Graphic Novel Review: Bone (The Complete Collection)

Thirteen hundred pages of fantastic adventure. That’s what I dove into when I picked up my son’s massive book of Bone, by Jeff Smith. I’ve read parts of Bone over the years, but never in sequence (so I never really saw the larger story unfolding) and always out of context. Smith’s story is a classic, of course, and reading it from start to finish over 1300 pages gives you a sense of scope.

If you don’t know Bone, it tells the story of three cousins from Boneville — Fone Bone, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone – who begin the story on the run, driven from Boneville for some political scam (Phoney is always on a con or scam of some sort) when they stumble over the mountains, get separated and discover adventure that includes dragons, rat creatures, magic, a lost Queen and discovered princess, strange locusts, treasure found and lost, epic battles and more.

Told with humor and seriousness, Smith’s Bone book harnesses the power of graphic storytelling in so many ways, it’s hard to know what to focus on. There are allusions to classic stories and classic cartoons, to humous gags that are hinted at early and then re-emerge later, and somehow, Smith juggled it all over the course of more than a decade of writing and illustrating, and publishing in installments.

Given our time of staying inside during the pandemic, the discovery of my son’s Bone collection was a welcome site, and the hours spent with the cousins and their friends (and enemies) was a literary diversion that kept me deep in the story. Bone is worth a visit for readers of all ages. (Note: this huge book is costly – $40 at B/N. I think we picked up years ago at a book sale for cheap — what a deal!)

Peace (beyond Boneville),


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  1. Hmmm,

    Should I buy this for my son? If I do, who will be reading it first, I wonder? The Zboy or his mum?

    Kevin, once again you showed me something new.

    BTW, nice Duplex poem 🙂

    Best wishes.


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