For the first appearance. The first book and issue #1 called The Map begins with Phoney, Fone, and Smiley looking out for the townspeople and Phoney looking wiped out. Apparently they’d been chased out of Boneville a couple weeks before and Phoney hadn’t gotten over it yet. Whilst he pities his lot in life, his cousin’s try to lighten his mood, unsuccessfully. Smiley tries to show him how money hasn’t affected his happiness in the least, not having any. Phoney dismisses his happiness quickly to see if Fone Bone has figured out their current whereabouts and subsequently realizes they’ve gone off the map and won’t be able to figure out where they are, which is when Phoney figures out Smiley is drinking all their water and begins to most likely hyperventilate into exaggerated dehydration, which is when Smiley discovers a map of the area they’re in and tries to bribe a dollar out of Phoney for it; they convince him to do it and then get swarmed by locusts.
Fone Bone falls into a gully and is separated from the other two, but soon is too distracted by dissecting the map he’s found on the ground to see two big eyes peeking out of a cave, he then climbs back out of the ravine; whilst climbing he’s talking aloud and complaining about Phoney’s incompetence and need of his help for every little thing when he realizes he’s climbed up the wrong side of the cliff and panics, then yells for Phoney’s help; ha-ha. Fone then sees the cigar butts Smiley is known to dispose of and follows them, Hansel and Gretel-style up a mountain, still hoping to catch up before night falls, doesn’t happen, but falls asleep. After, we see from the rat creatures pondering to Fone’s being the chosen one and once realizing he isn’t, deciding he’ll be supper, but the Red Dragon intervenes, saving his life and asking for a light when Fone wakes up, believing what he half-heard was a dream, being startled when seeing the Red Dragon upon lighting the cigar and then confused when the Red Dragon disappears after he lights a second match. When Fone believes he’s lost Smiley’s trail and questions the map’s validity, he wanders into the most beautiful green mecca sort of place with the waterfall shown on the map. Fone soon picks up Smiley’s cigar trail and almost takes out Ted the bug and after a misunderstanding is talking with Ted’s big brother about whether he knows where Boneville is, which he doesn’t. When the big brother goes on his way, Ted helps out Fone by taking him to Thorn.
Then the rat creatures show up and once they spot Fone walking by, try to lure him into a bush and Ted scurries off, taking no part of it, which sets an alarm off for Fone and so he tries to run after him, at first getting caught, but then being released since the two were arguing about the first rat creature’s conduct toward the second and then not agreeing on how to cook Fone, asking Fone to return in an hour; good one. Then we see Fone calling after Ted and running into water, enjoying quenching his thirst and hoping to reunite with his cousins. Then he gets whumped by winter, not getting out in time, which was some advice from Ted’s big brother, making a simple camp with some woodland creatures, ending the first chapter; this is much more interesting than I expected, I’m quite enjoying it.
Chapter and issue #2 starts with Fone still camping out and dressing as warmly as he can, which isn’t much. Fone is visited by a Miz Possum who’s been helping him get along whilst in the forest by himself during the cold winter. After giving Fone more essential items for his comfort she asks him to watch her kids whilst she goes to see Miz Hedgehog. When he gets the kids into his little house-hut he’d been finishing, he hears them crashing around and trying to calm them with suggesting a story, the kids swiftly decide a game of what they’re best at would be better, which Fone concedes. Soon though, their game includes going outside, which is when they get captured by the rat creatures and Fone needs to swipe them back and retreat, which he does, but now must figure out a diversion so they stop putting up a chase. Fone collapses, shouting about his ankle and distracts them over the one rat creature’s breath, which gives him time to tunnel away through the snow, which they realize too soon, following him again. He tries to lose them by stowing himself on a tiny branch, but doesn’t keep them away and they all fall into a lake. When Fone tries to get away again, he hurts his ankle in earnest and with perfect timing, the Red Dragon is present. Fone Bone doesn’t act properly thankful and starts to shout about letting them get away, what with they also going after the kids he was babysitting, arrogantly thinking because the dragon hadn’t used his ability to throw flame at them, he didn’t have it, which the dragon proved wrong by demonstration.
