The Great Cow Race ★★★★☆

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Title: The Great Cow Race
Series: Bone #10
Author: Jeff Smith
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 29
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Boneville.fandom.com

Phoney’s plan suddenly goes wrong when Lucius bets the Barrelhaven Tavern on Gran’ma Ben to win. Knowing it will take ages to pay off that debt, Phoney lets Smiley know that he has to win but ends up in the cow suit with him. When Gran’ma Ben tries to get a good look at the Mystery Cow, they fall off the ridge they had been running on while trying to avoid her and land in a pack of sleeping Rat Creatures, who awake and begin to chase them. Fone Bone, who has now caught up, runs side by side with a startlingly cheerful Smiley, while Phoney wishes for his death. While they run the cows and Rat Creatures cross each other causing the race to fall into disaster, and Gran’ma Ben wins in the confusion.

My Thoughts:

Another “Stupid, stupid rat creatures!” moment. Loved it!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Mystery Cow ★★★✬☆

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Title: The Mystery Cow
Series: Bone #9
Author: Jeff Smith
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 28
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Boneville.fandom.com

Everybody now seems to be betting on the Mystery Cow instead of Gran’ma Ben, but Lucius talks to Wendell, Euclid, Johnathon Oaks, and Rory. They tell him about how that they are betting on the Mystery Cow instead of Gran’ma Ben, however Lucius tells them that Phoney Bone is playing them for a bunch of saps. They then demand that Phoney shows them the cow or they’ll take back their livestock and destroy his booth. When they go to see they hear a great deal of noise and racket, and are convinced they there is a monstrous cow inside. They head to the race, sure it will beat Gran’ma Ben. Meanwhile, Fone Bone meets Ted the Bug, who gives him advice on his romance with Thorn. Ted convinces Fone Bone to write love poems for Thorn. While he is making poems, the Two Rat Creatures attack him again, and he runs for his life.

My Thoughts:

Thorn gets jilted by Farmer Tom (Mr Muscles from the previous issue) as he explores the Fair with another dusky eyed woman. Thorn doesn’t seem too broken up about it though, so we’ll see if it has any lasting impact on the story.

Phoney. My goodness, I know I talk about him every issue but how has that guy survived this long? Of course, the group of people he’s shown to be scamming are a bunch of dimwits (Smith is such an urbanite and puts his ignorance about the country on display for all to see) and I can see them falling for Phoney’s line of bull. But some of these guys are BIIIIIG and I wonder that Phoney isn’t worried about one of them trying to take his head off with their fists after they realize they’ve been scammed.

Fone starts writing poetry out in the woods and it was as cliched as you could expect. Him getting kidnapped by the Stupid, Stupid Rat Creatures amusing though. The issue ends with a picture of the area Fone had been writing in abandoned and his letter lying on the ground.

I have to admit, I’m in NO rush to get to the next issue. Part of that may be because I’ve read the whole series already and kind of know where things are going, but really, since I read this back in ’07 I’ve forgotten whole swathes of the plot and reading it this way (issue by issue instead of in one giant gulp) is like reading it for the first time all over again. Knowing that it is ended also helps curb any impatience I might have otherwise felt. This is not an action oriented series (unlike the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and so the slow pace I’m reading it at fits perfectly. I am on a slow boat to Boneville and am enjoying the scenery on the shore while drifting lazily down the river.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Cave ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Cave
Series: Bone #8
Author: Jeff Smith
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 28
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Boneville.fandom.com

At the betting booth (which Phoney made himself), Phoney Bone convinces Euclid to bet one goat on the Mystery Cow (which is actually Smiley in a costume) instead of three shovels. Fone Bone arrives and questions Phoney about the rat creatures attacking Gran’ma Ben’s Farm. Phoney claims he has no idea why they did so but Fone Bone refuses to believe him. Smiley Bone has also arrived and has a unconvincing cow suit. Later at night, Thorn has a dream about her as a young child in the dragon’s cave. Right after she wakes up Fone Bone and tells him not to wake the others. She tells Fone Bone that she used to have this dream as a little girl, but it eventually stopped. After Fone Bone showed her the map she started having the dreams again, and she also claims that she drew the map. They decide to tell Gran’ma Ben about all this after this after the race, so she isn’t stressed out before the race.

