“Hello, small mammal. Could you step in here for a moment? I’ve got something to show you.”
— The Rat Creatures
I’m usually not into comic books. I mean, I’ve read my share of Superman, like every other kid, but it was never really a big thing for me. So when I tell you that I loved BONE by Jeff Smith and you need to read it, realize that I’m not making my recommendation lightly. It takes a really well-written, carefully plotted, extremely ambitious graphic novel to get me excited about the genre at all, and BONE is all of those things.
I couldn’t get into the plot without spoiling some of its great surprises, and I’m afraid if I start talking I wouldn’t be able to stop anyway. So . . . lucky you: SPOILER-FREE BLOG POST! Just know that the story ends up as epic and huge (complete with massive battles, dragon fights, feats of bravery, and so on) without ever getting dry or boring. In fact, BONE is one of the funniest books I’ve read in a while. I’m pretty sure the other riders in my subway cars hated me for the constant chuckling, guffawing, and poorly stifled bursts of laughter, but whatever. Plus it’s got great characters. You’ll love Fone Bone for his courage and his good sense of humor, you’ll die laughing at Smiley Bone’s antics, and you will really, really hate Phoney Bone.
And then there’s the art. In addition to being a great writer, it turns out Jeff Smith is an awesome artist. The drawings are lush and rich, and Jeff somehow manages to give the little 2-foot-tall bones just as much personality in their faces and body language as his human characters have. As the scale of the plot gets bigger and bigger, his drawings start to cover huge landscapes, exotic towns, and raging battles, and he proves that his talent isn’t limited to small, intimate details.
So now that I’ve had a graphic novel epiphany . . . is there another one I should read? Let me know in the comments!
— Jack, STACKS Intern