Jeff Smith, born on February 27, 1960, is an American cartoonist. He is best known as the creator of the self-published comic book series Bone.
Jeff Smith was born in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania to William Earl Smith and Barbara Goodsell. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio.
Smith learned about cartooning from comic strips, comic books, and animated TV shows. The strip he found to be the most entertaining was Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts, which he had his father read to him every Sunday, and which inspired him to learn to read. Smith was also inspired by Scrooge McDuck creator Carl Barks, whom Smith calls a “natural comic genius” for his ability to move characters effectively from panel to panel, and for their expressiveness. Alluding to the influence of Barks on Bone, Smith commented, “I always wanted Uncle Scrooge to go on a longer adventure. I thought, ‘Man, if you could just get a comic book of that quality, the length of say, War and Peace, or The Odyssey or something, that would be something I would love to read, and even as a kid I looked everywhere for that book, that Uncle Scrooge story that was 1,100 pages long.”
Another seminal influence was the television program The Pogo Special Birthday Special, which Smith saw at age nine. The show was created by Walt Kelly and Chuck Jones, whom Smith later called “two of my most favorite people”. The day after that program aired, a girl brought her father’s Pogo book to school and gave it to Smith, who says it “changed comics” for him. Smith keeps that book on a table next to his drawing board today, and refers to Kelly as his “biggest influence in writing comics”.
Bone is an independently published American comic book series, written and illustrated by Jeff Smith, originally serialized in 55 irregularly released issues from 1991 to 2004.
Smith’s black-and-white drawings, inspired by animated cartoons and comic strips, are singularly characterized by a mixture of both light-hearted comedy and dark fantasy thriller. The author, Jeff Smith, describes the comics as “a fish-out-of-water story. There are three modern characters who happen to be cartoons in the mold of Donald Duck or Bugs Bunny, and get lost in a fairy-tale valley. They spend a year there and make friends and enemies, finding themselves caught up in the trials and tribulations of the valley, and even a war.
The series was published bimonthly with some delays from June 1991 to June 2004. The series was self-published by Smith’s Cartoon Books for issues No. 1 to No. 19, by Image Comics from issues No. 20 to No. 28, and back to Cartoon Books for issues No. 29 to No. 55.