My Thoughts:

The mystery thickens! Much like a gravy sauce in fact. We find out Thorn has been having dreams about the map that led the Bones into the forest and she thinks she is the one who drew it. We get hints that not only does Gran’ma Ben know the red dragon but that there is a whole slew of dragons that Thorn met as a little girl. Whom she was dropped off into by a mysterious robed stranger. I’m getting serious lost princess vibes here.

Phoney starts up a betting booth and is pushing everyone he can towards the Mystery Cow, which is just going to be Smiley in a homemade cow costume. Why Phoney thinks he is going to get away with this is beyond me. Considering how his antics got the Bones run out of Boneville, it’s very evident he hasn’t learned his lesson, not even one bit. The problem is that Fone and Smiley keep enabling him. What they need to do is leave him alone and let some villagers kill Phoney when he tries one of his scams on them. They won’t do that though so the scams keep on happening.

The issue ends with Fone advising Thorn to wake up Gran’ma Ben and talk about the map and her dreams. Thorn wants to defer it until after the cow race tomorrow. So you know something BAAAAD is going to happen because of that delay. It’s just like those horror movies where the kids hide in a shed filled with farm implements. Worst idea ever that never turns out well.

Reading this so slowly feels like I am getting a drip feed. At the same time, it is helping me to slow down and not gulp the whole story. While I might not remember a lot of details in 10 years, I am paying attention now, which wouldn’t happen if I was reading the Complete One Volume Bone like I did before. I’d liken it to sitting in a garden and watching Bob Ross paint his little broccoli trees.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Spring Fair ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Spring Fair
Series: Bone #7
Author: Jeff Smith
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 28
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Boneville.fandom.com

The book starts off with Fone Bone and Thorn walking around the fair. Thorn wants to go get some honey and they find a honeyseller named Tom. Tom flirts with Thorn, upsetting Fone Bone. Fone Bone lashes out at Tom, acting in a way that Thorn had never seen before. After a few cruel insults from Tom and ruder comebacks from Fone Bone, Thorn (feeling embarrassed) decides to walk around the fair herself. Fone Bone decides to get honey for Thorn from a giant beehive to try to show that she doesn’t need a jerk like Tom to get her honey. He finds a gigantic bee defending the hive, who was not affected by the smoke that was supposed to make it fall asleep. In fact, the bee thinks it is a cigar and begins to smoke it. After being stung by the bee, Fone Bone manages to get a giant honeycomb only to find Thorn chatting under a tree with Tom. Meanwhile Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone are planing their scam by getting out the word that Gran’ma Ben is to old to win the race. Gran’ma Ben is jogging for her training and notices that people are not betting on her like they normally do and starts feeling down.

My Thoughts:

With Phoney spreading rumors that Gran’ma Ben isn’t up to snuff, by the end it is easy to see that it is affecting her, hearing that people don’t believe in her any more. While people can defy expectations, many a time they live up to, or down to as the case may be, the expectations set by others. I’d like to believe that Smith is delving deep here, but I’m not sure and wouldn’t be surprised if it’s just a plot device. It does show that Phoney is probably going to lose (as he’s betting everything on Gran’ma Ben) and as such he’ll do yet another stupid thing that will hurt a lot of people. I think that’s the reason I am beginning to dislike Phoney, no matter how colorful he is, he hurts people without caring that he does, even when he knows he is hurting them.

This is also a time for Fone to realize that Thorn isn’t in love with him, as she’s so cavalier about him leaving in a few weeks. Her interacting with Farm Boy McMuscles doesn’t help the situation any either. It got me to thinking, what do female Bones look like? Do they wear sexy negligees? ARE there female Bones? And if not, where do little Bones come from? The Bone Stork? I bet Smith didn’t imagine his lack of detail about the greater society of Bones would have ramifications like this!

