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Wed, 30 May ’12

Comic Book Day: A Bone to Pick with Jeff Smith

Two decades of Fone Bone fun and counting.

Osteoporosis means nothing to Jeff Smith because his Bone is unbreakable. Calcium deficiencies and terribly clever intro jokes aside, Smith has been a staple of the comics landscape for the past twenty-plus years, thanks in no small part to landmark works like Bone and his sci-fi noir epic RASL. For many readers out there, Bone was a constant throughout our youths; the story grew richer and more layered as we grew older, but always maintained the same sense of childlike wonderment and fantasy we’d fallen in love with. Fortunately, we had the chance to catch up with Smith to talk about the state of self-publishing today, how his creative process changed over time and the marrow at the heart of Bone.

Nerdist News: It’s the twentieth anniversary of Bone, a staggering and impressive landmark by all accounts. Given that hindsight is 20-20, would you have done anything differently in your approach to Bone or are you content with how everything played out?

Jeff Smith: 
So much of what happened to me during Bone’s publication was serendipitous, like the culmination of the Self-Publishing Movement that became so prominent in the ’90s, or the growth of the internet that flashed Bone around the world just as the world was shrinking. I ran across the right friends, and had incredible timing in terms of the mood of comic buyers and readers. I can’t look back and picture a better course of events. I was very lucky to have the opportunities I did.

NN: Your current comic RASL is certainly darker in tone than Bone and has been described as sci-fi noir. What is it about RASL’s story and the noir genre that excites you? Were you eager to write something that wasn’t necessarily “all ages?”

What I like about noir is its restrictions – you can only know what the protagonist knows. That makes for a tightly compacted story that moves at a quick pace. And it’s a challenge from a writing standpoint. Noir is about the human condition, and maybe that’s where I’m at in this stage of my life. 

Be sure to read our full interview with Jeff Smith over at Nerdist.com. RASL #14 is available today at your local comic book store and you can get more information on Jeff and Bone‘s 20th anniversary celebrations at his website.