Frank Miller Week: Bone #38 Cover

Bone is Jeff Smith’s fantasy epic about armies and destiny, but at it’s very center is the story of Thorn and how she goes from being a girl to a woman. Issue #38 has Thorn at the crux of her transition, and Miller’s cover obviously shows her in complete woman-warrior mode.He shadows her face and makes her dark nature central to what’s going on; in the Bone universe that same darkness is there, but significantly pushed into the background. There’s also, an enhanced sexuality to Miller interpretation, in the insanely skinny waste, the prominent breasts, and huge red lips. The cover draws some strong parallels to one of the panels Brandon talked about earlier this week.

What’s especially interesting is looking at this cover in comparison to all three covers that came out for the same issue. Alex Ross draws the complete opposite version of Thorn: a little girl, in harsh lighting, cowering behind basically a stuffed animal. Smith's cover lands somewhere in the middle, showing the Bones as comic relief, but also Thorn hurtling over a branch--as both warrior and woman. Contained in the three covers is Smith’s balancing act of Bone, and it’s this combination of seriousness, comedy, and complex deeper meanings that make the series worth reading.

It’s Miller’s cover though that really stands out of the three. Next to Miller’s cover, Ross’ looks washed-out and his photo-realistic style just makes Bone look like something weird that shouldn’t exist. Like a CGI character or something. Ross’ cover is also focused on the most boring early aspect of the story: Thorn as a little girl with a crush on Bone. Miller takes the subtle themes from Smith’s story, particularly the ones that he'd find most appealing and forces them to the forefront. The absence of the titular characters is important because it gives Thorn a really powerful spotlight and cuts out the comedic relief, which is important sometimes. It shows Thorn struggling with her loss of innocence and finding her spot in the world, but at the same time, it makes her the center of attention and a powerful, Frank Miller-esque bad-ass.

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