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Bone Vol.1: Out of Boneville Review

Bone Vol.1: Out of Boneville (Bone #1) by Jeff Smith Review

After barely escaping a lynch mob in their home town Boneville. The three cousins Fone Bone, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone are lost in the desert. That’s the start of Bone Vol.1: Out of Boneville by Jeff Smith.

Out of water and food. Then they run into storm of locusts. Separated and lost, each makes his way into a mysterious valley.

Pursued by an army of monsters.

Taken in by strangers who are not all they seem. The Bone’s have only one thing in mind.

Get back to Bonville. Bone is an awesome adventure with intriguing mystery and plenty of humor thrown in.

Oh… and there is a dragon! Wanna know why else it’s a must read graphic novel? Read on… 

Three Bones, One Desert and a Dodgy Map

The cousins Bone are out and down on their luck. Run out of their home town Boneville, they have been lost in the desert for two weeks. What makes things worse is the fact that they are only here because they rescued cousin Phoney.

After his latest get-rich scheme collapsed, the towns people decided enough was enough. Fone and Smiley decided to help their cousins escape the angry mob. Now all three are banished from Boneville.

You can’t choose your family… but Phoney is a handful!!

Out of water and with no clue where they are –our Bones are close to death.

Then Smiley finds a strange map. Or maybe he drew it? Either way our Bones are way out of their comfort zone.

Bone Out of Boneville -A Dodgy Map

And then they run into a literary storm of locusts. Running for his life, Fone is separated from his cousins and falls down a cliff. As he tries to make his way back, Fone gets lost and ends up in a mysterious valley.

All while being followed by a large strange creature that keeps to the shadows…

Thus starts Jeff Smith’s award winning independently published series. Bone ran for 55 issues from 1991 to 2004.

Part epic (dark) fantasy, part sitcom. Bone takes us on a journey into a wired and wonderful world.

A world where magical creatures coexist with human beings.

Where the medieval has modern characteristics.

Where our hero, Fone Bone just wants to go home.

Enter An Uncanny Valley

Stumbling into the mystical valley at the height of winter. Fone makes fast friends with Ted the Bug and tries to figure out how to get home.

On Ted’s advice he goes looking for somebody called Thorn. Who knows “jes’ about everything in th’ whole world” and might know a way back to Boneville.

He also runs into a pair of rat monsters that have been trailing him since he started his descend into the valley.

They are intent on eating this “small mammal”. But can’t quiet decide whether to eat him raw or make a delicious quiche out of Fone. While this fearsome twosome argues, Fone makes his escape.

We will run into our two gastronomically challenged friends again later.

Fone takes to surviving the winter. Making friends with the local, talking, animals. While babysitting Ms. Possums precious kids, the two rat monsters show up again.

Bone Out of Boneville -Ruining into Old Friends

Fone is saved by the intervention of a mighty red dragon! Only thing is that nobody but him and our two monsters seem to be able to see him.

Going to wash off the ash left by his burnt hat (don’t ask dragons obvious questions), Fone runs into Thorn -and she turns out to be a beautiful young girl. It’s love at first sight for Fone Bone …oh oh.

Why is the dragon protecting Fone? Does Thorn know the way back home to Boneville? What’s the deal with the rat monsters? And what happened to Phoney and Smiley Bone?

You’ll have to read Jeff Smith’s Bone Vol.1: Out of Boneville to find out!

The Writing and Art of Bone Vol.1: Out of Boneville

Bone’s art is beautiful and simple. Jeff once said that he is inspired by classic animations and comic strips. It shows! Bone is all clear black and white lines. But that doesn’t mean it’s simplistic.

Jeff Smith manages to merge a cartoony style with a realistic environment. It is as if cartoon characters from an animation got lost and wandered into the Lord of the Ring… hmmm.

Bone Out of Boneville -Jeff Smith's Art is Beautiful

Jeff’s characters, be they fantastical or human, are expressive and dynamic. You can tell what each character is thinking by their facial expression and posture.

He uses this to create lighthearted comedy or a real sense of dread and danger. Proving that simple art doesn’t mean unsophisticated visual storytelling.

The story line and dialogue are top notch!

There is a reason why Jeff Smith’s Bone has won many Eisner Awards. Think the Eisner as the graphic novel equal of the Pulitzer Prize. This gives you and idea how Bone thought of by fans and critics alike.

Jeff uses the classic story of the ‘fish-out-of-water’ and takes us on a heroic quest.

What starts out as our three Bones looking for a way home turns into something much larger and darker.

It’s in this that Bone also shines. While humor and silly situations are part of the story. There is a serious dark fantasy story underneath it all.

Thorn is not all she appears to be. There are dark forces at play and the dragon seems to be enforcing some kind of truce. A truce said dark forces don’t want to keep anymore.

What exactly is Phoney’s connection to this? What is this ‘War’ that people in the valley keep talking about?


Bone Volume 1: Out of Boneville by Jeff Smith is an awesome read and great introduction to the series. Told in a simple and appealing style. It’s Lord of the Ring adventure meet classic cartoon-strip comedy.

This is a must read for any fan of graphic fiction.

I first heard about bone back in 2003 and never took it seriously. My loss.

Bone is definitely in the Top 10 of the best graphic fiction ever written. If you like adventure, fantasy and comedy this is the book for you.

Jeff Smith makes his characters come alive with such a passion and magic, you have no choice but be charmed.


PS: Click here to Order Bone Vol.1: Out of Boneville in paperback today.

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