I have to admit, I am not a fan of Thorn taking up with Farmer Boy McMuscles. Not that I really want her and Fone to become more than friends, but McMuscles just seems a bit off to me. We’ll have to see what happens in the future. I did find it amusing when Fone and McMuscles started posturing. Jeff Smith really lets loose with the comedy that is inherent in comics. Here’s the picture:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Phoney’s Inferno ★★★✬☆

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Title: Phoney’s Inferno
Series: Bone #6
Author: Jeff Smith
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 28
Words: 1K





Synopsis:

From Boneville.fandom.com

Fone Bone, Thorn, and The Great Red Dragon find Gran’ma Ben alive. Upon seeing the dragon, Gran’ma Ben isn’t as surprised as Thorn is, they both greet admitting that it’s been awhile and leaves. Phoney Bone now has to work for Lucius to pay off his debt since they don’t use money here and while he plans his scam to get rich, he is visited by The Hooded One who claims that he wants his soul (and the death of Fone Bone, because he woke up the Great Red Dragon). Fone Bone, Thorn and Gran’ma Ben arrive at Barrelhaven. Fone Bone finds Phoney and Smiley and the three cousins are reunited at last (although Fone Bone begins to strangle Phoney after tricking him).

My Thoughts:

As has been hinted at in the earlier issues, Gran’ma Ben is more than meets the eye. Not only does she survive the rat attack, but when Fone and Thorn “introduce” the dragon to her, it’s quite apparent that they already know each other and that she’s not impressed by it. Whatever the “Big War” she mentioned obviously had its heroes back in the day and my bet is that Gran’ma Ben was one of them.

It is ALSO quite apparent that Phoney made some sort of deal with the Hooded One, who has now come to collect. That piqued my curiosity, as it really comes out of nowhere. I’m looking forward to how Smith fleshes out that aspect of the story. Of course, it fits perfectly that Phoney would make a deal to sell his soul and then try to renege on it.

One thing that is quite apparent is that Fone Bone, while ostensibly the main character, is actually more of a vehicle for the reader to piggyback on than an actual character. Both Phoney and Smiley have clothes and characteristics that set them apart, while Fone is just a small Bone character, clothesless and while not characterless, not very inspiring. It could become bothersome so I’m going to try to remember that Fone Bone is the mouthpiece of Smith and not some sort of Conan character.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Barrelhaven (Bone #5) ★★★✬☆

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Title: Barrelhaven
Series: Bone #5
Author: Jeff Smith
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 28
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Boneville.fandom.com

The rat creature surround the farmhouse and Gran’ma Ben tells Fone Bone and Thorn to run while she fights off the rat creatures. While running the two get surrounded by rat creatures and Fone Bone calls out for The Great Red Dragon’s help. The dragon appears and chases the army away. The dragon returns Fone Bone and Thorn to the farmhouse to find it destroyed. Phoney Bone arrives at the Barrelhaven Tavern and finds Smiley Bone who is working there as a bartender. He also meets Lucius Down, the owner of the tavern and gets on his bad side as well. Phoney learns that they don’t use money here, meaning that he has to work at the tavern to pay of his debt.

My Thoughts:

Man, Phoney Bone just can’t seem to keep his mouth shut or to stay out of trouble. 10 minutes in the tavern and he’s already a problem child. It makes me wonder how he got so rich in the first place! He’s not that clever, just more clever than either of his cousins. Which isn’t saying much, hahahahaa!

Gran’ma Ben reveals a side that while not unexpected (she does race cows and wins after all), isn’t what you’d expect. Busting through her own walls, throttling the rat creatures and saying how she’d be just fine because she fought in the “Big War”. There is history to this valley that none of the Bone’s are aware of nor does it seem like Thorn is either. The dragon reveals himself fully to Thorn in rescuing Fone and in the process reveals that there is some sort of agreement between him and Kingdok (the king of the rat creatures), probably going back to said “Big War”.

