Collecting Bone

It looks like the Bone spec is going to pan out with Netflix finally securing the rights to Jeff's Smith's award winning series.  As all internet sources are currently being raided here is a list of the rarest and most important Bone books.


Bone 1

Easily one of the top indie comics from its era, Bone was a massive hit  making the first printing of this book quite rare.  If it was tough to find pre-internet spec then it will be even harder now.

Be careful as the logo color determines the printing along with notation in indicia.



Bone 3

When it first came out 3 was arguably more sought after than 1.  This issue is set to blow up once again.


Before Bone ( 2008 )

Ohio State University released a limited edition ( 500 copies ) commemorative book. It added more strips and other Bone goodies from Smith’s college days.

Before Bone


Bone 1 ( Second Print )

Issue 1 is mighty expensive but the second print is actually worth a bit of money while much more affordable than the first. It’s not an easy find but it’ a book you actually have a chance of locating. Remember to check the interior for printing number.



The Bone Flip Book

This short flip book from 1994 animates a scene from Bone 10 and was made by a Disney animator who worked on Aladdin, The Lion King and other films. They have become quite rare.



Ohio State Lantern October 25, 1982

First appearance of Bone

Jeff Smith’s now famous comic was first published as a comic strip in this university paper.
It is the first appearance of Thorn and Fone Bone.



These strips were later collected in the rarest Bone publication



Cerebus 161

Dave Sim occasionally published previews of books he personally enjoyed. At one time this comic was highly coveted by Bone fans.



Negative Burn 3 ( 1993 )

Early Bone work sometimes showed up in odd places. Take this Caliber book where Jeff Smith’s Bone Sketchbook saw publication.



The American Comic Book

Jeff Smith did the cover to this exhibition book for Ohio State in 1985. It could actually be his first published super-herscan-120224-0001o and cover.


The Bone 20th Anniversary Boxed Set

This rarity is pricey but worth it for the true collector.  Right from Boneville here are the contents!

  • All 1344 full color pages of BONE in a single hardcover volume that measures 9 1/2 x 7 x 3. The book is adorned with colorful foil stamps and art work and includes a satin ribbon bookmark.
  • A signed and numbered art print of a previously unpublished piece of BONE concept art.
  • A 22k gold plated coin with Phoney Bone’s head on one side, and Fone Bone on the reverse giving the dates of BONE #1 July 1991, and the 20th Anniversary July 2011.
  • Pewter figures of the three Bone cousins.
  • A miniature facsimile of the BONE #1 comic book in black & white as originally published in July 1991.
  • A Cover Gallery & Documentary Book that includes:
    • A new essay by cartoonist Jeff Smith called “Twenty Years with BONE”.
    • An Illustrated 20 Year Time-Line
    • All the BONE comic book and graphic novel covers.
    • Award winning feature length documentary DVD – The Cartoonist:
      Jeff Smith, BONE, and the Changing Face of Comics.
  • My favorite part of this is the coin!


There is also an anniversary slipcase edition





Bone Barnes & Noble Tribute ed. with poster

This one was an exclusive and must have the poster to maker it worth tracking down.  Make sure it has the sticker on the cover.



The Bone Omnibus

Oversized and out of print Omnibuses are a great long term investment.  This is true of Bone like any other, especially foreign editions.



Wizard Ace Edition 12

With a print run under 5000, this reprint of issue 1 is still out there cheap.  That won't last long.



Disney Adventures Vol. 4 67811

First Bone in color

Disney decided to reprint the first issue of Bone over three issues in 1994.



But the real find is #11 where the series printed and original Bone short “ May the Force be With You”. It was the first original story printed outside of the Bone comic in color.



Bone Scholastic Handbook with Rat Creature papercraft included

Scholastic has a long history of publishing Bone.  Here is one of their rarities.



War of the Independents 1

This comic has it all including Bone on the cover!




Savage Dragon 41



Lethargic Comics 9 ( 1994 )

NOTE:  Bone also appeared in Gen 13!



Bone 1 Tokyopop 2006 reprint

There were multiple issues printed, here is the first.


There were a fair amount of figures and other toys released.  Here are some of the one you should know about.


Limited Kingdok


1995 Hero Magazine mail away Fone Bone limited to 1000


Bone Gold Coins with pouch

This internet exclusive was made available on the Boneville webpage.  It contains 3 coins instead of 1 like the boxed set


In 2000 Dark Horse released a lunchbox!


The Bone action figures from 2000 are not that tough to find but 9.8's of the mini comics included may be.



Bone 1/2 Wizard Mailaway Gold Only


The Bone 1991 Halloween Giveaways 2008,2010



Bone 55

Last issue

Last issue can do quite well, The series ended with issue 55


  • Avatar

    I thought this was going to be a feature length cartoon released in theaters?