After, the dragon moves along and Miz Possum shows up with her kids, relieved Fone was alright and when expressing to them he’d hobnobbed with a dragon, their mother doesn’t believe his story, but the kids were excited to learn of it. Fone is a bit peeved Miz Possum didn’t take his sighting seriously and seethes about booking it as soon as the smallest sign of spring is noticed with or without finding his cousins. He then hears a noise and sees a young lady crossing a stream and humming to herself and sees her undressing, visibly burning Fone up upon sight and once noticing his fiery scalp, yelps, falling backwards, which alerts the girl and when she sees him, offers him a place near her in the pool. When Fone gets closer, it takes but a moment to realize he’s completely smitten and immediately supplies her with his name instead of answering her initial question. When she introduces herself, Fone recognizes her name from when Ted was trying to lead him earlier. Thorn seems dubious once hearing he has cousins and had contacted a dragon, but once she learns he’d seen two rat creatures, she starts to take him more seriously. She asks him to take her hand and he’s completely oblivious to her instructions after and soon she’s walking him through the forest back to her home whilst he forgets the reason he’s trying to get back to his own home.
Issue and chapter 3 starts with Phoney Bone looking irritable, walking through the forest and then showing Fone Bone being awoken by Thorn and not remembering where he was and recognizing Thorn enormously until after she mentions his breakfast of cakes and tea and he breaks his fast, soon circling back to his realization of love. After he eats, Thorn gives him the task of doing dishes whilst she chops firewood, but Fone decides it’s a man’s job and makes himself look a bit foolish when he tries to get the axe out of the stump. She then decides the wood can wait and they go to get water instead, which is where she gives him advice on what to say and what not to when her Gran’ma Ben comes home later, not mentioning the dragon he saw, for instance. He tries to convince her of the dragon’s reality and when she moves away from the well, still not believing him, the dragon pops out, seemingly to rub it in Fone’s face, he not taking it kindly, at all.
When Fone heads back towards Thorn, she’s found his knapsack and he shows her the books he’d brought for entertainment, showing her some comic books he’d stored for Smiley, which she’d not seen before and then when he trying to summarize what Moby Dick is about, she pretends to fall asleep, which he doesn’t take well. She then detects the map Smiley had found and ponders over it for a few moments confiding in him it reminded her of a dream, but wanting to move along since her Gran’ma will be home soon. Then we move to the scene where Phoney Bone is grumping out of the forest and the first appearance comic begins. Phoney is still griping about his life when he runs into the Red Dragon. After he’s started to make the Dragon start to smoke a bit from his arrogance, Ted comes to save him from getting toasty. Phoney is still surly, due to his nature and Ted soon leads him to Thorn’s Gran’ma. They see her heading back home and Phoney makes his usual impression before she takes him to her home.
Then we see Thorn is making her special apple pie for her Gran’ma when she hears her coming back. Soon they see Phoney is riding the back of a cow and his speedy entrance into the house. They see he’d landed in the fireplace on top of their dinner, Gran’ma rushing to get him out of it, before he ruined it. Gran’ma Ben is already saying no to Thorn’s trying to get her to let Fone and Phoney stay, but then she smells the pie Thorn had been baking. Meanwhile Fone and Phoney are trying to figure out where they’d both seen Smiley last and then Phoney asks to be introduced to Thorn, since she’s so good-lookin’; after which, Gran’ma Ben doesn’t argue their staying, only they’d have to sleep in the barn. Thorn asks to speak with Fone so they can figure out how to keep the dynamite from going off between Phoney and her Gran’ma and after, Fone tries to put Phoney straight when he sees he’s gotten into the apple pie which was for Thorn’s Gran’ma, which Phoney shoves the rest of into Fone’s face when Thorn is sure to catch him in the act and denies even having seen it when she asks about it; it’s whereabouts being pretty obvious, ending the third chapter. These are so much fun to read, I now get why they would be one of the classic graphic novels.
The 4th chapter begins with Fone yelling at Phoney for spilling the milk again and aggravating Phoney to quit. Fone tries to keep his priorities in check by reminding him Gran’ma Ben is letting them stay there and feed them, but Phoney doesn’t believe sleeping in the barn is much worse than staying in the woods, if the food wasn’t as good as it was, he’d take his chances. Fone then, in the middle of Phoney making him aware of his bad luck again, right when Fone reminds him he isn’t as completely broke as he’s saying since he’s got a wad of cash still, which upon being reminded of, Phoney pops out of his pocket, confessing how it comforts him. Then Fone reminds him to try and stay out of trouble for a bit longer so they have a chance to encounter Smiley before getting kicked off the farm, which Phoney agrees. Fone goes off to help Thorn churn some butter as Phoney continues to seethe about his manual laboring plight when Gran’ma Ben passes Fone on the way back to the house. After Fone admits what Phoney is up to and how he’s about to help Thorn with the butter churning, she gets a feeling which bodes a bad omen and warns Fone to keep an eye on Phoney.
