->'''''Not to be confused with the TV series ''Series/{{Bones}}'', [[TheMcCoy "Bones" McCoy]] of ''StarTrek'', the animation studio [[StudioBONES BONES]], or the musical group ''Music/BoneThugsNHarmony'''''''

[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bone-one-volume-smith-250x350-1_6359.jpg]]
A lengthy independent comic book series by Jeff Smith that took 13 years to complete, mixing the sensibilities of a joke of the day comic strip like ''ComicStrip/{{Pogo}}'' with the sweeping story of an epic fantasy a la ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings''. Jeff self-published the series in its original run, collecting the issues in groups of six or so in nine total volumes, until Image Comics picked it up for a time. A second printing came under Scholastic, Inc., for which Jeff's friend Steve Hamaker colored each and every page. The series eventually won several Eisner Awards and Harvey Awards, and propelled Jeff Smith into immense independent comic book acclaim.

It tells the story of [[ComicTrio three cousins]], who happen to look like humanoid, bone-shaped {{Cartoon Creature}}s. They are exiled from their town called Boneville and become lost in a MagicalLand called the Valley, where they meet an energetic old lady (Gran'ma Ben) and her beautiful grand-daughter (Thorn). Together, they're caught up in intrigue, magic, and adventure.

There are also two prequels, ''Rose'' which tells the story of a young Grandma Ben, and ''Stupid Stupid Rat-Tails'', a {{tall tale}} of how Big Johnson Bone, the founder of Boneville, once visited the valley, fought off the rat creatures and caused them to begin their tradition of cutting off their tails. The Scholastic run packaged ''Stupid Stupid Rat-Tails'' with new Big Johnson Bone stories as ''Tall Tales''. Tom Sniegoski, who wrote the original ''Rat-Tails'' and the new ''Tall Tales'' stories, also wrote a novel trilogy called ''Quest For The Spark'' that features a RagtagBunchOfMisfits coming together to fight a new threat.

[[http://www.printmag.com/comics-and-animation/jeff-smith-bone-film/ A film adaptation is confirmed]]. Creator/AnimalLogic, the studio behind ''HappyFeet'' and ''Film/TheMatrix'', will animate. It has been in DevelopmentHell for several years. In the 90's, Nickelodeon, having just released the hit film ''Rugrats'', had an alarmingly misguided vision of what they wanted it to be, and Jeff was the one who bailed out of the deal. The rights are currently held by Warner Brothers. P.J. Hogan (''MyBestFriendsWedding'', ''ConfessionsOfAShopaholic'', the live-action ''PeterPan'') is directing, and it's going to be adapted for the screen by Patrick Sean Smith (Creator/ABCFamily[='=]s ''Greek'').

Jeff was initially fighting for traditional 2D animation, since he used to run his own animation studio called Character Builders that contributed to films like ''Film/SpaceJam'', and was the studio that was originally slated to animate the film. According to the interview above, Jeff is fine with the change because the outcome of the movie is not in his control, even though he will have executive-producing credit. [[http://geeksofdoom.com/2010/04/19/c2e2-2010-bone-animated-movie-still-in-the-works/ He STILL remembers his original preference, though]]. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeNqQxzB4-U ... and fans continue to prove this]].

The first two story arcs (out of nine) were also adapted into an AdventureGame series by TelltaleGames, though there's been no word for several years on whether they'll continue the adaptation.

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!!'''Examples:'''
[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Bone]]
* ActionGirl: [[spoiler:Thorn, post CharacterDevelopment.]]
* ActuallyPrettyFunny: The "Fairy Princess" remark from Fone Bone [[spoiler:when Thorn asks what being a princess with magic powers makes her]]. At first Thorn is angry about this, but later she shrugs it off as "kinda funny" when Fone Bone apologizes.
* AffablyEvil: The Two Stupid Rat Creatures. They act more like Abott and Costello than a duo of vicious monsters like they would want you to think of them as. They're so affable that they ''almost'' pull a HeelFaceTurn in book 5, and end up actually pulling one in ''The Quest for the Spark''.
* AllOfThem: After the Crown of Horns incident.
--> '''Fone Bone:''' How many dragons did we wake up?\\
'''Thorn:''' All of them.
* AlwaysABiggerFish: A few times -- Kingdok versus Rock Jaw, [[spoiler:the [[ZergRush Dragons versus Mim]]]].
* AndroclesLion: [[spoiler: Bartleby, the Rat Creature cub.]]
* AnArmAndALeg: Kingdok in "The Dragonslayer.", deservedly.
* AnimalsLackAttributes: Averted with Roque Ja the mountain lion, who when seen from behind has a very prominent scrotum.
* AsLongAsItSoundsForeign: The Rat Creatures speak in a military language code called Nessen (which kinda sounds a bit like German). Only Thorn is known to have understood the language.
* AttackOfThe50FootWhatever: Kingdok.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking
* {{Backstory}}
* BadassBaritone: The Red Dragon.
* BadassBoast: Phoney claiming to be able to kill dragons. Although he can't.
** Tarsil The Usurper's claim to have fought dragons in the past. Which he did. [[spoiler: The fact that he lost those fights and has a deformed face totally covered in burns somehow doesn't take away from the badassery]].
* BadassGrandpa: Lucius is at least as old as Gran'ma Ben, although he strays more into RetiredBadass territory.