    Not sure what the strength of spec value is on a Netflix cartoon show.

  • darkside or darkseed

    The spec value is the tpbs are all over schools. Scholastic introduced Bone to a huge swath of the populace. Kids love(d) it and those kids are growing up.

    Side note, there are newsstand versions of some of the Image issues. I don’t know how long they last but they exist (and are tough to find).

    • Avatar

      If “scholastic” is what introduced kids to these characters, why would those kids suddenly start buying expensive comic book versions of those characters just because of a cartoon series on Netflix ? Your logic is bad, just like this spec.

      • Dan Piercy

        This is not “bad spec” it’s good information and stuff to look for out there on the cheap. Believe what you want though.

      • Ben C

        You are welcome to chime in there with something more productive than insulting the writer…

        • Avatar

          It’s not “insulting the writer” to call the spec bad. The article is written just fine, but all anyone needs to do is look at past performance of “Netflix spec” to see the obvious.

          • Topher

            As for Netflix they are one of the last platforms left that can really move animated. See Cannon Busters 0 which was a massive flip for a property no one really knew about. Bone has long been one of the the most popular and profitable indie comics of all time.

      • Topher

        Are you kidding with this post guy?! The point is to show you what’s out there for Bone both high end with some unknown cheaps sprinkled in.

        • Avatar

          Yes I got that. But you began your article with “It looks like the Bone spec is going to pan out with Netflix…”.
          When has a “Netflix spec” panned out? Who can reasonably be expected to successfully “spec” on “rare Bone” comics ?
          You expressed your thoughts and opinions in your article, and I am simply pointing out the obvious flipside in the comments.
          That okay?

        • Avatar

          Huh? Bone has never been a popular comic. Issue 1 is the only one anyones has cared about, for the same reasons people only care about albedo 2- the perception of rarity. Well there are plenty on Ebay now, with still only a handful of sales after that initial announcement. This would have maybe been a stronger spec had it gone to Nickelodeon- one of the largest producers of children’s content in the world and it’s on basic cable. If anything, going to Netflix kills the spec, it doesn’t help it “pan out”.
          I apologize if opposing views offend you.

          • Avatar

            Basic cable is more expensive than Netflix, is not as easily accessible or mobile as Netflix, Nick is only in about 85 million households Netflix has over 150 million subscribers worldwide, basic cable is bleeding subscribers while streaming is booming (Netflix included though they’ve more or less plateaued). While I think TV spec in general is risky I fail to see how a show being on Netflix is bad or somehow worse than a basic cable channel.

          • Topher

            Um no. Bone was hot as hell for a long time with the first 10 issues demanding solid money long before the modern speculation age. Why? Because it was great. No variants, no tv deals, just award winning comics that lead to a solid run at Image.

            As stated in the article issue 3 also demanded just as much money as issue one for some time!

          • A. J. Diesel

            Albedo #2 is the first app of one of the most popular independent characters, why wouldn’t that be hot? And Netflix certainly did wonders for Umbrella Academy.

      • Avatar

        Because Scholastic Books is one of the largest distributors/publishers of books to schools in the world and has been in that business for 100 years. When they distributed Bone it was the mid 1990s and those kids grow up be adults with disposable income. Also nostalgia is a powerful thing that drives a lot of the collecting market. You can disagree without being a prick as well.

        • Avatar

          Anytime someone brings up how “popular” a comic is because of how TPB versions of it sell through scholastic, tells me that we are not talking about a very popular comic at all (see, also, Kamala and Moon Girl).
          First, scholastic does not report their sales, so nobody in the general public knows what’s actually selling what.
          And second, publishers practically donate those TPB to scholastic for free, so that they (scholastic) can sell them at a deep, deep discount themselves. Bone isn’t a hero title, and it strains credulity to state that “nostalgia” will cause significant portions of the population to suddenly seek out back issues of Bone. Why wouldn’t they just pick up another TPB dirt cheap on scholastic’s website instead ?
          Sorry if you feel someone merely stating an opposing opinion, while pointing out a few facts makes them a “prick”.

          • Avatar

            Being a “Hero” title is irrelevant as numerous comics are highly valued and collected without being such titles.

            More to the point the nostalgia I was speaking to was among collectors. We are them and we don’t just go buy a 2019 reprint of a TPB do we? This is why Bone #1 and other first prints are sought after to this day. If you think about a lot of the market is that way.

            I think you are confusing speculation/flipping with collecting. In the current market a lot of times the seller is either flipping a fund or a collector cashing in. But many people are still collecting and they are often the buyers. And you cannot seriously tell me that peoples collecting habits are not driven partly if not largely by some measure of childhood nostalgia. News like a new show will trigger some of those collectors who may fondly remember Bone to increase that collection.

