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Boneyard Vol. 2

By Zak Edwards
June 7, 2010 - 06:06

Boneyard is filed under the Horror section of the NBM website and nothing could be simultaneously the furthest and nearest to the truth with this series.  Far from the conventional horror, as really nothing genuinely horrific happens in the generic sense, Boneyard is instead creator Richard Moore’s take on the tropes of horror.  Moore takes the horrific right out of the stereotypical horror mainstays and instead makes his readers genuinely laugh out loud at the crazy scenarios the assorted cast of vampires, demons, werewolves, and swamp monsters get themselves in and out of.  Moore takes the horrific and replaces it with the strange juxtaposition of fairly cartoonish art combined with some very inappropriate humour  which, at it’s core, makes this series truly enjoyable.

What Moore is doing is hardly original in any capacity.  We have all seen the “good” versions of most of these characters (Angel from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series immediately comes to mind), we’ve even seen them used for humourous purposes (Evil Dead and Gremlins comes to mind as well), but Moore is doing something very enjoyable and setting up scenarios that are fairly genuine in their stereotypical concept.  For example, this volume of Boneyard sees the main character, heir to the titular Boneyard Michael Paris, ending up in hundreds of thousands of debt to the IRS, which is attempted to be solved in a myriad of ways which will not really work.  A subplot involving a car accident puts the group of monsters together for a charity boxing match against the local police force, gradually taking the front stage, pitting the lithe vampire Abbey go up against the giant werewolf Ralph.  While the story may seem convoluted, Moore is a focused storyteller with a clear style perfect for the type of reading these humour books are for.  The book is fun and clear and not trying to be something it isn’t, which is a relief in many ways.  This is another moment which makes Boneyard redeemable is Moore's genuine voice, which is certainly not trying to be too caught up in his own cleverness.  The book is enjoyable because nothing is taken seriously and is not attempting to be anything more than it is.  Moore’s juxtaposition of a cartoonish style against a wide range of inappropriate humour works in many ways, never getting old.  Moore uses the tactic in large and small ways, for example, his skeleton character is frequently looking at ‘bone’ magazines rather than ‘skin mags,’ while the tax man harassing Paris is seen to be a cross-dresser.  The very concept of the Nessie character, a swamp monster nymphomaniac who wears two well-placed clam shells or starfish and fishnets everywhere else, continually plays off this concept.  Always saying and doing sexually inappropriate things, she is a source of constant entertainment.  The juxtaposition is constantly used and continually kept me suprised.

This is not to say Boneyard is completely doing the horror comedy thing perfectly.  The book has an obvious romantic entanglement between Paris and Abbey, the resident vampire, which is continually shoved to the forefront as if the audience doesn’t understand the romance to draw in readers.  While the Abbey character’s interactions with Paris are far from the shy, doting girl who can’t properly articulate herself, the entire thing is fairly obvious and probably a low point of the book simply because of its unsubtle and forced technique.  I like the characters, I even like the way they are with each other, I just simply get bored of the downward cast eyes, the thoughtful glances or looking out of windows, and the quasi-awkward moments which seem, well, very awkwardly introduced and executed.

On a side note, something that strikes me about this book is how glad I am I came to this series in trade paperback form rather than the single issues.  Moore has created a series meant for collection, the breaks between issues are nonexistent and not simply because the cover pages are excluded from the colour collections.  The series reads as a single coherent story seemingly devoid of the usual cliche cliffhanger, except at the very end, which works pretty well as incentive to pick up the next collection.  Also, the book contains a fairly easy access point into the series.  Also, the series is very accessible, I started on this second volume and was in no way jarred or confused.  This is probably due to a combination of the familiar concept and Moore’s stories, which are less about previous continuity and more about what is going on in the here and now.

This particular trade paperback of Boneyard is part of the colour ones put out after the trades of the original series were collected.  The series is originally in black and white and while I usually enjoy seeing things in their original intended form (the Bone series, for example, is wonderful in black and white and I have those instead of the colored versions), the coloring is well done.  I enjoy the palette, playing with Moore’s cartoon humour style I’ve talked about so much.  Maybe if I was introduced to the series in its original form I would dislike the series as is, but colourist Jessica Kindzierski's work is unobtrusive and doesn’t seem to take away from the experience in any way.

Overall, as my first foray into the Boneyard world, the book is both enjoyable and easy to read and follow, with Moore playing his strengths and not trying to be anything more than a genuinely wonderful book to read.  And for eleven dollars? can't go wrong on that!

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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