In OUT FROM BONEVILLE, volume 1 of this 9-book epic, the three Bone cousins Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone are separated and lost in a vast, uncharted desert. One by one, they find their way into a deep, forested valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures. Eventually, the cousins are reunited at a farmstead run by tough Gran'ma Ben and her spirited granddaughter Thorn. But little do the Bones know, there are dark forces conspiring against them, and their adventures are only just beginning!
As his clean, fluid drawing style makes clear, Smith was an animator before he began Bone -- his images always suggest how his characters move in space -- and a lot of his best tricks are animators' tricks. (The imperturbable matriarch Gran'ma Ben has exactly two, nearly identical facial expressions, a sour grimace and a sour grin.) He has also picked up his knack for comedy from old animated cartoons. A pair of hairy, slavering "rat creatures" arguing about whether to stew their victim or bake him into a "light, fluffy quiche" (while he gets away) is pure Daffy Duck; that the creatures still seem terrifyingly menacing a few pages later says a lot about Smith's dramatic range.