            As to popularity make of it what you will I guess. It’s a subjective term I imagine. Still any comic that incurred 4 to 7 printings of its first 8 issues or so, plus was picked by Image and printed all over again, and again several times in trades, well those had to read by someone.

          • Avatar

            Anyone who believes nostalgia doesn’t play a big part in the market isn’t paying attention.

  • Avatar

    You missed the leatherbound collected edition which is signed by Jeff Smith. I believe there are only 2000 copies. I actually bought two of them when they were released. Gave one away as a present. I had no idea they were signed until later as I tend to buy books and shove them on my shelf and forget about them. Which means my copy is still sealed! Woot! Last I checked they go for about $500 sealed. Just checked, there’s one buy it now/best offer on eBay for $1,299 or an unsealed one for $699.

    Sold listings: 9/7 buy it now @$300 & 8/1 @$350. 9/7 seller has only 151 feedback score and 8/1 306. Leading me to think they didn’t really know what they had. If I could afford it, I’d pick them up at those prices all day as these rarely come up sealed.

    In any case, it’d take a lot for me to part with my copy.
    Thanks for reminding me I have one!

  • Avatar

    I don’t know about you, but I made killer coin off of Umbrella Academy thanks to Netflix.

    So Netflix comic Spec is alive and well me thinks.

    If I had Bone issues, I would be selling now at a premium.

  • Avatar

    I’m hoping the show eventually does get made. It’s tailor made for an animated show. I remember how everyone loved the book in the ‘90s. I managed to grabbed a first print of Bone #1, but I neglected to get the Thorn collected book when it was (relatively) cheap.

  • Avatar

    Comicwonders, your opinion lost all credibility when you said “Bone has never been a popular comic”. You’re either new to the game, or in denial. What did Bone do to you? Can you show us on the doll where Bone touched you?

    • Avatar

      Sorry, maybe I should have clarified- Bone has not been a popular comic for the last 20+ years.


      And oh yeah, how are those umbrella academy books doing now lol? Netflix spec is probably the weakest spec of this nature out there.

      • A. J. Diesel

        Umbrella books are doing wayyyy better than they were before the series came out. Do you want to continue looking foolish? Having an opinion is one thing, being factually wrong is entirely another.

        • Avatar

          So your logic is, because they are still doing slightly better than dollar bin business that Netflix shows are great spec?

          Try again.

          • A. J. Diesel

            Did I ever say anything was great “spec”? No I didn’t. I don’t need to prove I’m right, as I’ve got no skin in this argument. I’m simply proving that you my friend are wrong…in turn making me right. So it’s a win win.

            You said Netflix is awful speculation. Clearly Netflix has boosted sales for books. And if you bought cheap and sold high, then Netflix is absolutely great for speculation.

            So although they aren’t as hot as when the Netflix show initially premiers, they still maintain relevance and develop a following with people who wouldn’t have necessarily read the material prior too. This creating more demand for the supply.

            I’ll be teaching business 101 if you want to enroll. You can email me directly my friend.

          • Avatar

            I get the feeling you like the sound of your own voice.
            I refer you back to my original comment on the matter. And several comments below that. I said Netflix had been shown to be THE WORST for this kind of spec, and that is 100% accurate, despite your weak sauce claims about Umbrella Academy, a show people have already forgotten about. You prove my point without even realizing it. Good job.
            And thanks for the invite, but if I ever decide I want business advice from somebody, I won’t be getting it from someone who actually believes making $10 on Umbrella Academy books during a one week window from netflix a “win” lol.

          • A. J. Diesel

            My man. Literally everyone in this comment thread has schooled you. There is no ill will, take the loss and move on like a champ…

            I bought 36 copies of FCBD Umbrella Academy at a flea market for a quarter a piece. So $9 for the group.

            Sold said group (have about 10 away for free because I appreciate the community) for over $1,300.

            So please, tell me again how NETFLIX “spec” is bad? Sour grapes bro. We’re all friends here.

            And for a guy who continually comments on this article to say “you like hearing your own voice”…just a bit hypocritical. And inaccurate as you can’t hear a voice through text.

  • Avatar

    For anyone arguing over this Bone spec, I have to ask…. did you even read Bone? Do you know about the low indie print runs? Have you ever seen a 9.8 1st print 1st issue ever? The supply of premium keys for this series is extremely small.

  • AZBarbarian

    As a long time fan of ‘Bone’ I am really happy to see this being developed. This book has been on the radar of lots of collectors for a long time. People who say ‘Bone’ isn’t popular are off base. Finding the early issues in the wild is nearly impossible in my experience.

  • Avatar

    Comic wonders hates money. I’ll buy any amount of Umbrella Academy FCBD’s at $10 a piece.

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