Jeff Smith’s Bone, yet another long brewing comics adaptation, seems to be finally coming to fruition it was announced today. The classic all-ages comic is in development as an animated series at, where else, Netflix, according to Deadline’s Geoff Boucher.
Creator Jeff Smith had a statement at the ready:
“I’ve waited a long time for this. Netflix is the perfect home for Bone. Fans of the books know that the story develops chapter-by-chapter and book-by-book. An animated series is exactly the way to do this! The team at Netflix understands Bone and is committed to doing something special — this is good news for kids and cartoon lovers all over the world.”
Bone started in 1991 as a self-published black and white comic from Cartoon Books, a publishing house run by Smith and his wife, Viyaja Iyer, and found a whole new generation of fans as a reprint in Disney Adventures. It reached even greater heights in color as the lead title in Scholastic’s Graphix imprint, where its gone on to become a perennial bestseller, with 8 million copies in print in 30 different languages.
The story involved three creatures, the Bones cousins, Fone Bone, Smiley and Phoney, and their adventures in a fantasy world helping a warrior princess named Thorn reclaim her throne. Along there way there are cow races, stupid rat creatures and many other very wonderful and beloved characters and scenes.
As Boucher mentions, Bone has had a looong journey in development, including a stint at Nickelodeon and at WB.
Starting in 2008, multiple Warner attempts to adapt the saga to a feature film failed to gain traction. Then, in 2016, Warner Bros announced that Mark Osborne (Kung Fu Panda, The Little Prince) was on board to co-write and direct the first installment of a Bone franchise. When that endeavor also fell short the stage was set for Netflix and a new approach.
Smith himself has a background in animation, which made him more knowledgable about the process than the average cartoonist – and he has always been a very active participant in the adaptation process. But after many stops and starts it seems that Bone has yet again found the perfect home…and at the just the right time.
Luke Pearson’s Hilda, another animated series based on an indie comics, has been a hit for Netflix, and it’s only logical that they would reach out for the gem in the crown of kids fantasy comics.