As an independently published comic book from 1991 to 2004. Now available in a variety of anthologies. Throughout its run the series has won a giant stack of Eisner Awards (the comic book equivalent of the Oscars).
The three bone cousins, Phoney, Smiley, and Fone (small white bald, but adorable, creatures) are run out of Boneville and find themselves in the Valley, a fantasy landscape populated by humans, talking animals, “rat creatures”, and mysterious entities. The story begins simply enough with comic romance, simple adventure, and plenty of visual humor and builds over the course of the story to an epic adventure reminiscent of Lord of the Rings.
Ages 8 and up
The great thing about Bone is it’s an all-ages comic. There is plenty of light humor and funny animals to entertain younger kids while the villains are mostly not too scary, with the exception of the Lord of the Locusts. Adults can enjoy the humor as well but will also get into exploring the heroic cycle Fone Bone passes through on his journey.
I mentioned that the Lord of the Locusts might be scary. It’s a testament to the strengths of visual storytelling that this character is as creepy as it is. It shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the books, just be aware that those parts are in there. Beyond that the rat creatures have potential to be scary but the two who feature most prominently are also used for comic relief, which lightens the whole idea of the rat creatures significantly throughout the story. There is also a significant amount of smoking, drinking and comic book fantasy peril.
My wife is not a great fan of comic book shops. She sees them as generally dark, dusty, and too reminiscent of the man-caves they can sometimes be. However, she found one in Portland, Bridge City Comics, which has an open airy feel like some kind of upscale boutique for nerds. She asked the very helpful staff person for recommendations for the kids, he brought out Bone, and the rest is history.
I would also like to mention it is thanks to Bone our kids know more about Moby Dick than the average 8-10 year old, so in amongst all the comic book fun there is some deeper literary value.
Do you agree or disagree with my assessment or have something to add?
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