The Bone cousins– Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone– get run out of Boneville when Phoney Bone’s scheme to run for mayor backfires, as Phoney Bone’s schemes always do. They get split up by a swarm of locusts and end up in a mysterious valley populated by talking animals, possums, hedgehogs, rat creatures, dragons, and a garrulous bug named Ted.
Fone Bone, who is the hero of our story, is being followed by a fire-breathing dragon and a pair of rat creatures. The rat creatures want to eat him, preferably baked in a quiche; what the red dragon wants may be worse. After several close calls, Fone Bone meets up with two humans, Grandma Ben and her granddaughter Thorn, and with their help he is reunited with his cousins in the town of Barrelhaven. However, all is not well– the rat creatures are massing for war, and a mysterious hooded figure wants Phoney Bone’s soul…
The Bones look like a cross between Snoopy and the Schmoo, and there are three of them: Fone Bone is honest and brave; Phoney Bone is a cross between Scrooge McDuck and the Grinch; and Smiley Bone is the village idiot personified. They are the stars in what is, in my opinion, the best graphic novel series of the past fifteen years. The Sandman series is highly praised, of course (and rightly so), but there are patches in Sandman where the storyline meanders and the art is quite uneven; the quality of the Bone graphic novels is remarkably consistent. Many reviewers also ignore the fact that Sandman is best enjoyed by an older audience, whereas Bone can be enjoyed by all ages.
Bone, vol. 1: Out from Boneville
By Jeff Smith
Scholastic/GRAPHIX 2005 (color edition)