Bone: Tall Tales

bone tall tales cover jeff smith scholastic
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 9/10

Great Jeff Smith art, a continuation of the story

Not as inspiring as the original comic

Comic Info

Book Title:   Bone:  Tall Tales

Publisher:   Scolastic

Writer:   Jeff Smith/Tom Sniegoski

Artist:   Jeff Smith

Release Date:   2010

bone stupid stupid rat tails #1 cover jeff smith

Stupid, Stupid Rat Tails #1

Smiley has agreed to take the Bone Scouts and Bartleby camping…but you can’t have camping without stories by the fire.  With the Bone Scouts and Bartleby as his enchanted listeners, Smiley tells them the tales of the adventurer Big Johnson Bone and his venture into the Big Valley long before Smiley, Fone, and Phoney found it. Big Johnson Bone’s encountered changed the course of the Valley and altered the lives of Rat Creatures forever!

Bone:  Tall Tales is a compilation book which contains part of the series Stupid, Stupid Rat Tails #1-3 (December 1999-February 2000) by Tom Sniegoski in addition to new, original material by Jeff Smith.  The standalone story was reprinted along with the color reprints of Bone by Scholastic.

I loved Bone, but I primarily liked the Bones.  Both Stupid, Stupid Rat Tails and Rose were nice addendums to the series, but I always preferred to stick to the core storyline.  Rereading Bone:  Tall Tales reminds me why.

Bone:  Tall Tales isn’t bad, but it also isn’t Bone.  The story since it is short stories is rather fragmented and Big Johnson Bone just isn’t as compelling of a character as the cousins.  Tom Sniegoski took the idea of American folklore like Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill and wrapped it up into the story.

bone stupid stupid rat tails #2 cover jeff smith

Stupid, Stupid Rat Tails #2

I love the Rat Creatures so the story does have that going for it.  It is kind of odd that Smith allowed Sniegoski to reveal the “secret origin” of his great creations, but I imagine he had a lot of say on how the story was scripted and presented.  The loss of the tails due to Big Bone Johnson fits in with the folklore aspect of the story but still isn’t as fun as the original series.

Fortunately, Jeff Smith did provide the art for both the series and the story.  I think Rose worked because of how the story evolved, but taking another artist for this story just wouldn’t have worked.  The Bones feel like they belong to Smith even more so than some other comic creations…they’re design is simple, but Smith breathes so much life into them in his work.

If you are a fan of Bone or a parent who wants more Bone to read to their kid, this volume is a much more family friendly version than some of the later volumes of Bone itself.  The story is for completionists but still provides a quick Bone fix for those who miss the characters…plus, it is nice to see that  the characters moved on after they left the Valley.

Related Links:

Bone 1:  Out from Boneville

Bone 2:  The Great Cow Race

Bone 3:  Eyes of the Storm

Bone 4:  The Dragonslayer

Bone:  Rose

Bone:  Quest for the Spark—Book 1

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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