Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Best Graphic Novels Ever #11 -- Bone

11. The Complete Bone
by Jeff Smith
Published by Cartoon Books

Wow. Bone. Fone Bone. Phoney Bone. Smiley Bone. Rose. Ted. Grandma. And of course, the Stupid, Stupid Rat Creatures. Aw. The memories.

While this is a collection of the entire run of Jeff Smith's amazing fantasy comic book series, I'm letting it count as a graphic novel in the same way that a 3-in-1 set of Lord of the Rings would count as a "novel."

With Bone, Jeff Smith redefined all-ages comic books in ways that the core mainstream publishers had forgotten. Rather than simply catering to a watered-down, kids-only version of what adults thought kids would and could read, he simply stuck to his guns (or magic spells) and told a fun story. Complete with epic battles, the pain of loss, danger, intrigue, and even a great cow race (which you have to see to believe), Bone has all the stuff required for both young and old imaginations.

I referenced Lord of the Rings earlier, and I believe Bone clearly falls into that same camp of classics, you know, the ones that can be read by adults and kids and enjoyed equally by both, along with such wonderful, imaginative works as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, A Wrinkle in Time, and The Hobbit.

This is the graphic novel for people who insist they don't like comic books. It takes a rare reader to be able to start Boneand put it down unfinished, I think. And I also think that reader is lessened by the ability to do so.