* BadassInDistress: Thorn, several times.
* BadDreams
* TheBarnum: Phoney.
* BarrierBustingBlow: Grandma Ben [[InvertedTrope does this]] to some Rat Creatures!
* BeatPanel: Both humorous and non-humorous ones. And they work.
* BeautyIsNeverTarnished: Subverted with shocking violence.
* BecauseDestinySaysSo
* BeneathTheEarth: The Dragon's homes.
* BerserkButton: Notably averted on at least two occasions: when Thorn sees a soldier hitting a little girl, she just tosses him on his ass, and even later, when [[spoiler:Kingdok talks about eating her mother alive,]] she looks extremely angry for a moment, but lets it pass. However, she goes utterly ballistic when Fone Bone brings Bartleby into her bedroom, going so far as to threaten to kill the baby rat-creature.
** Also played straight with Fone Bone, who is often pissed off at Phoney's money-making scams and the trouble that they cause. He also doesn't take too kindly to anyone harming Thorn.
* BetterAsFriends: [[spoiler:Thorn and Fone Bone. [[InterspeciesRomance Probably for the best, really]]]].
* BigBad: The Hooded One, aka [[spoiler: Briar Harvestar]].
* BiggerBad: The Lord of the Locusts, even stated to be [[SatanicArchetype the source of all evil]] in the CreationMyth.
* BigDamnHeroes:
** The Great Red Dragon on numerous occasions.
** Lucius at [[spoiler:Sinner's Rock]].
** [[spoiler:Fone Bone was this in the climax of ''Old Man's Cave'', and again when he came to Thorn's rescue in ''Crown of Horns'']].
* BigEater: Smiley Bone doesn't pack it away in impossible quantities, but plays the trope straight enough that people will comment that something is extremely strange if he's not the first at the table at mealtimes. This makes it doubly notable when he, in the ''Ghost Circles'' arc, refuses to eat his share of the food and insists that Bartleby takes it instead.
* BigOlUnibrow: Phoney Bone.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: Fone Bone and Thorn destroy the Lord of the Locusts and Thorn becomes queen...but Lucius dies, and the cousins go back to Boneville. Fone Bone and Thorn are likely never to see each other again]].
* BlackSheep: Among a race of evil, vicious, bloodthirsty monsters are a comic duo who are by any definition, incredibly stupid and spend more time bickering than puruing their victims.
* BloodlessCarnage:
** Despite the violence and battles against the Rat Creatures, no rat creature has been killed on-screen (except Kingdok) with visible blood shown.
** Averted with Fone Bone, who hits his head and visibly bleeds red blood. (Okay, so it's only red in the color edition, but still.)
* BodyHorror: If you look closely at Kingdok, you will notice that in his first two appearances he looks like an ordinary rat creature, only taller and bipedal. But as the story progresses, he changes- his eyes grow farther apart, his arms shrink, his head grows much larger (and eventually fuses into a Cephalothorax,) his narrow fangs morph into wide, flat, shark-like ones, and at the end he no longer even looks like a rat creature-just a huge mouth on legs.
* BookEnds: [[spoiler:"Oh, give him a gold coin, Phoney. We're out in the middle of the desert."]]
* BoundAndGagged: Phoney Bone gets this twice (comedically the first time; definitely not comedically the second time)
* BrickJoke:
** The Farmer whose cart the Bones stole.
** The campaign balloon.
** The solid snowfall in the first chapter.
* BurnTheWitch: Tarsil plays this straight with Thorn.
* CainAndAbel: [[spoiler: Briar and Rose, aka The Hooded One and Gran'ma Ben]]. With [[ThemeNaming names]] [[MeaningfulName like that]] it's plain to see who's the evil one...
* CannotSpitItOut: Fone Bone with Thorn [[spoiler:although he ultimately subverts this near the end of the series]].
* CartoonCreature: The Bone cousins. Lampshaded regularly.
* CatapultNightmare: Happens to Thorn quite a bit.
* CatsAreMean: Rock Jaw... sort of. He certainly starts out as a CardCarryingVillain. However in the end, and for someone who goes on and on about how everyone must choose a side, it isn't really clear whose side he's on. Most likely he's on his ''own'' side.
* {{Cephalothorax}}: Kingdok, whose eyes and mouth seem to grow out of his torso.
* CerebusSyndrome: While there are hints to the serious nature of the story in the first couple books, compare books 4-6 through 1-3, especially number 2 where it becomes one funny moment after another.
* ChangelingFantasy
* CharacterDevelopment:
** Smiley slowly becomes smarter and more caring, and even learns to stand up to Phoney once in a while.
** Phoney himself begins to become more mature and less of a {{Jerkass}} only out to make money for himself, after he sees what his whole "dragonslayer" con ends up doing.
** Thorn, of course, is the most blatant example of this trope in action throughout the comic.
** In a case where the development is ''negative'' for the character in question, Kingdok starts out a proud and effective leader, but after he [[HumiliationConga gets his arm cut off by a young girl, his tongue ripped out by a big cat, and his face smashed off by an old granny]], he slowly becomes a self-centered and cynical DeathSeeker.
* ChekhovsGun: [[spoiler:Phoney's balloon]].
** Bet you thought Smiley having fun with static electricity was just some pointless comic relief, didn't you?
* ChekhovsGunman: [[spoiler: Bartleby, the runaway Rat Creature]].
