I’ve always been a little late in reading Bone. I heard about the hype early on during its publication and it sounded interesting, but the art scared me a little: it was a little cute. I’d see reviews by authors and critics that I enjoyed and respected, but as I said, it seemed… cute. Multiple awards helped sway me to give Bone a try.
I picked up the first trade paperback in 1994 or so and quickly purchased the other two that were available at the time. My assumptions about the art were correct, but it was also very detailed and fun. The contrast of the occasional darkness of the story was compelling and there was always humor right around the corner. Because the issues took so long to come out and it was a fairly quick comic “meal” in collected form, I was never on top of the collections when they were released. I would pick them up sometime after and once even waited until there were two collections to be read! This way of reading didn’t keep me up-to-date and doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the Bone saga, I just wanted it all now! After seeing the indy creation become successful, the fans were teased with the possibility of a Bone movie. Sadly, that has yet to happen. With the current indifference to old 2-D animation and great popularity of 3-D animation with audiences, I don’t know if we will ever get to see that animated Bone film. But, for now, we now can enjoy the Bone saga nearing an end with Treasure Hunters, the penultimate collection.
After travelling through the Ghost Circles, the Bones (Fone, Phoney and Smiley), Thorn and Gran’ma Ben reach the ancient land of Atheia. Lucius Down and Ted the Bug are still with the villagers, lost in the desert. Running low on water, not even sure if Atheia still stands, and the present danger of Ghost Circles, Lucius decides the best path is to follow the rat creatures’ tracks. Lucius is unaware of the growing mutiny because of what a villager saw a few days ago concerning himself.
We discover further clues to the mystery of Thorn. Meanwhile, the tense mood lightens with Phoney Bone and Smiley as Phoney hatches another scheme to gather some gold. Of course, he newly mints the gold coins with an imprint of HIS face.
The darker aspects of the story grow as Gran’ma leads the group to her old friend, the Dreaming Master, for advice on what their next step should be. The Stickeater’s motives and violent flashes are seen as we again see that this story does have real depth and danger.
Because of Jeff Smith’s characterization and personality of Fone Bone, Thorn ends up telling Gran’ma and the Dreaming Master about the visit (vision) of her dead mother and her advice to “seek the Crown of Horns,” which happens to be the title of the final Bone collection. Though simply conveyed, the expressive artwork of the Dreaming Master shows us just how important this key bit of information is.
With one book left in the Bone saga, we are left with a ominous cliffhanger… “We’re not ready…” With only a small wait to finish the complete story, now the question for fans is do I start from the beginning and then grab the final few comic book issues, wait until July for the Crown of Thorns hardcover or wait until August or September for the comparatively inexpensive, yet bulky, complete 1,300-page Bone saga?