Bone: Out from Boneville by Jeff Smith

Title: Bone.
Volume: 1.
Story Arc: Out from Boneville
Writer(s): Jeff Smith.
Artist(s): Jeff Smith.
Colourist(s): Steve Hamaker.
Publisher: Graphix.

Release Date: February 1st, 2005 (first published July 3rd, 1991).
Pages: 138.
Genre(s): Comics, Fantasy.
ISBN13: 9780439706407.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.


It can be quite shocking when you realize that you’ve been tossed into the middle of a magnificent epic war against evil while you’re just out there trying to eat a delicious breakfast and figuring out where you could find the love of your life. Granted that everything has its place and time, there are certain issues that demand to be addressed much sooner than later. Such as lost cousins, giant sharp-toothed rats, guardian dragons, and a mean-looking granny. Originally self-published in black white from 1991 to 2004 and winner of multiple Eisner and Harvey Awards, it is only in 2005 that publisher Scholastic obtained the rights to publish the comic book series with Steve Hamaker’s colours in nine volumes which later spawned a prequel and sequel.

What is Bone: Out from Boneville about? Kicked out of Boneville, the three Bone cousins find themselves on a wild adventure as they are separated and lost in an uncharted desert. As they wander the odd and mysterious lands, they encounter strange rat creatures who are on the hunt for the one with the starred chest (Phoney Bone, the greedy and selfish one of the three cousins). Meanwhile, Fone Bone runs into Gran’ma Ben and her beautiful granddaughter as he tries to win the latter’s heart and find a way to get in touch with his two other cousins. After all, Smiley Bone is nowhere to be found. Unfortunately, there are far graver dangers on the horizon that are right on their tails and it’s nothing to be excited about.


Heavily focused on slapstick comedy and wrapped within an epic fantasy tale which only the reader could acknowledge as the characters remains oblivious to the universe in which they get lost in, the story doesn’t necessarily take any form until much later into the narrative. It is only upon the introduction of Thorn, Gran’ma Ben, and the other mystical creatures that a certain overarching narrative is observable. What creator Jeff Smith accomplishes with this first volume is establishing the tone and direction of his comic book series, assuring the reader that they are in for an adventure filled with whimsical and humourous elements. While the comedy might not always hit the mark, the best parts of this series, however, remains the banter, especially those involving the nonsensical cousins.

The artwork is incredibly clean and every character is clearly distinguishable in each panel. This can easily be explained by the original black and white artwork which didn’t look into playing with gradients but strived to illustrate scenes as vividly as possible. The black contouring and the prominence of certain elements (e.g. characters) in each panel also make it easy to follow the development of events without a single hint of confusion. Following a much more traditional panel structure, with giant squares that rarely ever overlap, creator Jeff Smith was able to deliver his story efficiently while giving the overall volume an enchanted and mythical layer that is bound to grow stronger and much more important over the course of the following volumes.

Bone: Out from Boneville is an enjoyable and droll fantasy adventure featuring three silly Bone cousins lost in a magical world.


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13 thoughts on “Bone: Out from Boneville by Jeff Smith

  1. This is a great comic. It took me a while to get past the fact that this was epic quest fantasy and not just slapstick humor. But my goodness, you’ve got so much good stuff waiting for you 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This was the comic that really got me into comics and graphic novels. The entire series is my lol-time favorite. The blend of high fantasy storytelling and classic cartoon comedy is top-notch. At a Comic-Con panel I was fortunate enough to meet Jeff Smith (he signed my copy of this first issue!) and said Lord of the Rings and Walt Kelly’s Pogo were massive influences. I hope you check out the rest because, though I hold this issue very near and dear to my heart, it keeps getting better from here. (And I’m pumped for the Netflix series we’re finally getting!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohhhh I love your love for this series! I know that the premise of this series and the artwork has me interested enough to want to continue till the end no matter what and hopefully it only gets better now that all the introduction is done in this first volume. And yes! I do hope the Netflix series will do it justice. I can soooo see it get a nice cartoon adaptation for everyone to enjoy. 😀 Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve seen this character before but never knew anything about the series, and I certainly had no idea it was an epic fantasy. Sounds like a great story for the right reader.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hm, interesting – it certainly sounds different and I’ve always had a vague awareness of this series (more so when the Netflix series was announced). It seems all the disparate elements of character, plot and world building are laid down in this first volume and maybe it will get better in subsequent instalments – maybe the humour will become more consistent as the writing develops. Great review sir!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I only learned of the Netflix series after reading this one hahaha I can totally see it work though but yes, the first volume definitely established the tone. I look forward to seeing how the next arcs will build on it. Thanks for reading, Chris! Hope you’re doing well.

      Liked by 1 person

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