** Also, the bit where Lucius first attempts to take Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone to Barrelhaven and Smiley asks him if he's ever been married.
** [[spoiler:The locusts that separate the cousins at the very beginning]].
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: Smiley, until [[CerebusSyndrome things got more serious]]. Also the Rat Creatures, especially the purple one.
* ComicTrio: Though the Bone cousins are modeled into the "schemer, stupid and powerless" archetypes, they only fill the roles precisely in Phoney's schemes. In the main quest, Fone Bone actively influences Thorn and Gran'ma's decisions with strong counter-arguments, Smiley Bone gradually develops individual rational thinking and Phoney just follows along and grumps while occasionally showing his HiddenHeartOfGold.
* ConservationOfNinjutsu: Inverted - the Rat Creatures are pretty harmless in small numbers. The more of them there are, the more bloodthirsty they become.
* CosmicKeystone: [[spoiler:The Crown of Horns]].
* CrazyPrepared: Apparently Smiley Bone has been carrying a labeled engraving kit in his vest the whole time.
* CrossOver: Not in the comic itself, but the characters have made guest appearances in other comics, such as {{Gen13}}, {{Shi}}, the {{normalman}}/MegatonMan special, Patty Cake, TheSavageDragon and others.
* TheDarkSide
* DarkWorld: The Ghost Circles.
* DeadpanSnarker: Phoney is probably the snarkiest throughout the series, though a few of the other characters get pretty glib on occasion.
* DeathSeeker: [[spoiler: Kingdok]] eventually.
* DemonicPossession: The Lord of the Locusts' only means of entering the living world. His possession of [[spoiler:Mim]] led to the creation of the Valley itself.
* DemotedToExtra: Lucius and Kingdok after Old Man's Cave. Then they come back [[spoiler: and die]].
* {{Determinator}}: Smiley during Volume 5 (the Rock Jaw arc) and during the Rat Creature Confrontation in Volume 3.
* TheDragon: Kingdok to the Hooded One, the Hooded One to [[spoiler:The Lord Of Locusts]].
* DumbassHasAPoint: When the Bones and the Stupid, Stupid Rat Creatures are fleeing from Kingdok near the old temple.
-->'''Smiley:''' "Hey, nothing we've done so far has been un-stupid, and we're still alive, aren't we?"\\
'''Rat Creature''' "I can't really argue with that, [[LampshadeHanging but I feel like I should]]."
* EldritchAbomination: [[spoiler: The Lord Of The Locusts in his original form]].
** Kingdok eventually, as he mutates from a big rat creature to a mouth with legs.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: The Pawan leader is fine with working with the Hooded One and the Rat Creatures at first, but after it becomes clear to him that the Hooded One is going to literally ''destroy'' the Valley, he takes a stand. [[spoiler: Unfortunately for him, the Hooded One would rather just slice his head in two and give his second-in-command a KlingonPromotion than argue ethics with him]].
* TheEveryman: Fone Bone.
* EverythingsBetterWithCows: "The Great Cow Race" is this trope distilled.
* EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses
* EvilFeelsGood
-->"Ever since I was a little [[spoiler: girl]], I could hear the Lord of the Locusts whispering inside my head. Do you know what that's like? It's like being the smartest person in the whole world. Mmmmm..."
* EvilGloating: The Hooded One to Rose during the ninth book. See above.
* EvilOverlord: The Hooded One.
* ExplosiveBreeder: The Rat Creatures, whose valley populations number in the millions.
* EyesAlwaysShut: Gran'ma Ben and Lucius Down.
* TheFaceless: The Hooded One up till TheReveal.
* FantasyWorldMap: Unusually, the map itself has some significance within the story.
* FirstLawOfTragicomedies: Many of the serious story elements were [[ChekhovsGun set up from the very beginning]], though thankfully the series never loses its humor.
** It gets significantly less funny after a while. The (very) end brings it back to form.
* FiveManBand:
** TheHero: Thorn
** TheLancer[=/=]TheSmartGuy: Fone Bone
** TheBigGal: Gran'ma Ben
** TheChick: Phoney Bone.
** TheHeart: Smiley Bone.
** SixthRanger: Bartleby.
* TheFool: Smiley Bone.
* FrameBreak: The part in one book where Grandma Ben [[SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome punches through a wall to reach the rat creatures on the other side (the wall being represented by the comic gutter)]].
* FreudianExcuse: Phoney became cunning and greedy as the result of being orphaned as a child, growing up in absolute poverty, and having to raise his two cousins (also orphans) during this time.
* FriendshipMoment: Smiley bringing leftover dinner to Bartleby in Treasure Hunters.
-->'''Smiley:''' You know Bartleby, I never had a pal like you before.
-->'''Bartleby:''' Me either!
* GeniusBruiser: As mentioned below Lucius may seem like a dumb stack of muscle but he's not. Same goes to Gran'ma Ben.
* GenreBusting
* GentleGiant: Averted very much so with Lucius. He knows he's big and strong and will definitely use it to his advantage.
* TheGhost: Boneville. Jeff said that he prefers never to depict it, as it's not the focus of the story, and better to leave it up to the reader's imagination.
* GodsHandsAreTied: Well, the dragons aren't technically gods, but powerful enough to stand-in. The red dragon is forbidden to DeusExMachina things for the good guys, but he tries to help and guide them on the sly.
