“Bone: Tall Tales”

BONE 25th ANNIVERSARY REVIEW: “Bone: Tall Tales” is a collection of six comics written by Jeff Smith (Rasl, Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil) and Tom Sniegoski (B.P.R.D.: The Hollow Earth, Punisher) and illustrated by Smith. It was published on August 1, 2010, and was colorized by Steve Hamaker. After Phoney Bone, Bartleby, and their forest scouts settle down to make camp, Phoney tells a few tall tales to give entertainment. These stories involve both on the Bone cousins as well as the founder of Boneville, Big Johnson Bone.

Another separate, but in the same universe, novel, “Tall Tales” is essentially a collection of its title, though most of them center around one figure: Big Johnson Bone. This particular Bone is the one who founded Boneville, and is a key figure to many of the city’s inhabitants. I recall having fun with this book when I first read it. The small stories were entertaining and different from what I’ve read in Smith’s main work. After looking over this again, I can say that I hold the same opinion. This is a nice little read filled with enough fun adventure to excite any “Bone” fans. The artwork is terrific and the development of Big Johnson Bone and his crew was done well. They are really the fill-ins for the Bone cousins, even though they consist of a mule, a strong Bone, and a monkey named Mr. Pip. There’s some good, light-hearted humor to this, and it gave insight as to why the rat creatures cut off their tales in their first year of life. I liked the story to that, and commend Tom Sniegoski for his skills in storytelling. They sync nicely to what Smith would normally write, causing almost no change in tone or style. It’s interesting how Smith signed him on to write all of Big Johnson Bone’s stuff, though it worked in his favor and I’m sure it was a good experience to draw for another man’s story of your own creation. Of the tall tales given, I’d rank them in the order of four, one, three, and two. Tall tale number four, the lost tale of Big Johnson Bone, is the clear winner of this being as how it’s the most developed and gives a more enriching story. I won’t go into spoilers for those who want to read this, but I will say that Smith only wrote tall tale number one, which was the only one involving the Bone cousins. I liked that one primarily for its humor, earning it the spot of second place in my heart. The other two could be interchangeable, though tall tale number three popped more on the page and had a more witty story. There isn’t much to this book besides entertaining the reader with some small tales that spark interest and dive deeper into the “Bone” universe. It’s harmless and I had a fun time reading it. I wouldn’t place it amongst most of the “Bone” books, however, mainly because of its purpose. It’s not necessarily a flaw, but more of an opinion based on meaning. I’d still recommend avid “Bone” fans to read this for it is a blast. It’s a short read, mind you, though it’s refreshing and different from what Smith typically puts out, while retaining the same enjoyment that is given by the main “Bone” books. I enjoyed my time reading “Tall Tales.” FINAL SCORE: 86%= Juicy Popcorn

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