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Graphic Novels for Children and Young AdultsA Collection of Critical Essays$
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Michelle Ann Abate and Gwen Athene Tarbox

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781496811677

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496811677.001.0001

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“This Is a Well-Loved Book”: Weighing (in on) Jeff Smith’s Bone

“This Is a Well-Loved Book”: Weighing (in on) Jeff Smith’s Bone

Chapter:
(p.19) 1 “This Is a Well-Loved Book”: Weighing (in on) Jeff Smith’s Bone
Source:
Graphic Novels for Children and Young Adults
Author(s):

Annette Wannamaker

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496811677.003.0002

This chapter considers the production history of Jeff Smith's Bone, a 1,332-page epic comics text that has been published in multiple editions designed to appeal to both children and adult readers. It argues that the blending of disparate genres, mediums, narratives, conventions, and illustrative styles that characterizes Bone—telling an epic narrative in the comics medium; Smith's use of his training as an animator to create perfectly timed gags on paper instead of film; interspersing slapstick comedy with a dark adventure narrative and meditations on dreams and dreaming; making a pretty girl an epic hero, her grandmother a warrior, and her great aunt a powerful villain in a literary form long dominated by male heroes who are often preserving the honor of princesses in need of rescue or protection; and Smith's use of iconic figures instead of realistically drawn characters to tell a serious story—is what allows Bone to take several different physical forms and to attract a broad audience of readers from different age groups.

Keywords:   comics, epic, Bone, Jeff Smith, children's literature, young adult novels

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