After Netflix Pulled Plug On Highly Anticipated Comic Adaptation, Its Creator Drew An A+ Response

Outside of YouTube, Netflix has been the king of streaming for as many years as there has been reason to make such a distinction. But even as it continues to stack up victories, such as Bridgerton’s slightly less sexed-up Season 2 taking over the most-watched TV rankings, Netflix’s more troubling issues are more obvious than ever. Along with revealing its eventual plan to introduce ad-based subscriptions, the company reported its first subscriber losses in a decade, causing its stock to plummet. As those announcements were made, reports also surfaced pointing to several in-development projects that the platform pulled the plug on, including the long-gestating and highly anticipated adaptation of Jeff Smith’s acclaimed comic series Bone.

First surfacing in 1991 for a 13-year span of fantastical and imaginative adventures, Jeff Smith’s Bone is right up there with Watchmen and Maus when it comes to seminal graphic novel works. Thus, it was beyond all realms of exciting once Netflix announced it would be bringing an animated version of Bone to fans around the world back in 2019. But as disappointed as fans no doubt were to hear of their Bone adaptation dreams being dashed anew, no one could be more put off than the creator himself, and Smith shared his feelings in a perfectly fitting way on Twitter, and all while paying homage to Peanuts.

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As responses to bad news go, Jeff Smith’s fully-crafted comic take on the situation is awesome and a masterclass in passive scathing. Charlie Brown’s attempt to kick the football from its holder, Lucy, is akin to Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the Road Runner, or Joker’s efforts to thwart Batman. Each is an impossible-to-conquer situation that remains engaging regardless, partially because of the neverending attempts being made. This really just makes it all the more heartbreaking that this is how Smith has come to view the process of making a Bone adaptation happen.

The disappointments started for Jeff Smith back in the late 1990s, which is when Nickelodeon Movies stepped in with plans for a feature adaptation of Bone, but their ideas for how to spin things (which reportedly included NSYNC on the soundtrack) went against what Smith’s own interests. Around a decade later, Warner Bros. acquired the film rights, with the goal of building up a whole film series around the beloved title. However, those efforts went on for around eight years without anything worthwhile coming out of it, with directors such as My Best Friend’s Wedding and Peter Pan helmer P.J. Hogan and Kung Fu Panda’s Mark Osborne attached at various points.

And just as we’d all become comfortable with the idea that Netflix was actually going to make the impossible a reality, that’s when reality reasserted itself and crushed such dreams. It might hurt less if Smith hadn’t been so gung ho and positive about the experience when he opened up about it during the three years Bone was being developed as a streaming series. He was able to pull together a “dream team” of animators and artists that would have presumably delivered the epitome of what a Bone adaptation could be. And now? Nothing. Not even a fistful of bone dust. 

It’s one thing to have to get used to Netflix cancelling shows after just a single season, but it’s a wholly different tier of disappointment to hear about a project getting canned when it’s still in the process of being put together in the first place. And considering this was presumably the furthest anyone has ever come to turning Fone Bone into a “living and breathing” character, as it were, it would be the perfect time for another platform to leap up and take control before everyone involved moves on to other projects. 

While waiting to hear if anything else will happen with Bone, check out everything Netflix has cancelled and renewed to date, while anticipating some of the service’s other upcoming animated projects that presumably won’t get cancelled

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.