I saw Jeff Smith’s Tribute Edition of Bone: Out From Boneville (Scholastic’s Graphix) was being released last month. I told myself I wasn’t going to buy it; after all, I own the trades in black and white, the trades in color, the full compendium, and almost all of the single issues. That’s not to mention the spinoffs and handbooks and toys I also have. I own an obscene amount of Bone and really don’t need to purchase more.
So the other night after book club, I picked up the tribute edition. It is a full-color reprint of the first trade, has 32 pages of bonus artwork and original material, and the cover has Fone Bone in a tuxedo! Thankfully, Ninja is fully supportive of my Bone obsession – although he sort of has to be unless he wants to get rid of shelves upon shelves upon tubs of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comics and toys 🙂
For those of you who haven’t read Bone before, it’s an adventure story following Fone Bone, who was run out of Boneville with his cousins, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone. They end up in a place called The Valley where they encounter all new things, like rat creatures and talking bugs and dragons. Fone Bone develops a friendship with Thorn, a girl who lives in The Valley with her cow-racing Gran’ma Ben, both of whom have a mysterious past and an even more mysterious future. Some people have compared the Bone series to Lord of the Rings, but funnier. Creator Jeff Smith compares it to the Disney Comics by Carl Banks he read growing up. He’s quoted as wanting to read and create a story as if Uncle Scrooge had gone on an adventure the length of The Odyssey. I personally describe it as my favorite story, sometimes elaborating by calling it similar to a Disney movie like The Rescuers.
New to the tribute edition is an original poem by Jeff Smith, “Ode to a Quiche,” written by one of the Stupid Stupid Rat Creatures. It has the same wonderful tone as the Bone series has and was definitely worth the purchase. I even had quiche for breakfast this morning as a tribute to it! In addition, 16 artists created tribute art that is in this book. All of them are beautiful, but I think my favorite is by Captain Underpants artist Dave Pilkey.
EVERYONE SHOULD READ BONE. It’s always my first suggestion whenever someone asks me for a comic or graphic novel recommendation. For one, it’s an in-depth, epic story that covers good and evil, friendship, family, loyalty, bravery, and more that can get just as dark as it is light-hearted (but not too scary for the kiddos). Also, the success of this book alone should will someone to read it. Smith created his own company, Cartoon Books, to publish Bone by himself. Initially, he did everything himself: writing, drawing, inking, lettering, selling, bookkeeping, etc. He eventually got help on the business side, but it’s pretty impressive that he managed to complete this whole story without seeking out other people to creatively help in some way. Also, he first started drawing the characters for Bone when he was just a child, then he drew a comic for his college newspaper featuring the characters, and then created the 55-issue epic. If that’s not dedication to a story, I don’t know what is.
If the content or the creation story doesn’t grab you, maybe this will: Bone was in the top ten for banned books in 2013 for “political viewpoint, racism, and violence” (http://cbldf.org/banned-comic/banned-challenged-comics/case-study-bone/). It stood in the list next to books like 50 Shades of Grey. I personally do not see why people raised these concerns, but I do know that people will see what they want to see. So live dangerously and read this banned book!
If you’re looking to purchase Bone: Tribute Edition, I first recommend getting it from your local comic books shop. Otherwise, you may want to look at purchasing from http://www.boneville.com/ because then it will be a signed copy from Jeff Smith.
Bone: Out From Boneville Tribute Edition
Created, Written, & Drawn by Jeff Smith
Colors by Steve Hamaker