With just a few phrases, Smith has given the readers clues that this valley is not just an idyllic place that the Bones have stumbled into and brought trouble with them. Trouble has already been here and beaten back. What is amazing is the fact that he just used a few phrases. He isn’t spending the next 6 issues fleshing out the history and telling us every single detail and removing our chance to use our imagination. But he doesn’t leave the past alone either. It’s a fine line to walk (a line which Spawn failed miserably at) and I think he does an admirable job of balancing it all.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Muppet Treasure Island (1996 Movie)

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Muppet Treasure Island is the fifth Muppet Movie (Muppets from Space wasn’t made until 1999) and I must say, I think it edges out even A Muppet Christmas Carol. So far, only the original Muppet Movie has been better. Which is to say, this is one fantastic movie..

Loosely based, and I mean LOOSELY, on Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island, this version takes the story’s outline and completely makes it its own. Which works surprisingly well. Part of it is because it is so silly and everyone leans into that silliness. It also helps that Tim Curry as Long John Silver just throws himself into the role and drags you along with him. He makes you think “Well, if Tim Curry can act like this then the least I can do is enjoy the silliness”. It takes chops for that.

While not a huge hit financially, it helped revive interest in the Muppets and I suspect propelled the Muppets Tonight show onto the silver screen (which failed. Without Jim Henson or Frank Oz, the Muppets are missing their soul). What this movie did correctly was show that the current Muppet creators need a good, already existing story for the Muppets to hang their frame on. Could you imagine Muppets 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, or Muppets Don Quixote? Of course, I am well read. I’m not sure if the average American would have any interest or even know what the stories were based on. But come on, can’t you see Kermit as Don Quixote and Fozzie Bear as Sancho and Miss Piggy as Dulcinea? I tell you, it’s just money waiting to happen!

But that is getting off track.

I had a lot of fun watching this and even Mrs B enjoyed it because of the many musical interludes. Some were stupid and sappy, like soprano Jim Hawkins (ugh) singing about adventure but then you have Cabin Fever, probably the song I remember most from any Muppet adventure, movie or tv. Below is the youtube embed of the song and about a minute and a half of the movie after it. This is the tone of the movie and if you don’t find it hilarious, you probably won’t enjoy the movie as a whole either.

Since this movie was so good, I want to keep the good times rolling. I’m going to be starting in on the Fraggle Rock tv series for next month. I’ve heard good things about that and since it was done by Jim Henson in the early 80’s I’m pretty sure it WILL be good.

Onward!

Kingdok (Bone #4) ★★★✬☆

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Title: Kingdok
Series: Bone #4
Author: Jeff Smith
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 28
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Boneville.fandom.com

The day before the spring fair Fone Bone and Phoney Bone do chores around the farmhouse. After Fone Bone tells Phoney about the great cow race and how they bet on the races Phoney Bone thinks of a new scam and runs off to Barrelhaven. While traveling to Barrelhaven, Phoney Bone encounters the two rat creatures and Kingdok. He overhears that they are looking for a “small bald creature with a star on its chest”. The rat creatures are summoned to a high council by “The Hooded One” who sends every rat creature in the valley to attack the farmhouse.

My Thoughts:

Things take a turn for the serious here. Not only are the 2 rat creatures here, but we are introduced to their king, Kingdok, who is on a scale larger than them as they are to Fone Bone. And we meet the Hooded One, who appears to be leading Kingdok, and who knows the dragon that is guarding Fone.

Phoney Bone is still causing trouble on the farm but runs away to the town to do some betting. He overhears the 2 rats and Kingdok and I do wish he’d been caught and eaten. Oh well, can’t have everything I want in a comic I guess.

The issue ending with a horde of rat creatuers surrounding the farm of Gran’ma Ben really hits home the point that this comic is not going to be a bunch of panels of talking heads (like the Peanuts) or one issue gags (like Garfield). Smith has a big story to tell and I felt like we as readers fell down the rabbit hole in this issue. There’s no going back and no way out except forward.

