Bone, the critically-acclaimed all-ages fantasy comic book by Jeff Smith, is headed to Netflix. The streaming giant acquired the rights to adapt the award-winning comic book into an animated series. The acquisition is part of Netflix’s renewed efforts to reach younger audiences. The saga follows Bone, Fone Bone, and Phoney Bone, who find themselves cast out of Boneville and into a wider world of magic and adventure. Smith will oversee the television series himself. He’s worked on the series since he was 10 years old. It saw publication beginning in 1991 and ran for 55 issues before reaching its conclusion in 2004. The series won 10 Eisner Awards and 11 Harvey Awards making it one of the most acclaimed children’s comics of all time. Originally printed in black and white, Scholastic imprint Graphix Books added color to the series, which can now be found in school libraries across North America.
"I’ve waited a long time for this,” Smith said. “Netflix is the perfect home for Bone. Fans of the books know that the story develops chapter by chapter and book by book. An animated series is exactly the way to do this! The team at Netflix understands Bone and is committed to doing something special — this is good news for kids and cartoon lovers all over the world.”
Smith had previously attempted to see the comic adapted into movies, but the project became stuck in development hell and never emerged. The series was adapted into two video games developed by Telltale Games, Bone: Out from Boneville in 2005 and The Great Cow Race in 2006.
Netflix is moving hard into children’s programming. In addition to signing Smith for Bone, it also signed Doc McStuffins creator Chris Nee and Gravity Falls creator Alex Hirsch to overall deals to develop new intellectual properties for children on the streaming service. Netflix’s lineup of kids children’s programming includes the Green Eggs and Ham animated series, the Boss Baby cartoon, the live-action Baby-Sitters Club, and the animated Hilda, which is also based on a comic. It also acquired the rights to Roald Dahl’s catalog.
The deal for Bone comes close to the debut of Netflix’s biggest challenger in the streaming space yet, Disney+. With the Disney name behind it, Disney+ will not be at a loss of programming that appeals to young viewers. WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and Apple’s Apple TV+ are also preparing for launch, with properties like Sesame Street and Peanuts under their respective umbrellas.
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