* GoodSmokingEvilSmoking: Gran'ma Ben enjoys a pipe regularly, and the Red Dragon has a fifty-pack-a-day habit. Of course, he ''breathes fire'' so they may actually be the equivalent of a healthy snack for him.
* GoThroughMe: Discussed only in the color edition of the "Dragonslayer" arc: when Gran'ma Ben tells Thorn that she as a Veni-Yan-Cari "can walk freely between the Waking World and the Dreaming World" and that the Agents of the Locust will be after her, Fone Bone barges in and tells Gran'ma Ben, "They'll have to go through '''me''' first!" but she tells him that they won't even notice him.
* GrumpyBear: Lucius
* AGodAmI: The Hooded One, to some extent. Then again, the Hooded One's master is [[spoiler: The Lord Of The Locusts]].
* [[HalfDressedCartoonAnimal Half-Dressed Cartoon... Something-Or-Other]]: The Bone cousins, repeatedly lampshaded.
* HeelRealization: Phoney Bone gets a massive helping when a con of his backfires disastrously and results in Thorn's ally, the Dragon, being bound and gagged by the villagers, who are preparing to burn him. When Thorn discovers what Phoney has led them to do and been too cowardly to stop, she immediately and with absolute certainty declares that he is, obviously, an agent of the enemy.
* HereWeGoAgain: The ending of the comic echoes the opening very clearly, with Phoney and Smiley getting into almost the exact same argument and Fone trying to get Phoney to give in.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler: Lucius]] technically does this without knowing it. [[spoiler: He grabs Briar and keeps her from attacking Rose, and then [[DroppedABridgeOnHim dies in a way that he couldn't have seen coming or avoided]].]]
* HeroWithBadPublicity: Veni-Yan Cari.
* HesBack: [[spoiler:Bartleby]] in Volume Seven.
* HiddenDepths: Phoney.
* HoldingHands: Happens quite a lot in the series, but probably most famously when Thorn and Fone Bone meet for the first time, leaving the hot springs.
* HumiliationConga: Kingdok near the end. It culminates when [[spoiler: he invokes a YouKilledMyFather with Thorn, hoping that she can [[DeathSeeker kill him]]]].
* [[YouKilledMyFather I Killed Your Parents]]: [[spoiler: Kingdok to Thorn.]]
* IdiotHair: Of a sort; Thorn has the two strands of hair which usually don't seem to settle with rest of her hair.
* ItIsPronouncedTroPay: The giant cougar Roque Ja somehow knows when people call him "Rock Jaw" and gets pissed every time.
** You're supposed to use TrrrillingRrrs.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Phoney. He seems like just a big {{Jerkass}} toward the start, but his better qualities are shown toward the end, mainly the genuine care he has for his cousins.
** The reveal that he was more-or-less a surrogate father figure to them when they were young certainly helps.
* KarmaHoudini: Roque Ja half-kills Thorn and brings her and Phoney to the Hooded One, but is never punished in the end.
* LargeHam: The Hooded One [[spoiler:aka Briar Harvestar]], particularly during the siege of Atheia. There's a couple of panels where [[spoiler:she looks like she's enjoying herself a little ''too'' much]]. This can even reach {{Narm}} levels
* LikeAnOldMarriedCouple: Fans of the Two Stupid Rat Creatures describe them this way.
* LionsAndTigersAndHumansOhMy: In order of appearance: {{cartoon creature}}s, monsters, talking animals (normal-sized and gigantic), humans, normal animals, miscellaneous fantasy races. This gets a little strange once the mood shifts in the later issues/chapters. [[MST3KMantra Just go with it]].
* LongRunner
* LoveAtFirstSight: Fone Bone for Thorn.
* LuminescentBlush: Fone Bone around Thorn, most notably when she takes off her clothes to bathe right in front of him.
* MadeOfIron: Gran'ma Ben.
* MagicalLand: The Valley.
* MagicSkirt: Thorn, even when it's ripped to a tiny piece.
* MamaBear: Gran'ma Ben, Thorn.
* MauveShirt: The "Stupid Stupid" Rat Creatures.
* MegaNeko: Roque Ja, a giant mountain lion.
* [[MixAndMatchCritters Mix-and-Match Critter]]: The red Dragon, who has " the head of a Christmas donkey, the paws of a lion, and the body of a brontosaurus."
* [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone My God, What Have We Done?]]: The townsfolk's reaction [[spoiler:when they realized they left Barrelhaven with Phoney, too occupied with trying to slay the Red Dragon while the Rat Creatures attack and torch the town]].
* MySignificanceSenseIsTingling: Gran'ma Ben and the Gitchy Feeling.
* [[NeverMessWithGranny Never Mess With Gran'ma]]: [[CoolOldLady Ben]] races cows for fun and gleefully fights Rat Creatures three times her size, outnumbered, and with only her bare hands... and ''wins''!
* NewPowersAsThePlotDemands: Thorn. She can [[spoiler: even fly]].
* NiceHat: Phoney wears a chef's hat while working in Lucius's kitchen, and Lucius even compliments him on it. Interestingly enough, the only other time he wears a hat in the series (with a huge feather in it), Lucius calls it a "stupid hat." The man definitely knows his tastes when it comes to hats.
