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Cartoonist Jeff Smith and his publisher Cartoon Books have made an exciting announcement. They will be releasing “Thorn: The Complete Proto-Bone College Strips from 1982 to 1986, And Other Early Drawings,” which includes Jeff Smith’s early comic strip “Thorn” that was published in his university’s student newspaper, The Lantern. This strip featured some of the characters who later became famous in his acclaimed series, Bone. This collection marks the first time the complete run of these early strips will be available in one volume.
Last month, we reported that Jeff Smith planned to reprint his early comic strip “Thorn” for his university’s student newspaper, The Lantern. The partial collection had a limited print run of one thousand copies, but there hadn’t been any reprints since Bone gained popularity. These limited copies of the original Thorn strips were sold at Heritage Auctions for an impressive price of $13,200 in 2020.
Jeff Smith himself confirmed our report, stating, “It’s true! Official announcement and first look next week!” Now that the week has arrived, Cartoon Books has officially announced the publication of “Thorn: The Complete Proto-Bone College Strips from 1982 to 1986, And Other Early Drawings.” This volume will finally make the entire run of Jeff Smith’s early rendering of the Bone characters available to fans. It’s interesting to note that Smith initially had doubts about reprinting these strips.
“Talking Jeff into this book wasn’t easy, but fans have been asking us for years,” explains Vijaya Iyer, Publisher at Cartoon Books.
“I confess I was a hard sell at first,” says Jeff Smith. “Talk of reprinting the Thorn comics has always been a non-starter for me. I didn’t think they were very good. In fact, I had an unshakable idea that they were terrible. But when I read them for the first time in over 40 years, I was surprised to find I enjoyed them! It’s fun to see these stories and know they eventually evolved into Bone.”
The “Thorn” comic strips were an early version of Bone that was originally written for a college audience in the 1980s. These strips were published five days a week in The Lantern, the student newspaper of The Ohio State University. A few of them were reprinted in a self-published book called “Thorn: Tales from The Lantern” in 1983. Another small selection was included in the limited edition fundraiser book “Before Bone” in 2008. However, these books have been out of print for a long time and are now sought after by collectors. This upcoming edition will be the first official and complete publication of the entire run of the Thorn strips.
In addition to the comic strips, this edition will also include bonus material such as recently discovered early drawings of the Bone characters, as well as essays and interviews.
“Thorn: The Complete College Strips” will be available in both hardcover and mass market paperback formats. It will be launched on Kickstarter in October for release in Spring 2024.
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Basant Kasayap is an entertainment aficionado who delves into the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry. From Hollywood to Bollywood to regional cinema, she offers readers an insider’s perspective on the world of movies, music, and pop culture.