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Saturday, 14 August 2010


written and drawn by Richard Moore
Publisher: NBM

What’s It About?
Michael Paris has inherited a nightmare from his grandfather. Inheriting a graveyard would be bad enough but he’s inherited a graveyard that is home to a small community of monsters. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that one of those monsters is a cute vampire called Abbey, an old friend of Paris’ grandfather and the unofficial leader of the Boneyard residents. Abbey wants Michael to listen to their side of the story before he signs the papers Mayor Wormwood needs before he can demolish the Boneyard. Their side of the story involves a fish woman, a walking skeleton, an auto-mechanic who is werewolf, an incompetent demon with a Napolean complex and a very short witch but she’s confident she can turn him around.

The creatures who have made the Boneyard their home want to live in peace; Paris wants to forget his ex-girlfriend and live a quiet life; the people of the town want to burn them all out; and something dark and ancient wants the Boneyard for itself…

What’s Good About It?
Moore’s characters are striking in two respects. In the first instance they grab the readers’ attention because of how they look: the sheer variety of supernatural types that inhabit the Boneyard from Sid the walking skeleton with his permanent cigar, to Ralph the wolf-man in his biker leathers and shades. As you read the series though each character is shown to have their own backstory, character quirks and subtleties. In spite of the cartoony art style (more on that later) this series was designed to appeal on the character level as well as on the action one. This concentration on variety extends to the villains, who have a similarly extended cast introduced in volume one and explored across the series.

The centre of the series is the relationship between Paris and Abbey. While in many ways this takes the form of a typical “Will they? Won’t they?” relationship it does evolve over time, it isn’t stuck in stasis but nor is there a sudden moment out of the blue where they tear each other’s clothes off. Their immediate attraction to one another is complicated by a number of factors (as is par for the course), but rather than concentrate only on the roadblocks Moore has them develop a genuinely sweet friendship that grows more intimate as they come to understand one another. Their relationship is also largely untroubled by angst because this is, after all, a comedy.

Speaking of which, Moore plays with all sorts of comedy. Being both writer and artist means Moore can choreograph his gags precisely so both visual humour and dialogue humour come across just as the writer intends. Most of the humour comes from Paris’ moments of “Oh God, what now?” befuddlement at the antics of his tenants or from the over-the-top actions of the tenants themselves (not least of which the ineffectual attempts of Glump to conquer the world) but there’s also a small pinch of satire thrown in (the Devil invented slogan t-shirts).

As well as using his characters to play interesting variations on classic monsters Moore tells stories that put a spin on classic horror and fantasy scenarios. One such example is in volume five where he has the FBI send Abbey in undercover at a summer camp to capture an axe-murderer or Glump trying to take over the world using various giant animals.

What’s Bad About It?If you end up enjoying the first volume and following the series then you should be warned of two things. First, volume four features the absolute king of editorial cock-ups in that when they collected together the issues for the fourth arc they managed to miss the final issue out. I don’t know if this was fixed in subsequent editions but it means that volume four ends on an unnecessary and frustrating cliffhanger. The missing material is, however, included at the beginning of volume five so you won’t have to go hunting for the issue itself if you want to know what happened.

Second, the series ended prematurely due to Richard Moore’s ill-health. While he had plenty of time to bring the series to a conclusion, wrapping up most of the major plots, some of the ongoing subplots and mysteries remain unresolved to this day. It is by no means an unsatisfying ending, in fact it ends things quite nicely, but it isn’t as complete an ending as it could be.

The backstory of the Nessie character should be mentioned at this point as it forms a major thread in the fourth volume and a minor one in the fifth. This backstory is potentially triggering as it involves physical and mental abuse.

Finally, if you go looking for other work by the author be warned that he has published pornographic work in the past. I recommend looking up his work on the NBM Publishing website [found here] rather than on Amazon because it lists his erotic and non-erotic work separately. As a consequence of this background, there is a lot of adult humour in Boneyard but nothing of a pornographic nature.

What’s the Art Like?All art examples from the original black and white edition of Boneyard Volume 1. Our apologies that we are unable to provide examples of the newer coloured volumes NBM has recently published.

This is our first glimpse of the Boneyard cast. Moore’s character design is simple, composed mainly of large block shapes with minimal detail. Unlike many authors who work in black and white Moore rarely attempts to produce texturing effects through hatching or impressions of colour through the use of grey scale. This is purely black and white work: ink and blank paper. Given both the style and the subject matter, most definition is achieved through use of black blocks and contour lines.

And so the love story begins… but seriously, here we have Moore drawing comedy and showing off some of the virtues of his work. Throughout the gag we see Paris and Abbey displaying a variety of different emotions from the big (Michael’s screaming declaration straight out of a Hammer horror film) to the more subtle (the reaction shots of both characters in the middle row of panels). There’s also a surprising amount of care taken with the characters’ anatomy in spite of Moore using a very cartoonish style. Moore makes a lot of effort in regards to his characters’ builds, making sure to populate not only his main cast but his background characters with a wide variety of body types.

Other Information
NBM is a small company and so it rotates its catalogue in and out of print. The first Boneyard collection (ISBN 1561634271) is currently out of print but available cheaply second hand from Amazon here and will probably be back in print in the not-too-distant future.


  1. I'm going to check out Boneyard. It sounds like an excellent series with lots of interesting characters!

    It is interesting that you mention that the publisher has put out the books in color editions besides the original Black & White. Personally, I always want to see what the creator originally intended color or b/w with the art. It is similarly frustrating when comic strips are published with the Sunday pages in b/w rather than the original color.

  2. I know what you mean. Especially with original black and white art being coloured as there are so many little tricks to imply colour used in the original art that just end up as visual clutter with real colour slapped over them.

  3. I love Boneyard! It's a fantastic and pretty original comic series!
    I bought the color version, but I kinda prefer the original B&W now :P