Thorn (comic strip)

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Author(s) Jeff Smith
Current status / schedule Concluded
Launch date 1982
End date 1986
Syndicate(s) The Lantern
Publisher(s) Ohio State University

Thorn was a college comic strip created by Jeff Smith at the Ohio State University.


In 1982, Jeff Smith enrolled at the Ohio State University to study cartooning. During his time there, he wrote and illustrated Thorn. The eponymous heroine was modeled after his future wife, Vijaya Iyer, who he met at the University. The Bone cousins, Fone Bone and Phoney Bone, were based on his childhood drawings. In 1983, a compilation, currently out of print, titled Thorn: Tales From The Lantern was published, and was limited to 1,000 copies.

In 1986, Smith submitted some strips to newspapers in a failed attempt to get the strip syndicated. According to interviews with Smith, the newspaper syndicates approved of Thorn, but wanted to make several changes, some of which included dropping the Great Red Dragon and Thorn Harvestar, and having the Bone cousins "think out loud" in a style reminiscent of Garfield and Peanuts. Several of the strips formed the basis for its successor, Bone.

The Art of Bone, published by Dark Horse Books in 2007, reprinted some of the strips, including the ones that were submitted for syndication. In 2008, a second compilation titled Before Bone followed, and was limited to 500 copies.


The characters featured in Thorn were prototype versions of the Bone characters. They were:

  • Thorn Harvestar
  • Fone Bone
  • Phoney Bone
  • Gran'ma Ben
  • The Hooded One
  • The Great Red Dragon
  • Ted the Bug

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