** Invoked by Smiley when he first finds out Thorn is a princess and wonders if she'd let him borrow her crown, because he thinks he'd look cool with a crown. Then averted several issues later when he ''does'' get to wear the crown -- except it's not made for someone with his head shape at all, and he ends up just looking silly.
* NoNameGiven: The Rat Creatures. Only the royal Rat Creatures get names, the rest are nameless and generally just call each other "Comrade." In ''Quest For The Spark'', this is confirmed to be a custom of the Rat Creatures: You only get a name if you're important enough to have one.
** In the same book, the two Stupid, Stupid Rat Creatures -- after having spent the novel being referred to as "The Rat Creature" and "The Other Rat Creature" (and variations thereof) -- are finally given names by Abbey and Barclay Bone to avoid confusion ([[RealLifeWritesThePlot and probably because in prose it's less awkward that way]]). They name the yellow one [[spoiler:Smelly]] and the purple one [[spoiler:Stinky]].
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: [[spoiler:Happens to Thorn and Fone.]] It's not pretty. [[TearJerker Not pretty at all.]]
* NonIndicativeName: While the Rat Creatures do have ratlike shapes and hands/feet and are born looking like rats, they're more like ape-bear hybrids in appearance.
* NonstandardCharacterDesign: The Bone cousins, compared to the rest of The Valley. Very conspicuous at close ups on Fone Bone's face.
* NoodleIncident: Whenever the Bones talk about Phoney's pre-Valley schemes.
* NotSoDifferent: [[spoiler:Thorn and Briar. Thorn proves her wrong ''[[SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome spectacularly]]'', however]].
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Gran'ma Ben is obviously MUCH more than what she seems, and it's somewhat apparent that Smiley is not a moron.
* OldMaster: Rose.
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: The Great Red Dragon's behaviour and role in the story are close to those of oriental dragons. He has also an unusual appearance; Jeff Smith has described him as having a brontosaurus-like body, hind-quarters of a lion, arms of a a human and the head of a Christmas donkey.
** Judging by the other dragons we see in the comic (mostly in dreams), there's no set rule for what a dragon should look like. Most of them seem vaguely reptilian or dinosaur-like, but that's pretty much all they have in common.
* {{Ouroboros}}: Mim, the Dragon Queen.
* OutdoorBathPeeping: Fone Bone, lost and separated from his cousins, first meets Thorn in this way.
* PapaWolf: Not that Phoney ever has the opportunity to act on it, but messing with his cousins (or threatening to) is probably not the best idea.
* PetTheDog: Kingdok to the two stupid rat creatures
* PlankGag: Happens in The Great Cow Race. One page has Smiley holding a ladder from one end while the other is between Lucius and Phoney. In the back is Fone Bone is calling to Smiley, pointing to the left. In the next page, Smiley has completely turned around, while Lucius and Phoney are knocked over, clutching their heads in pain. Fone Bone has an "Oops!" look on his face.
* QuirkyMinibossSquad: [[ThoseTwoGuys Those two Stupid, Stupid Rat Creatures]].
** Also {{Punch Clock Villain}}s of a sort (except for the fact that they want to eat Fone Bone, they're not all that evil)
* RaisedByGrandparents: Thorn has been raised by her grandma since she was only five years old.
* RebelliousPrincess
* RedRightHand: Inverted with Bartleby, who had fluffy round ears (as opposed to the long bald ears of other Rat creatures) to distinguish him as the only good Rat Creature.
* RescueRomance: Sort of. [[spoiler: Thorn]] and [[spoiler: Fone Bone]] already know each other by this point, but [[spoiler: his rescuing Thorn from the Hooded One during the Ghost Circles arc is the first time Thorn actually realizes that he has feelings for her]].
* {{Retired Badass}}es: Gran'ma Ben and Lucius Down.
* TheReveal: [[spoiler:The Hooded One is Briar Harvestar, Gran'ma Ben's sister]].
* RodentsOfUnusualSize: Giant Rat Creatures, especially Kingdok, who eventually grows so big he could qualify as a {{Kaiju}}.
* RogerRabbitEffect: Sort of. Technically, everyone is a drawn character, but the Bones clearly belong in a slapstick {{Disney}} or WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes short and are subject to ToonPhysics, and the more realistically drawn humans are aware of and lampshade that they operate by somewhat different rules.
* SamusIsAGirl: [[spoiler:The Hooded One]].
* ScrewDestiny: Thorn says this a lot in the latter half of the story, especially when she [[spoiler:seeks the Crown of Horns]] despite her mentors telling her it can't be done. Whether or not this was her destiny to begin with is your mileage.
** And that also counts in a part of the first half too, with Thorn not being very enthusiastic about being the princess of the valley and that Gran'ma Ben was hiding the truth. It takes some convincing from the Great Red Dragon to get her back to the right path.
* SealedEvilInACan: Lord of the Locusts.
* SeriesContinuityError: In one issue, Roque Ja [[spoiler:cuts off Kingdok's tongue]], and it's explicitly stated that [[spoiler:he can't speak with his tongue missing]]. Then, in a later issue, [[spoiler:Kingdok is able to speak again without any explanation given]].
** In a later reprint, Kingdok's lines are replaced with hisses, and the dialogue is simply attributed to another rat creature nearby. Kingdok, in any case, is shown to only talk with great difficulty.
* ShaveAndAHaircut: During the "Treasure Hunters" story arc, Phoney taps on the barn door of Atheia in this manner.
