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Bone - The Complete Series by Jeff Smith

by Felicity Banks (follow)
My book and short stories are available at www.smashwords.com/profile/view/LouiseCurtis
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Photo taken by Felicity Banks

This series is truly a cartoon epic. It begins with three very simple, comedic figures being simple and comedic. They've been run out of Bonetown due to the shady dealings of "Phoney" (one of the three) and are clearly lost. There are peculiar monsters, and a dragon, and a beautiful girl, and her grandma. It all still looks simple - but it isn't.

The original story took years to tell, and has a very clear arc - so clear that one of the characters spends a very human amount of time simply dealing with a large emotional blow, and not doing anything interesting at all. By the end of the story it truly is an epic, and even the most minor characters have changed utterly from who they were at the start.

Photo taken by Felicity Banks

I read the entire series in about a week, and the changes appeared rapid from that perspective, but that is not the fault of the series itself.

Although the setting is a fairly typical medieval-style world (with cartoon characters in it as well as villagers, which didn't strike me as odd at the time), there are enough points of difference that it doesn't feel like a cliché. The young woman, Thorn, really does appear to be kind, intelligent, beautiful, and special - which should make me vomit but she's so stunningly drawn that I fell under her spell just like everyone else.

The art is restricted to black and white, and the three main characters and the landscapes are quite simply drawn - but the artist is clearly saving all their skill for the facial expressions. The cartoon characters are perfectly realised, and all the human characters are simply exquisite.

Very few graphic novels come to a satisfactory conclusion after running for years and years - they either fade in quality or simply fade away. "Bone" is an exception. It tells a long and complex story, and it tells it well. And any frame containing Thorn could be enlarged and framed in its own right.9733

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Published: 2004

#Young Adult
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I really enjoyed Bone but I never actually got all the way to the end. You have inspired me, now I must start it again from the beginning!
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