I really don’t know what to say about Jeff Smith’s Bone that hasn’t already been said, it’s amazing.
I told myself that when I started I’d work slowly through reading it, trying to stretch it out over a week or so. That didn’t work, i was done in like two days. It’s one of the most amazing comics I’ve ever read, an ambitious project that totally reminds me of my favorite fantasy book series.
The examples that immediately came to mind are the “Riftwar” series by Raymond E. Feist, and the various “Farseer” books by Robin Hobb. Both of them are incredibly sprawling fantasy worlds, with rich mythologies, histories, and fleshed-out characters. But they also start really small, with simple moments and focuses on characters that gradually, over time, unravel into the gigantic epics that they eventually become.
The three Bone cousins end up in a mysterious valley when they’re run out of town, and very quickly their individual personalities are revealed as they begin to interact with the inhabitants of this world. Gradually, a bigger and bigger story is revealed here as the Bones find themselves at the forefront of a mystery that gradually threatens the very fabric of the world itself. And while that sounds so epically giant and overblown, it’s very far from that. Smith’s ascent from what seems like a child-oriented comic into an awesome humor-laced action/adventure story unfolds so naturally, and it never loses the focus or gets sidetracked through a sub-plot or a focus on another character that isn’t really helping the narrative.
The whole tome is sitting on my bookshelf right now like a brick, facing outward. It’s epic, and my new favorite addition to my ever-growing collection of truly big and amazing comic works. Bone is one of those comics that I definitely see myself re-reading once or twice a year, dedicating a whole weekend on the couch to just let myself be enveloped by it.