Fone goes back to Phoney to ask about Gran’ma Ben’s missing some undergarments to realize Phoney was the cause which Phoney doesn’t take well, reminding him of his status in Boneville, but Fone prompts him to remember how they’d all gotten into the mess they were in because of Phoney, which in turn makes Phoney more keen to get out of there as soon as they can rather than wait for the next day to accompany Gran’ma Ben to the spring festival, but when Fone mentions how Smiley may have heard about the cow racing with Gran’ma Ben and the bets involved, Phoney changes his tune, since he’s interested in making an extra buck and promises to not make anymore trouble. Fone only has a moment of suspicion until Phoney distracts him with possible calls from Thorn for Fone and then proceeds to swipe some of Fone’s belongings to make his way to town right then. Meanwhile Fone is accompanying Thorn to the springs whilst she lists all the good times he’d have at the festival, describing the splendid activities. Fone is surprised when Thorn’s reason for going to the springs is for them to bathe; oo, la-la. Fone gets distracted by the nakedness of course and disposes of the soap in an interesting way. Meanwhile, Phoney is getting lost in the forest when he runs into the three hedgehog kids in a tree, they, thinking it’s Fone for a minute, ask him to play.
Phoney soon helps them realize their faux pas and one of the kids help direct him to the town, leading him into an even darker and scarier part of the forest. As he is thinking of his plans when he gets to town, he begins to smell something foul, soon seeing the rat creatures napping. Phoney hides when another, larger rat creature, Kingdok appears to wake the two to update them of a meeting being held with their summons by the Hooded One. Kingdok discloses he has more information about the creature they seek with the star on his chest. After hearing the conversation which revealed they were looking for him, we move on to Thorn, Fone and Gran’ma Ben who had been searching for him when they noticed he was missing, guessing what his plan was. They decide due to Gran’ma Ben feeling like it was going to be a bad night, Fone Bone should gather his sleep items and stay in the house with them for the night. We then we see the rat creatures gather in a valley for the high council meeting.
The two rat creatures are questioned about why they haven’t found the “one they seek”, yet. They supply they haven’t seen him, but have run in to a creature similar to him, naming Fone Bone. When the rat creatures then detail the reason why they haven’t captured Fone Bone as of yet was caused by the Red Dragon, the Hooded one is silent, but then comes up with a diversion for the Red Dragon to follow whilst a second party would go after Gran’ma Ben’s farm and Fone Bone, to be acted upon later at night. We see the rat creatures quickly moving to do the Hooded one’s bidding and then see Thorn being woken from a dream with Fone informing her of the rat creatures outside and Gran’ma Ben waiting for them downstairs. When they hear what her plan is, she takes on a persona of the Fairy God-Mother in Cinderella; great last panel. Gran’ma Ben, then shatters through what looks like a wall, to grab a hold of one of the rat creatures on the other side, calling for the kids to run. With a bit of coaxing by Thorn, she pulls Fone along, running through the forest with rat creatures chasing them. When Thorn finally stops, she has a second thought of going back for Gran’ma Ben, believing she wouldn’t know the woods were scoured with rat creatures, but then one comes up right in front of them. In the adrenaline-laden moment, Thorn conks Bone’s head against the rat creature’s, knocking it out, apologizing for the reflexive defense against Fone. Then more rat creatures come at them and Thorn runs some more, carrying Fone along.
Thorn reaches a clearing and rat creatures surround them. We then see Phoney has reached the Barrel Haven Tavern. He calls for a beer from the bar-tender and is given one by Smiley. Phoney can’t believe his eyes for a moment and then greets him properly. Soon they get to talking of Gran’ma Ben and both being there because of the cow racing betting which will be going on. Then the owner of the bar begins to yell at Phoney he better be able to pay for the beers he’s been downing, with Smiley pretending to not know him. Phoney gives him the cash, believing it to be viable tender, when the owner sees it, he tears the money up and commands Phoney hit the dishes to work off his tab, to Phoney’s angry surprise. Smiley explains of the barter system they utilize in the town and Phoney gets more angry of Smiley not expressing to him properly how the trading worked before giving him the beer. We then see Thorn and Fone still in the clearing, surrounded. When she asks what they want and they admit they are there for Fone, she relates to them they won’t be taking him and then Fone smells the Red Dragon. Fone begins acting more reckless, but soon loses the smell and the rat creature he’d approached attack, Thorn pulling Fone back out of the way.