* ShooOutTheClowns: During the more serious parts of the story, Smiley either disappears entirely or (temporarily) becomes much less stupid.
** With one notable exception of a few panels in the Ghost Circles arc, in which Smiley delivers some comic relief as well as a ChekhovsGun.
* ShoutOut: The name "Miss Crab-Bone", to TheLittleRascals' Miss Crabtree.
** Fone Bone's name is confirmed by WordOfGod to be one for Don Martin's similarly named [[TheEveryman everyman character]] "Fonebone" from {{Mad}}.
* SinisterScythe: The Hooded One's WeaponOfChoice.
* SmokingIsCool: ...and [[InstantAwesomeJustAddDragons dragons are cool]], so by logical extrapolation, the Great Red Dragon is cooler than anything in the universe. QED.
* SoulFragment: [[spoiler:Bone and Thorn each get a piece of the Lord of the Locust]].
* SpeciesSurname: If the surname has derived from the species name and not vise-versa.
* SpringtimeForHitler: Phoney's plan to abscond with all of Barrelhaven's wealth.
* TheStarsAreGoingOut: {{Invoked|Trope}} when [[spoiler:Briar]] surrounds Atheia with ghost circles.
* SuperStrength: Gran'ma Ben appears to have this, effortlessly punching through the walls [[spoiler: during the attack of the Rat Creatures]] and effortlessly being able to carry Lucius.
* SupportingProtagonist: The Bones, particularly Fone. For all intents and purposes, Thorn is the main character.
* SupremeCouncilOfVagueness: The Disciples of Venu.
* SycophanticServant: The Hooded One, although the Locust's minion is actually useful.
* TertiarySexualCharacteristics: There are no female Bones in the main storyline, but the Big Johnson Bone stories show that, whereas male Bones are all bald (with the exception of Percival Bone who has grey hair) female Bones have hair and/or a bow on their head.
** Averted with the Rat Creatures, whose males and females look exactly alike. One reader even wrote in to ask whether Rat Creatures had genders, and Jeff Smith jokingly answered that he'd never dared to check under their fur to find out. ''Stupid, Stupid Rat Tails'', however, identifies a few Rat Creatures as female -- and the only one of them who stands out visually is Queen Maud, who simply looks bigger and fatter than the others.
* ThemeNaming: Thorn, Rose, Briar, Moonwort.
** Also, 'Bartleby' is the name of the eponymous creepy office worker in Herman Melville's ''Bartleby, the Scrivener''. Herman Melville also wrote ''Moby-Dick'', the book that Fone Bone is obsessed with. This makes Smiley Bone's comment that "he ''looks'' like a Bartleby!" ridiculous to those in the know: he really, really doesn't.
*** The [[ContestWinnerCameo Name the Baby Rat Creature contest]] was won by [[{{Narbonic}} Shaenon K. Garrity]].
* TheseHandsHaveKilled: Phoney, after his first battle, throws away his sword [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone in shock]] when he realizes that the blade is covered in blood.
* ThanatosGambit: One possible explanation for [[spoiler:Mim's rampage]].
* ThoseTwoBadGuys: The pair of Stupid Stupid Rat Creatures!
* TinyGuyHugeGirl: Thorn isn't tall, but she's a giant compared to Fone Bone.
* TookALevelInBadass: Done rather dramatically with Thorn. She goes from being a friendly, naive farmgirl to one of the most grim and powerful characters in the entire series. She becomes a happy person again at the end of the story...considering she's now ''[[spoiler:queen of the entire Valley]]!''
* TooDumbToLive: A running gag with [[ThoseTwoBadGuys those two Rat Creatures]].
--> '''Fone Bone''': "Those Rat Creatures would have to be pretty stupid [[TemptingFate to follow me on to this frail little branch]] [overlooking a cliff]."
--> ''[beat]''
--> '''Fone Bone''': STUPID, ''STUPID'' RAT CREATURES!
* TrademarkFavoriteFood:
** The purple Stupid Stupid Rat Creature. "You know we could have made quiche."
*** "Would you '''''shut up''''' about quiche!"
** Also Smiley and "the stuffed bread thingies" that Gran'ma makes for him. He likes it when they're extra stale.
*** To a lesser extent, the blank sandwiches that Smiley and Bartleby made in Volume 8
* UltimateEvil: [[spoiler:The Lord of the Locusts]]
* TheUnfavourite : [[spoiler:Briar at least feels she was one.]]
* TheUsualAdversaries: Rat Creatures
* VillainousBSOD: [[spoiler:When Briar realizes her mistake with Phoney.]]
* VillainousDemotivator
* WeCanRuleTogether
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: In-Universe example. After the [[spoiler: BigBad is defeated, Phoney reappears, leading a group of reinforcements. When he finds out the battle is over, he is furious that he didn't get a chance to show off how heroic he was]].
* WhatIsEvil: Rock Jaw has his own viewpoint on good and evil, finding both terms to be equally laughable.
* WhereItAllBegan: [[spoiler: The comic literally begins almost exactly as it ends. The Bones walking through the desert with Phoney and Smiley arguing about money. The big differences are that, this time through, Bartelby is with the Bones and they're heading ''towards'' Boneville rather than away from it]].
* WhoAreYouCallingNames: At the beginning, when the Rat Creatures attempt to eat the sleeping Fone Bone, the Red Dragon approaches, frightening them.
