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The Cartoonist: Jeff Smith, BONE and the Changing Face of Comics (2009)

Not Rated | | Documentary | Video 22 May 2009
A profile of cartoonist Jeff Smith and his acclaimed fantasy comic book series, Bone.






Credited cast:
Beth Emery ... Narrator
Jeff Smith ... Himself
Scott McCloud ... Himself
... Herself
... Himself
Paul Pope ... Himself
Terry Moore ... Himself
Lucy Caswell ... Herself
Jim Kammerud ... Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Martin Fuller ... Himself


The inspiring story of Jeff Smith's creation of the epic comic book, BONE, hailed by critics as one of the greatest graphic novels of all time. Fellow cartoonists Scott McCloud, Colleen Doran, Harvey Pekar, Paul Pope and Terry Moore, as well as friends, associates, experts and Jeff himself, share their stories of this worldwide phenomenon that began in small comics hobby shops and is now found in bookstores, schools, libraries and the homes of millions of adults and children in 25 countries. In addition to discussing Jeff's early years, influences and philosophies, the film provides a look at a unique industry and art form that continues to evolve as its audience expands. Written by Ken Mills

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Not Rated




Release Date:

22 May 2009 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1 / (high definition)
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User Reviews

Comes across as a PR piece
13 June 2014 | by See all my reviews

I love Bone. I think that Jeff Smith is probably a pretty decent guy. That said, this documentary feels bizarre. So much of it is dedicated to the topics of popularity and trying to persuade the audience that comic artists are rock stars that it just sort of leaves a bad taste in your mouth. The narration sounds like a tour guide at Disneyland, the scoring feels wrong throughout (like some stock music was used by a dispassionate editor). Many of the right people were interviewed, but it feels like the director didn't know what questions to ask, didn't know what to cut out and leave in, and probably doesn't understand comics as a genre.

We hear a little bit about the genesis of Bone and the self-publishing challenges that Jeff Smith faced, and I wish that we heard a lot more about that. We also hear a lot of Smith comparing his storytelling to Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, and it's just kind of a sad comparison. I hope that the Bone films someday materialize and that they reach the same kind of widespread appeal that Lucas and Tolkien have found, but to make a film like this before any of that has happened seems pretty lame.

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