A 1990’s comic book series that needs no introduction, a title we all should know but many people may not since it was first introduced almost 30 years ago – a true classic. I decided to showcase the Bone comic book series this week due to the fact of some newly generated news about a show coming to Netflix. I think now is a good enough time than any to learn more about the Bone family. This article will help serve that purpose and introduce you to a cartoony marshmallow blob of characters, their friends, and even some enemies. No powers, no extraordinarily human abilities, but just a good fun read in comic books that many people consider a modern-day classic! Let me introduce you to Fone, Phoney, and Smiley Bone.
For the comic book collectors who are unfamiliar with the title, Bone is a comic book series released bi-monthly from 1991 to 2004. It tells the amazing story of the Bone cousins – Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone – as they are run out of their hometown of Boneville and into precarious and treacherous situations while crossing the desert and ending up in the valley. The mysterious journeys that follow are all a result of one of Phoney’s schemes during a campaign run for mayor in Boneville. To say that Phoney Bone does not cause more mischief in the story is an understatement.
The Bone characters are suitable for all age groups; both young and old. They are fun, silly and bring the reader that pinch of humor but at the same time contain drama and danger that we all like to read about on occasions. You can’t help but fall in love with these characters. Eventually, the Bone cousins meet other characters in their journey outside Boneville to include Thorn, a young woman who owns a farm and her Gran’ma Ben, rat creatures and their King, a mysterious hooded figure, and a dragon – oh my! All of which makes this story one of the best comic book storylines ever written. Don’t believe me, check this out:
1993 Russ Manning Award for Most Promising Newcomer
1993 Eisner Award for Best Humor Publication
1994 Eisner Award for Best Serialized Story: “The Great Cow Race”; Bone #7–11
1994 Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series
1994 Eisner Award for Best Writer/Artist: Jeff Smith
1994 Eisner Award for Best Humor Publication
1995 Eisner Award for Best Humor Publication
1995 Eisner Award for Best Writer/Artist: Humor: Jeff Smith
1995 Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series
1998 Eisner Award for Best Writer/Artist: Humor: Jeff Smith
2005 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album: Reprint: Bone One Volume Edition
1994 Harvey Award for Best Cartoonist (Writer/Artist): Jeff Smith
1994 Harvey Award Special Award for Humor: Jeff Smith
1994 Harvey Award for Best Graphic Album of Previously Published Work: The Complete Bone Adventures; reissued in color as Bone: Out from Boneville (Scholastic Corporation)
1995 Harvey Award for Best Cartoonist (Writer/Artist): Jeff Smith
1996 Harvey Award for Best Cartoonist (Writer/Artist): Jeff Smith
1997 Harvey Award for Best Cartoonist (Writer/Artist): Jeff Smith
1999 Harvey Award for Best Cartoonist (Writer/Artist): Jeff Smith, for his body of work in 1998, including Bone
2000 Harvey Award for Best Cartoonist (Writer/Artist): Jeff Smith
2003 Harvey Award for Best Cartoonist (Writer/Artist): Jeff Smith
2005 Harvey Award for Best Cartoonist (Writer/Artist): Jeff Smith
2005 Harvey Award for Best Graphic Album of Previously Published Work: Bone: One Volume Edition
Bone was created, written and illustrated, by Jeff Smith for Cartoon Books (self-published). The Bone cousins first appeared in Bone #1 (1991). What is interesting to note about this series is that Cartoon Books published issues 1-20, Image Comics published issues 21-27, and Cartoon Books picked up the publishing again from issues 28-55, with issue 55 being the last issue in June 2004. If you’re looking for the covenant 1st issue, be careful, there are multiple prints. There are 8 prints of the first issue, each print has a different color for the Bone logo; green, blue, yellow, orange, lavender, etc. The 1st print has the Bone logo in bright red and that is the copy you want if you are ever so lucky to find it. Good luck!
The census is extremely limited when it comes to this particular comic book. Being an independent, self-published, series one can imagine the low print run that was produced. Amazingly, according to GoCollect, which also tracks the CGC census, there are only 352 graded copies of Bone #1 (1st print) with only 23 graded at 9.8. Very low numbers indeed, especially since only 16 are blue label 9.8s. According to GoCollect, there has only been one sale of this comic book graded 9.8 in 2018 for $4,600! You add in appreciation, low census, Netflix, and just wow! At the time of this writing, there are two active listings on eBay for a CGC 9.8 – one for $8,999 and the other for $9,250.
One of those lovable characters that everyone likes. The artwork, which both cover and interiors are done by Jeff Smith, is in black and white, and to some, that is what makes this story stand out. There are many storylines to catch up on before the Netflix series begins. The initial story “Out of Boneville” is a good start for anybody. Can these characters get any higher? No one knows what will happen next with these characters but I think it’s fair to say the fan base is already there and waiting. Collect what you want to collect but be it known, on this day, you now know who Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone are – an original family of characters that will make us laugh, cry, and sad all at the same time during their wondrous adventure outside of Boneville – enjoy the ride!
Please share your thoughts and comments you have about the Bone comic book series? Are you excited about the Netflix announcement and are looking forward to the series? Does the Bone characters remind you of any other comic book character? Which Bone cousin is your favorite? Which Bone series is your favorite? Who is another comic book character you like a Character Spotlight on?
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