praise.
This book was about the bones who have to blend into the other cows so they won't get caught from the rat creatures but the rat creatures are chasing the cows and they have to run away.I liked this book because It was funny and it had a lot of close calls.I recommend this book to people that like the bone series and read bone 1.
Again, not going to write a whole review on just this section (I have them in one book, so for me it's a section), but I will write a review on my edition when I'm done. And then I'll tell you what I REALLY think. lol, I think they're fantastic. An amazing series, even though I'm not a huge fan of comic books. :)
(but it gets better and better, so keep reading even if you feel discouraged)
Bone, Vol. 2 The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith adds more slap stick and more focus to the ridiculous second graphic Novel in the Bone Series. This book is part Looney Toons meets Grimm Fairy Tails. The Story still manages to add to the lore of Bone and the mysterious dragon while the main focus is on The Great Cow Race. Every character from the first novel manages to make an appearance in someway. This novel was not as sexualized as the first one I get the Bone series for my 11 year old cousin, and the first one was close to borderline for a Scholastic Inc. published book.
Plot: Three cousins are kicked out of the town of Boneville, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone. Mainly because of Phoney Bones schemes blew up in his face. Phoney Bone is at it again as he and Smiley Bone work at a local tavern in Barrelhaven paying off a debt, they acquired in the last novel. They plan to get everyone in town to bet on a mysterious new cow, that has the best odds, while giving hundred and one odds to Gran'ma a human that has won the last two cow races. The mysterious cow is Smiley Bone in a cheap cow costume. The Rat Creatures see the Cow Race as the oppertune time to grab one of the Bones', they still are unsure of which fulfills the prophecy and which one's they can eat.
What I Liked: The art work is top notch, the panels really fit the dialogue boxes. There is still no inter monologue to the characters but there is the occasional heart and a broken heart. The slap stick is way funnier than in Bone, Vol. 1 Out of Boneville we know the characters so there is no set up getting in the way of the joke and it feeling forced. There's a Sight gag on a roof that is getting repaired that had me rolling. I loved that the opossums babies and the cricket were back in this book, those parts were my favorite from the first volume.
What I Disliked: The lore and the mystery about the prophecy is interesting, and I wanted to see more, the filler even tho some parts were funny it needed to move along. This series reminds me of Dragonball Z and all the filler that blocks and holds up that epic story. I wanted to see more of the Rat Creatures.
Recommendations: I liked this one a lot more then the first volume of the Bone Series, If you like Looney Toons then you will like Bone, I can totally see Daffey Duck substituted for Phoney Bone and his Cow Race scheme. Though the book does have the same bad habit that Looney Toons did as well where the characters smoke a cigar from time to time. I rated Bone Volume 2 The Great Cow Race 4 out of 5 stars.
The stars of this book are the relation between Phone Bone and Thorn and some hints about the latter's past. Even if I never picked up a Bone Book before, this is very entertaining even for somebody like myself who is not into fantasy except some sword and sorcery stuff. Recommended.