As mentioned in my previous post about HeroesCon, I started to read Bone a few weeks ago since I was going to meet the author and all. I finished it this past weekend on a reading filled holiday in the mountains.
I really liked it! Do you like fantasy? Adventure? A little bit of silliness? You should read it!
Slightly Longer Review with Potential Spoilers:
Starting it, I really didn't know what kind of story it was going to be. There are these slightly weird looking cartoony characters traveling somewhere. Talking animals. Oh look a girl that looks like a Disney princess with fantastic hair! Ooh a dragon! You get the idea. I was just along for the ride.
While I thought that the dream religion was a little confusing, overall I enjoyed how The Valley was full of so much history and surprises. As things were revealed to Fone Bone and others they were revealed to us. We were dropped into this valley just as much as the Bone Cousins were.
I love it when a storyteller, no matter the medium, doesn't tell us everything. I love the fact we never see Boneville. The story starts and ends in the desert. It's this lovely circle of adventure.
One thing that still puzzles me a bit is how time passes. The summary of the book says it's a year that they spend in the valley. I believe it to a degree, we see near the beginning and then near the end how the seasonal snow just dumps down out of nowhere. However, it felt like an extensive amount of time passed during this story. This could be my meta-knowledge going into this that it took him 12 years to write this. It's also a 1,300 page book! Also, Thorn started off looking like a child and by the end she appeared very physically mature. This could be signifying the amount of growing up she had to do over the course of this time learning she was a princess etc., but it just made time seem more wonky.
I should also mention I'm reading (and have been reading since November, yeesh) The Dark Tower series where time is constantly funny. I could just chronically think every story has a time distortion problem now.
Art is always a big draw for me. I read the black and white version and was a little unsure at first, but it really grew on me. It's so simple. There are some great, cinematic frames in this. I definitely want to look at the color version just out of curiosity. It's really impressive that Smith did all of this on his own. This would be a kick ass movie as long as he would be very involved with it. Wikipedia states that Nickleodeon had the rights to it at one point. They wanted all the Bone cousins to be voiced by child actors and have a N*Sync soundtrack. The idea makes my insides hurt so I'm glad that never happened. That Wikipedia article also quotes Jeff Smith saying that neither Lord of the Rings or Star Wars would have a pop music soundtrack, so why should Bone? DARN TOOTIN.
I managed to find the documentary, "The Cartoonist: Jeff Smith, Bone, and The Changing Face of Cartoons," via interlibrary loan. It was interesting to hear about Smith's previous animation experience and hear about other independent comic artists and writers. Smith grew up wanting to read an extensive, detailed, epic comic book so he made one. That's pretty cool.
I'll definitely blog about this in further detail later, but I want to teach a first year seminar about graphic novels as pieces of literature and art, focusing on non-superhero non-uber violent works. I think I would make Freshmen cry to assign them Bone just by the look of the one-volume work, but I know I'll have to work it in somehow.