I’m hoping, really hoping, that the next book in George R R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series comes out this summer. But until then, I’ll be re-reading some excellent fantasy. Starting with the adventures of this little guy.
Should you not recognize him, that’s Fone Bone, the diminuative protagonist from Jeff Smith’s epic fantasy graphic novel series Bone.
I first started reading Bone by picking up issue #13 in around, oh, 2005. I had no idea what was going on in the comic, I’d never heard of it, but I was going through a phase of collecting black-and-white comics and supporting non-DC/non-Marvel properties.
Issue #13 of Bone centered on this little character named Fone Bone (who reminds me of Pogo Possum) with a handful of talking animals and a cute girl named Thorn. In the issue, in quick succession, strange hairy creatures were introduced along with a huge monstrous version. And a sinister hooded dream-invading creature.
I found it an interesting and charming read, so I started picking up the trade paperbacks. Which were awesome. The artwork was clean, simple, and outstandingly great. The story was weirdly fun, light, and deadly serious all at the same time.
Over the years, I’d recommend the books (and loaned my copies out) to my friends, particularly those with children, and in every case the adults loved the books as well as their kids. (To clarify, their kids loved the books too. The parents always loved their kids.)
I’m going to do a quick non-spoilery overview at a very high level. The story of Bone is a classical fantasy, it’s a kind of low-tech medieval-sorta setting, with magical creatures, a secret warrior society, a history of the Last Big War, and an awakening evil.
Our primary point of view is Fone Bone, who is charmingly endearing. I think it was brilliant of Smith to develop a nearly-featureless protagonist. Fone Bone becomes a blank slate where we can attach ourselves into the story.
It’s cute, but it’s not cutesy. It has a legitimate Lord of the Rings feel to it. And it’s a big story. It’s A Storm of Swords big. (Just not with as many characters or deadly social engagements.)
There are wonderful characters and a surprisingly emotive storyline. If you’re not allergic to spoilers or if you’ve read Bone and are curious about two moments that really struck me, feel free to check out my Bone spoilery-post on my secret backup spoiler blog.
Anyway, I’m still waiting on A Dance with Dragons from GRRM (again, I’m hoping this summer. Please!) but until then, I can re-enjoy this wonderful story. I can’t confirm or deny the presence of dragons in Bone.
Should you check it out (at least the first trade paperback) please let me know what you think.
Oh! On the most recent episode of the Thought Bubble (an EXCELLENT comic-books-and-how-they-relate-to-television-and-movies podcast) co-host Joanna Robinson (@jowrotethis on Twitter) mentioned that there have been motions towards making a Bone movie. When I heard that, my shriveled and darkened heart swelled with delight, and I thought I was having a joy-related cardiac arrest. (I might be exaggerating.)
Images from Jeff Smith’s BONE, obviously.
I make no claims to the artwork, but some claims to the text. So there.
© Patrick Sponaugle 2014 Some Rights Reserved