Story and art by Joey Weiser
The genius of the comic Bone was in its simplicity. At its core it was a story about three cousins who stumble in to an adventure that is much larger than any of them could possibly have imagined. With deceptively simple lines, and clever storytelling, Bone went from a self-published project to an international sensation…And everyone wanted to capture some of that magic.
The Ride Home by Joey Weiser is another one of those books that attempts to make a Bone-like story. In fact, it tries so hard, it actually lifts characters and sequences directly from the aforementioned Bone.
Nodo is a van-gnome (a gnome who lives in and takes care of a family’s mini-van). Gnomes are invisible to people (but not animals), so he peacefully lives in the van and takes care of it while the family goes about their business. One day, on a trip to the vet, the family cat sees Nodo and attacks him. Nodo falls from the van and is now lost and homeless.
The remainder of the story involves Nodo attempting to find his way back to his van. Along the way he befriends a number of fantastic creatures including a dragon and another gnome.
Yeah. That’s pretty much it. I wish that I could say that the story was enjoyable or that the art was captivating, but I am left with an overall feeling of “meh”. The art was serviceable and did an okay job of telling the story, but it did nothing to enhance the story or clarify it.
The story progressed quickly and rapidly moved from situation to situation. There was never an opportunity for any real tension to develop or character growth to occur. I never felt like Nodo was in any real danger or that any of the characters were more than one-dimensional. In 168 pages of story, I expect that an author is able to create either some sense of tension or flesh out characters beyond their outward appearance. Weiser does neither.
The most effective and enjoyable pieces of the story are the pieces that he lifted from Jeff Smith’s Bone. It is hard to argue that this:
does not bear a striking resemblance to this famous scene:
Add to that the peculiarly dog-like dragon (who appears and helps Nodo out of a tough situation when called, a la the Red Dragon) , being chased out of town by the gnomes who are “just like him”, literally falling down and away from an attacking animal (it was locusts in Bone, a cat in The Ride Home), not to mention the cows (seriously…with all the barnyard animals, he had to go with cows?) and it is just way too many coincidences for me to look beyond this pale imitation of Bone.
But, don’t take my word for it. Weiser has posted the entire book on his website.
The Ride Home is a watered-down attempt at re-writing the Bone story. Save your money and purchase the real thing!