A few days ago, Hollywood Reporter posted that we’re finally getting an animated Bone.
Jeff Smith’s Bone is one of the all-time great comic books that has nothing to do with superheroes. The lighthearted story of three funny, whimsical, cute characters through a magical land starts off feeling very much like Animaniacs meets Lord of the Rings.
It’s a very long series, though, and a lot happens. Bone clocks in at 55 issues, which are collected in a single, truly enormous tome. It has a complex, convoluted, and downright dark story to tell. Before long, it’s feeling less like Animaniacs meets Lord of the Rings and more like, maybe, Animaniacs meets The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. And Lord of the Rings.
There’s a heavy Lord of the Rings vibe, is what I’m saying.
It’s that juxtaposition of the cutesy cartoon characters of the cousins Phoney, Smiley, and Fone Bone against a fantasy backdrop that becomes increasingly more disturbing and violent that makes the book so fascinating.
This is also what makes Bone so hard to adapt to other media. People have tried before, and this won’t be the first time Smith’s characters have been animated. Telltale Games, in one of their very first projects, took on the series.
The game wasn’t bad for an early Telltale release, and much of the work they did there was built on in the subsequent Sam & Max, Monkey Island, and other adventure games before they shifted to the somewhat less puzzley style we see today in The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones.
Telltale hired a great cast for the project, including veteran video game voice actors Doug Boyd (Sinclair in BioShock) and Andrew Chaikin (often credited as Kid Beyond in other Telltale projects). However, the extremely broad setting and story was apparently too much for them. Sadly, episode 2 was never released.
Who is Directing the Animated Bone?
We’re pretty confident that the new animated film based on Bone will turn out just fine, though. Helming the production is Mark Osborne. He found his big break as a director on SpongeBob Squarepants, before making his big break as the director of 2008’s Kung Fu Panda.
His real success in our book is the superlative Netflix Original adaptation of The Little Prince.
It’s a wide-ranging resume. Kung Fu Panda and SpongeBob are both wacky cartoons. They’re full of gags and more than a few fart jokes. The Little Prince is quite the opposite, bringing most viewers to tears by the end.
That’s exactly what gives us confidence in Bone. The very premise of the fantasy epic is taking wacky cartoon characters and placing them into fantasy situations. Shockingly dark fantasy situations.
Did you ever wonder how Yakko, Wakko, and Dot would fare against Sauron? You’ll totally get your answer when Bone hits theaters.
Better yet, pick up the Complete Edition on Amazon. It’s a monster at 1,344 pages (seriously!), but it is well worth it. It’s one of those rare underrated journies that will grab you from the first panel. You won’t be able to put down the book until you’ve finally finished.