While at that comic shop a week ago, I also picked up Jeff Smith's Bone: Ghost Circles and Rose (the latter illustrated by Charles Vess). The Bone series -- of which Ghost Circles is the seventh collection, and to which Rose is a prequel -- came highly recommended to me by multiple sources, but after reading all the available material so far, I'm not sure why. It's a perfectly fine comic -- the art is professional, if not quite beautiful; the characterization and writing are very good; the setting is original; and the plotting is competent -- but that's all it is.

In the first book, we get our basic setup: the three Bones (who are, in fact, something akin to walking, talking bones) are kicked out of their home, and wander into a magic valley with quaint medievalesque inhabitants, dragons, and nasty (but stupid) rat-creatures. Things start off fairly light, but as the series progresses, the plot darkens considerably -- and not entirely satisfactorily. The first few books, where the story was the lightest, are the most enjoyable part of the series; the later darkening only serves to move them from a uniquely whimsical niche into a more crowded epic fantasy arena.

If you're not a big comics fan, you can safely skip these. If you are, it's worth picking up at least the first Bone book, and deciding from there if you want to keep reading. For my part, I'm a total sucker for the medium (a competent graphic novel is nearly as satisfying to me as an excellent novel), and Bone is good enough to keep me buying indefinitely.


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