-->'''Red Rat Creature:''' Go away!\\
'''Purple Rat Creature:''' Do not meddle in affairs that are too big for you, boy!\\
'''Red Dragon:''' ''[EmergingFromTheShadows]'' Who you callin' '''boy'''?
** And when the little possums taunt the Rat Creatures to catch them as a plan to save the Bone cousins:
--->'''Possum: What's th' matter? I thought you were meat eaters, not quiche-eating old ladies!'''\\
'''Purple Rat Creature:''' '''''Who are you calling quiche-eating old ladies?!'''''
** Also, when Fone Bone tells Smiley that Bartleby can stay with the two Stupid Rat Creatures:
--->'''Red Rat Creature:''' ''Hey! Who are you calling '''stupid?'''''
* WhoNeedsTheirWholeBody: Bartleby reveals that rat-creatures are born with long, hairless tails, but have them cut off at birth...due to a silly superstition about a monster who would drag them off by their tails in their sleep.
* WillTheyOrWontThey: Fone Bone and Thorn. [[spoiler:They don't. Although how exactly They Would considering the Bones appear to lack... certain essential equipment... is a matter of speculation]].
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: The Hooded One aka [[spoiler: Briar. is somewhat pitable when one thinks about it, since she was actually mentally corrupted by the Lord of Locust since birth, so she never had a chance to be anything other than a villain]].
* TheWorfEffect: Admittedly, [[spoiler:Tarsil]] had it coming.
* TheWormThatWalks: [[spoiler:The Hooded One's midsection is composed of locusts]].
* YouAreInCommandNow: The Hooded One to the Pawan General after [[spoiler:she slices his predecessor in half]].
* YouHaveFailedMe: Played straight and then subverted with [[spoiler: Briar. When she mistakenly tries to sacrifice Phoney, the Lord of the Locusts ditches her for Thorn. When that plan fails, he literally gives her back her legs]].
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness: [[spoiler: The Hooded One's attitude to the Pawan armies. She says she was "done with them"]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Rose]]
* CoversAlwaysLie: Minor example. The cover is just like Jeff Smith's typical style, but the rest of it is Charles Vess's
* FreudianExcuse: ''Rose'' implies that Briar suffered (real or imagined) neglect as a child.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: In the prequel, not only does Rose unleash Balsaad, [[spoiler:but after killing him she spares Briar's life, allowing the events of the original series to happen]].
** Ah, but think of the FridgeBrilliance. [[spoiler:If the events of the original series did not happen, then the Locust wouldn't have been killed and would most likely corrupt Thorn instead, since she's also a Veni-Yan Cari, essentially turning her into a new vessel for the Locust]].
* OffModel: ''Rose'' sometimes looks a little odd, because it was written but not ''drawn'' by Jeff Smith. It was drawn by his friend and fantasy illustrator Charles Vess. In this case, the off-models were most likely intentional, since it is Vess's own style.
** Excepting, perhaps, the Great Red Dragon, whose chin gradually grows longer every time he appears in-panel.
* ShootTheDog: In ''Rose''.
* StartOfDarkness: While Briar is not the main character, it does show how she became evil in greater detail.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Stupid Stupid Rat Tails/Tall Tales]]
* AdaptationExpansion: "The Powers That Be" from provides an extended version of one of the ''Thorn'' comics Jeff Smith made in college.
* BigEater: "Big Johnson Bone Vs. The Cobbler Gobbler"
* BreatherEpisode: The light-hearted prequel, which came out between the Hooded One's identity being revealed and the Ghost Circles arc.
* ChildrenAreInnocent: After [[spoiler:Big Johnson makes Tyson bite off his tail and ultimately ticks off Queen Maud, who believes her 'baby' to be completely innocent]].
* {{Determinator}}: Big Johnson Bone '''is''' this trope.
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys: ''Stupid Stupid Rat-Tails'' has a talking monkey sidekick for Big Johnson Bone.
* FatGirl: Queen Maud. It's kind of scary to see her next to her tiiiny little handmaidens.
** {{Kaiju}}: Her son Tyson is so big, his tail ''is as thick as his mom is tall''. Considering Queen Maud to be ''much'' bigger than other Rat Creatures, that would make Tyson bigger than Godzilla.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: The founder of Boneville and the Bone's ancestor, Big Johnson Bone. Ha!
* GrievousHarmWithABody: Big Johnson Bone's main strategy for dealing with Rat Creatures; take 'em by the tail and swing!
* MamaBear: Queen Maud acts like this towards the end.
* MonsterIsAMommy: Queen Maud in ''Stupid Stupid Rat-Tails''. She does not take the fact that Big Johnson was causing her giant "baby" Tyson's "sickness" very well.
* NiceHat: Smiley's scoutmaster hat.
** Big Johnson Bone also has a nice coonskin cap.
* NoodleImplements:
-->'''Big Johnson Bone:''' Somebody got a ''better'' plan? Let's hear it, then -- and if it involves twenty pounds of bacon fat and a hot-air balloon, I can tell ya right now, it ain't gonna work.
* ScoutOut: The framing story for ''Tall Tales'' is that Smiley is telling campfire stories to Bone Scouts.
* SmallNameBigEgo: Big Johnson is pretty much a reconstruction of this. He has an unrealistically high opinion of himself, but he's able to make up for it with the impressive abilities that he actually does have.
