You are here

More Than 75 Original Drawings by Bone Creator Jeff Smith on View at Wexner Center This Summer

More Than 75 Original Drawings by Bone Creator Jeff Smith on View at Wexner Center This Summer

Tue, Apr 1, 2008

A Concurrent Show at Cartoon Research Library Features Work Created by Smith at The Ohio State University

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 more than 75 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, Will Eisner's The Spirit, George Herriman's Krazy Kat, Charles Schulz's Peanuts, Carl Barks’s Uncle Scrooge, 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.

Admission to both exhibitions 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.


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 in Mershon Auditorium. Eisner Award- winning comic book artist Terry Moore will speak on May 15, followed by a talk by comic book artist Paul Pope on May 20. And on June 5, Smith will introduce a Looney Tunes Evening, a selection of his favorite Warner Brothers cartoons in the Wexner Center’s Film/Video Theater. Additional events will be announced in the coming months.


Born in Pennsylvania and currently 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


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.