You are here

80 Original Drawings by Bone Creator Jeff Smith on View at Wexner Center This Summer

80 Original Drawings by Bone Creator Jeff Smith on View at Wexner Center This Summer 

Mon, May 5, 2008

Concurrent Show at Cartoon Research Library Features Work Created by Smith While a Student at Ohio State 

Columbus, OH—Jeff Smith: Bone and Beyond, the first museum exhibition of work by the influential, Columbus-based comic book artist and writer—best known for his epic graphic novel Bone—will be on view May 10–August 3, 2008 at the Wexner Center for the Arts.

The exhibition—a partnership between the Wexner Center and The Ohio State University's Cartoon Research Library, collaborating for the first time on an exhibition—will include about 80 original drawings: primarily original black-and-white pages from Bone, with a smaller selection of full-color Bone covers and post-Bone work, including original drawings from Smith's recent Shazam series for DC Comics and from Rasl, a story about a time-travelling art thief. Smith will also be creating an installation on the wall of the lower lobby of the Wexner Center.

The exhibition includes a selection of original comics whose artists Smith cites as direct influences, among them examples from Walt Kelly's Pogo, Carl Barks’s Uncle Scrooge, Will Eisner's The Spirit, George Herriman's Krazy Kat, Charles Schulz's Peanuts, Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury, and E. C. Segar's Thimble Theatre.

A related show called Jeff Smith: Before Bone—which features a selection of Smith’s pre-Bone work, including pieces he created for The Ohio State University’s campus newspaper The Lantern—will be on view nearby in Ohio State's Cartoon Research Library.

Bone and Beyond is organized by David Filipi, the Wexner Center's curator of film and video, and Lucy Shelton Caswell, professor and curator of Ohio State's Cartoon Research Library.

“Graphic storytelling is enjoying a level of critical and cultural currency as never before,” Filipi says. “This truly is a golden age for the medium, and we are excited to be presenting the first solo gallery exhibition of one of the great artists of his time. As both a writer and artist, Jeff has created an unparalleled body of work and, with Bone, a work that transcends age and will be read for generations. We’re also thrilled to be collaborating in a significant way with the Cartoon Research Library.”

Notes Caswell, “Bone and Beyond is a celebration of the work of this important artist and writer. Jeff’s achievement with Bone is monumental, and this exhibition offers a look at this artist at the height of his creative power.”

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue featuring an introduction by Caswell, and essays by Filipi, Sandman creator Neil Gaiman, and cartoonist and scholar Scott McCloud. It will also include an interview with Smith conducted by Filipi and Caswell.

Bone and Beyond will also include a cell phone tour. A video interview with Smith is available here.

A series of talks and events has been scheduled during the run of this exhibition. Smith will take part in a conversation with Scott McCloud on May 10 at 2 pm in Mershon Auditorium. Exhibition curators Caswell and Filipi will host an informal gallery talk at 12:30 pm on May 14. Eisner Award-winning comic book artist Terry Moore will speak on May 15 at 7 pm in the Wexner Center Film/Video Theater, followed by a talk and signing by comic book artist Paul Pope on May 20 at 7 pm, also in the Film/Video Theater. And on June 5, Smith will introduce a Looney Tunes Evening, a selection of his favorite Warner Brothers cartoons. Smith will also be a special guest at the Spring Exhibition Opening on Friday, May 9, 6–9 pm. Additional events will be announced in the coming months.

Admission to this exhibition is free. Click here for more information on visiting the Wexner Center and here for information on visiting the Cartoon Research Library (which is just steps away from the Wexner Center). Please note that the Cartoon Research Library’s exhibition is open 9 am–5 pm Monday through Friday. Also on view in the Wexner Center galleries May 10–August 3: Jane Hammond: Fallen and Mary Heilmann: To Be Someone. Walk-in Tours of all three exhibitions are held Thursdays at 5 pm and Saturdays at 1 pm beginning May 15.


Born in Pennsylvania and based in Columbus, Jeff Smith conceived of the Bone characters as a child, producing primitive comic books featuring the now-famous characters. He worked as a cartoonist for The Ohio State University’s campus newspaper The Lantern as an undergraduate, and while there wrote a strip called Thorn, which featured characters that would later go on to populate the panels of Bone. In 1991, Smith launched the company Cartoon Books in order to publish and distribute his work.

The black-and-white Bone was published in full-color editions starting in 2005 by Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic, and has gone on to sell more than 2 million copies midway through its nine-volume run. Bone has won 10 Eisner awards during its publication and has been translated into fifteen languages and has been used as a literacy tool for teachers, parents, and children on Scholastic’s website. Dark Horse Comics recently published The Art of Bone, a handsomely mounted collection of behind-the-scenes Bone artwork. In 2007, DC Comics issued Shazam! Monster Society of Evil, a four-part mini-series recreating a classic serial from comic’s Golden Age. And Warner Bros. has recently purchased the rights for the film version of Bone, which Smith will executive produce.

Smith has received nine Harvey Awards, one of the most prestigious awards in the comic art world. For the Harvey Awards he was named “Best Cartoonist” in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997,1999, 2000, and 2003,  and received a “Special Award for Humor” in 1994 and Best Graphic
Album of Previously Published Works (for The Complete Bone Adventures) that same year. In 1995, Time magazine selected Bone as one of the 10 greatest graphic novels of all time. More information on Smith and his work is available at



CALENDAR INFORMATION: Jeff Smith: Bone and Beyond, the first museum-based exhibition of work by the influential graphic novelist (based in Columbus)—along with original comics by artists who have influenced him—will be on view May 10–August 3, 2008 in the Wexner Center Galleries, located at 1871 North High Street at 15th Avenue at the Ohio State University. A concurrent exhibition of his university work will be on view in the nearby Cartoon Research Library. The Wexner Center galleries are open 11 am–6 pm Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday, and 11 am–8 pm Thursday–Saturday. The galleries are closed on Mondays and holidays. Admission is free. Parking is available in the Ohio Union Parking Garage, just south of the Wexner Center on High Street. Parking also available in the South Campus Gateway garage, on High Street between 9th and 11th avenues. Group tours are available by calling 614 292–3535. Visit for more information.



Jeff Smith: Bone and Beyond is organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts and Cartoon Research Library.

The exhibition received major support from Scholastic Inc.

All Wexner Center exhibitions receive support from the Corporate Annual Fund of the Wexner Center Foundation and Wexner Center members.

The preferred airline for this exhibition is American Airlines/American Eagle.

PARKING UPDATE: Construction at 15th and High. For more information click here.

Sign up to receive center event updates directly in your inbox.

Enjoy an array of benefits including free gallery admission, ticket discounts, and more.

Find us, follow us, and continue the conversation wherever you are online.