* TreasureMap: Phoney Bone finds one in the first story. He and Fone Bone subsequently decide to hunt for the treasure instead of do laundry, [[spoiler:only to find that the "riches", which Thorn supposedly buried, [[AndYourRewardIsClothes consist of Phoney Bone's dirty laundry]]]].
* UnfortunateNames: Boneville's founder, "Big" Johnson Bone.
* UnreliableNarrator: Big Johnson.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Quest for the Spark]]
* AdventurersClub: Boneville's mentioned to have one, with Abbey and Barclay's parents and Percival as members. With the exception of those three, the club members are about the only ones who don't believe the Bone cousins' stories about the Valley.
* AscendedExtra: Roderick the Raccoon, a minor character in the comic, is one of the main stars of ''Quest for the Spark''. The third book adds a couple more, [[spoiler:Stillman the dragon and Porter the turtle, from ''Stupid Stupid Rat-Tails'']].
** The two Stupid, Stupid Rat Creatures might also qualify -- they had sizable roles in ''Bone'', but were still secondary characters. Here, they're among the main characters (making them the only two characters so far to have large roles in both ''Bone'' and ''Quest for the Spark'') and are even given their own names for the first time, when Abbey and Barclay name them [[spoiler: "Smelly" and "Stinky."]]
* BearsAreBadNews: In the second book, though they become allies soon enough.
* BigBad: The Nacht, a dragon who went rogue.
* BigBadWannabe: King Agak thinks that he is in a BigBadDuumvirate with [[TheDragon The Constable]]: who views him and his rats as nothing but muscle.
* TheChainsOfCommanding: Tom struggles with being the appointed leader of the group; especially when Randolf makes it no secret that he doubts Tom's ability to do so.
* TheChosenOne: The protagonists of the story are all chosen by [[BigGood the Dreaming]] to act as its agents against [[BigBad The Nacht]].
* CrusadingWidower: Randolf Clearmeadow, an old Veni Yan Warrior who is one of the people [[BigGood The Dreaming]] chose.
* ComingOfAgeStory: It's shaping up to be this for Tom Elm.
* CompanionCube: A dead squirrel to Stinky the Rat Creature, which he has dubbed "Fredrick".
* CoolAirship: ''The Queen of the Sky'', Percival's mode of transport. It looks like a sailingship, but with balloons instead of sails, and its engine ''runs on potatoes''.
* CoolOldGuy: Percival F. Bone, functioning like a [[TeamDad Team Grampa]].
* DemotedToExtra: Gran'ma Ben, Thorn, the Great Red Dragon, and Ted the bug make cameos. Fone, Smiley, Phoney, Bartleby, and Big Johnson Bone are mentioned, but don't actually appear.
* EleventhHourRanger: [[spoiler:Stillman the dragon, his turtle friend Porter, and a Pawa girl named Gerta]] all join the heroes in their fight in the last book. [[spoiler:Roque Ja]] is a borderline case, fighting the villains but not necessarily "with" the heroes, for [[WildCard his usual reasons]].
* EverythingsWorseWithBees: Especially when they're ''giant'' bees. ''Extra''-especially when you're working with bears who want to steal their honey.
* GottaCatchEmAll: Pieces of the Spark
* NatureSpirit: Lorimar of the First Folk, who originally came from the Dreaming and has tied herself to the forest of the Waking World, possessing plants and organic plant life in order to communicate with the characters. [[spoiler:It turns out that the plants don't even have to be living and growing in order for her to possess it, which leads to her taking up residence in the ''Queen of the Sky'' for a time]].
* PaperThinDisguise: The group uses bee outfits to infiltrate a hive in book 2. They're well aware of how ridiculous the costumes are, but go ahead with them since they work on their bear allies. (It also helps that the bees are drugged with smoke.)
* ParentalAbandonment: Abbey and Barclay's parents disappeared while searching for the Valley. Also, Roderick's parents were eaten by Rat Creatures [[spoiler:causing him to take it badly when the group has to include two of them]].
* PeoplePuppets: The Nacht's minions control victims this way.
* TheProfessor: Percival F. Bone. He looks the part too, with Einstein-like wild gray hair (the only male Bone so far to have actual hair), glasses, and a lab coat.
* RagtagBunchOfMisfits: A simple farmer kid, his raccoon sidekick, a NatureSpirit, an adventurer Bone and his niece and nephew, a disgraced ex-warrior priest, and two Stupid Stupid Rat Creatures.
* RetiredBadass: Randolf Clearmeadow, before he becomes a CrusadingWidower.
* SequelHook: The trilogy ends with everyone taking the attitude that "we'll be here if you need us again," and gives vague hints that that might be the case. [[spoiler:Until Percival receives word that his brother and sister-in-law - the twins' parents - are still out there]].
* SiblingRivalry: Mild case with the Bone twins, Abbey and Barclay, who spend most of their time bickering, but do genuinely love each other.
* SiblingSenioritySquabble: Abbey Bone is two minutes and twenty-three seconds older than her twin brother, and takes every possible opportunity reminding him of that fact, even going so far as referring to him as "my little brother Barclay."
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: King Agak, the new Rat Creature king, has more than a few traits in common with his predecessor Kingdok (though he's notably less monstrous -- especially in appearance).
[[/folder]]
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