If you’re a fan of comics or graphic novels at all, or if you have a kid of reading age, you know who Jeff Smith is. Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to find a kid who hasn’t read the Bone books. The epic story of the Bone cousins, Ted, Gran’ma Ben, Thorn, the Great Red Dragon, and all the other wonderful characters that populate the books is one of the most enchanting, engrossing, gorgeous stories ever put to paper. (Can you tell I’m a fan?)
Bone just celebrated its 25th anniversary, and to date, it’s won an astounding 10 Eisner Awards and 11 Harvey Awards (and a veritable boatload of other awards). All of them very much deserved. If you’ve never read it, please do yourself a favor and go start right now. Start with Out from Boneville (in its glorious colorized edition), or go full-in with the complete epic in the original black and white.
Post-Bone, Smith has (thankfully) stayed quite active. Thanks to him, we have Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil (DC Comics), the adorable Little Mouse Gets Ready (Toon Books), and Rasl and Tuki (both originally published as webcomics and decidedly less kid-friendly).
On this episode, we chat about self-publishing, having one story dominate your career, the effect of awards and acclaim, what an “all-ages” label really means, why Bone mostly escapes the persistent “boy’s/girl’s book” stigma, and McDonald’s in India.