Then the Red Dragon comes out of the darkness with Ted the bug with him. Ted bringing Thorn and Fone away from the confrontation between the Red Dragon and one of the rat creatures, talking it out about how the Red Dragon’s conduct might be different if Kingdok were there, but also how the rat creatures had violated their agreement. When the one rat creature begins to feel like he must up the ante, he calls for his “comrades” to kill the dragon, the Red Dragon commenting on what “comrade’s” he referred to, the rat creature then realizing he didn’t have anybody watching his back and so runs away. Thorn takes the Red Dragon’s existence in stride, relating to him she needed to check on her Gran’ma and so he gives them both a ride back to the farm. Thorn sees the house has gone up in flames, though, believing them to be too late.
Thorn tries to rush to the charred house, but the Red Dragon stops her. He warns her to be careful of any hidden rat creatures before she rushes off anyways, Fone following her, she calling out to Gran’ma Ben. Gran’ma Ben soon walks out from behind a side of charred house, glad to see Thorn is alright. Thorn describes how they were almost overtaken but were saved by the dragon, he coming up behind her and getting a closer look at Gran’ma Ben and vice versa. We soon uncover the Red Dragon and Gran’ma Ben must have known each other since he called her by Rose and she was answering with short replies, the Red Dragon soon deciding to move off with Gran’ma Ben’s agreement. Thorn asks why she’s treated him like she has and Gran’ma Ben diverts answering by changing the subject about she needing to have a “chat” with Fone and Thorn should go put the fire out on the roof whilst they pack up their belongings to head for town so they can search for Fone’s cousins, she relenting and goes to do her bidding whilst Gran’ma Ben tries to get the skinny on how he or Phoney have ended up on being wanted by the rat creatures, Fone not knowing the answer.
Soon Fone is sharing the story of how Phoney got run out of town and Smiley and his part in helping him to escape with the help of bad prunes being part of the reason for the townspeople’s anger toward Phoney. Then we are back at the Barrel Haven Tavern where Smiley is keeping Phoney busy by making him continually wash cups after one round of drinks exchange the hands of the men buying them. Smiley shares of how he’s setting up the rumor of the cow which can’t be beat and asks Phoney why he still cares since none of the townspeople use money, Phoney making it known it might be a bit disappointing, but he wanting to get whatever they bet anyways; greedy little sucker. When Phoney sends Smiley back out to the front with the demand of not transporting so many dirty dishes to the back, he’s called by his full name by the Hooded One from outside the window. The Hooded One conveying how lucky Phoney is by having been contacted and states Fone will die for contacting the Red Dragon. When Phoney tries to threaten the Hooded One and fails, the Hooded One comes closer to contribute his reason for having business with Phoney, being interrupted by Smiley clonking more dishes down next to Phoney and the Hooded One disappearing. Phoney now realizes the danger they’re in and then we see Gran’ma Ben and group heading down the road.
Fone is entertaining himself and, so he believes, Gran’ma Ben with a retelling of Moby Dick when Thorn rides up next to them, waking her Gran’ma due to some trees blocking the road and a local standing nearby. We see the Hooded One lurking nearby as they approach the fallen tree and get around one end of it. Fone takes the opportunity to thank Thorn for sticking by him and helping him escape the rat creatures, Thorn replying it seeming natural since she thought they were friends, bowling Fone over backwards off of his cow with the knowledge. We then determine the bar owner is Lucius when Gran’ma Ben and duo reach the town and he’s there to greet Gran’ma Ben, with a little gift he’s been saving for her. Then Smiley comes out and he and Fone have a warm reunion. They then call Phoney out from the kitchen and all three get together, but the Hooded One is still watching with words of foreboding for Phoney. We then see Fone is throttling Phoney soundly, whilst Smiley plays on his guitar-like instrument, ending the first book of the volumes. This series is quite fun and I’m going to enjoy reading the next.