If you’d like a review of the whole series at once (I’m going to be taking years at this pace), Jeroen recently reviewed the Complete Bone. Just remember, he’s a jaded european, not a bright, cheery, optimistic American like me. So take his review with a grain or three of salt 😉

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Thorn (Bone #2) ★★★★☆

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Title: Thorn
Series: Bone #2
Authors: Jeff Smith
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 28
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Boneville.fandom.com

Fone Bone is now living in the Valley and has befriended some of the woodland creatures. Near the end of winter, his friend Miz Possum has Fone Bone babysit her kids for a short time while she goes to visit Miz Hedgehog. While playing with him, the kids run out of the house and get caught by the Rat Creatures. Fone Bone snatches the kids from the Rat Creatures and tells them to run while he creatures a distraction. The Rat Creatures chase Fone Bone for awhile but they are again chased away by The Great Red Dragon. The dragon gives him a brief blast of fire (at this Fone Bone questions his choice to let the Rat Creatures go) and tells him to “never use an ace when a two will do.” Fone Bone finds the Possum Kids, who have managed to get to Miz Possum safely. They acknowledge he was chased by Rat Creatures but don’t know the part about the dragon (The kids claim that dragons don’t exist, and their mother (plus Miz Hedgehog) agree, saying that he was adding to his “dashing” story). Fuming, he goes to the hot springs to take a bath and finds a beautiful woman and almost immediately falls head over heels in love. She tells Fone Bone that her name is Thorn (who Ted told him to find). Unfortunately for Fone Bone, she has never heard of Boneville but offers to help by letting him stay at the farmhouse which Fone Bone accepts.

My Thoughts:

Once again, Smith has impressed the everliving daylights out of me with this single comic issue. Fone Bone has an adventure, learns about the valley, meets Thorn and falls in love. All in 28 pages.

He has another run in with the rat creatures and the dragon saves him but nobody seems to believe that the dragon is real and only Thorn believes the rat creatures are real. And Fone is disappointed to learn that Thorn has no idea where Boneville is, so she’ll not be able to help him return.

Smith’s humor is a bit skewed and I really like it. I’ve included a pix here to illustrate it:

While it’s not a Laugh Out Loud moment, it does showcase that sly humor mixed with slapstick that really appeals to me.

I like that so far, each of these comics has advanced the plot in a decided direction. Here Fone meets Thorn and begins his quest to find his cousins. It is a concrete goal with real steps being taken to follow through on it. No dream sequences or social commentary or other “messages”. Just Smith telling a fun story.

Bravo.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Doom Marines!

Back in January I wrote a post about how I’d gotten the Doom board game and some markers and other Tools of the Trade. This was my foray into the world of miniature painting, errr, markering? I think it is obvious that since this is my first follow up post that I am in no danger of turning into a hobby miniaturist. All pictures should be clickable for bigger pix.

Here are the 4 Space Marines facing off against a slightly obscured (unmarkered) Duke of Hell. The marines are supposed to be Blue, Green, Red and Yellow. The red was a bit darker than I expected and the “yellow” really turned more of a lime green. I suspect the tan of the mini’s themselves played a part in that.

These are the yellow and blue that I just finished yesterday. Unfortunately, my camera phone doesn’t like taking really close pictures. But you can see that I stuck with the “silver” scheme for the weapons, black for boots and hands and then one solid color for the base and body. You will never win any Aesthetic Awards using markers and I’m even worse. Just look at the feet. But all I need is a bit of color to liven up the game. No masterpieces here!

Thankfully, Mrs B’s phone has a “focus” function. You can really see here how the coverage isn’t that great. I’m sure I could go over it again with the ultra-fine marker and try to fill in the gaps, but that is not going to happen. My eyes aren’t good enough to see this unaided, so what do I care?

My next goal is to get a couple of the doom demons markered up. I will say that all the little details on these mini’s makes using markers a very sub-optimal option, IF making them look good is your goal. I think the markers would work much better on broad flat surfaces.

Considering my track record, if I can get in one more “Minis” post before New Years I’ll be doing well 😀