(previous interviews in this series can be found here.)
Welcome to another installment of 5 Questions with a 5-Year-Old. Today, Zoey chats with Jeff Smith, writer/artist/creator of the amazing Bone graphic novels.
Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to find a kid who hasn’t read the Bone books. Zoey is 5, has a pulse, and has a dad who read the comics from issue #1 way back when, so she of course is in love with the Bone cousins, Ted, Gran’ma Ben, Thorn, the Great Red Dragon, and all the other wonderful characters that populate the books.
Even as an adult who has read the books multiple times, the story is just so utterly enchanting and charming that I get whisked away on an adventure every single time I open one of the books.
For those who don’t know, Bone began as a self-published black-and-white comic in 1991 under Smith’s Cartoon Books banner. It temporarily switched over to Image Comics before returning to Cartoon Books to finish out its 55-issue run. Beginning in 2005, Scholastic began to put out collected trades of the story in brand-new color editions. They actually used the Bone color editions to launch their Graphix imprint, which has since become a wellspring of fantastic, kid-friendly graphic novels. (Seriously, I haven’t found a bad book yet.)
To date, Bone has won an astounding 10 Eisner Awards and 11 Harvey Awards. All of them very much deserved.
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).
Zoey was particularly taken with the fact that Jeff began drawing the Bone cousins when he was a kid not much older than she is now. Beginning the afternoon after their chat, Zoey began sketching Fone Bone from memory. And we’ve since noticed a remarkable improvement in all of her art. We’re attributing that to Jeff’s influence, so thanks for that! You’ve inspired another artist!
As always, all questions are Zoey’s. I simply prompt her with “clue words” so she can remember. (Make sure you turn on subtitles if you can’t make out Zoey’s questions.)
Zoey’s favorite moment comes at 1:16, for obvious reasons.
Thank you very much to Jeff Smith for taking the time to chat with Zoey and to Kathleen Glosan at Cartoon Books for helping to arrange the interview.
PS: A week after she met Jeff Smith, Zoey also got to meet Tom Sniegoski–who wrote some of the stories in Bone’s Tall Tales and the Quest for the Spark trilogy of novels, which take place in the Bone world. Consider her life made at the moment.