It needs to be said (because I’ll take every opportunity I can to say it) that Bone is one of my favorite books, and I will never not recommend it to people. When I read comics as a teenager, it was one of the stand-out series being published at the time: creator owned, independently published, with all the writing and art done by one person. And it was beautiful. The writing was charming and endearing, and the art was ambitious, innovative, and impassioned. He could convey so much without dialogue.
It was a tour-de-force.
When the series ended, I kind of felt like Jeff Smith disappeared. How do you follow such a great work? For me, it would be like JRR Tolkien going on to write a story he hadn’t spent his whole life developing.
So, I know that Jeff Smith worked on DC’s Captain Marvel, and I knew about RASL, even if I had no idea what it was about. Then I read BlackRaven‘s review, and decided it was long past time I gave it a shot.
And it works so well in black and white.
RASL is a very different kind of comic. It’s more of a science fiction/noir, and the characters (for the most part) are just normal people. And when I think “noir”, I don’t think “cartoony”. With that said, this book does slide pretty seamlessly from noir into science fiction, and is even a little creepy at time (the above characters face, for instance). So even if the art doesn’t really seem to fit, it works well enough for it not to be a significant issue.
But, visually, it wasn’t as impressive as I was hoping it would be, given Jeff Smith’s history.
The story itself is compelling without really grabbing me. I want to know what’s going to happen next, but am not burning to find out.
The book follows a dimension jumping art thief named Robert Johnson (also known as RASL). He is being chased by an assassin, who has apparently stolen (and improved) the technology that allows them to jump in between worlds. I don’t think I really did the story justice – but that’s the basic outline.
I don’t know. I’ll continue reading it – but I wasn’t blown away like I’d hoped I’d be.