One of the panels I was most excited to be covering was the spotlight on Jeff Smith. I have been a huge fan of Jeff’s work since I picked up issue 8 of Bone at my local comic store. Reading the adventures of the Bone cousins always reminded me of the first time I read The Hobbit. I managed to get a seat in the second row, right in front of the podium where Smith would be speaking.
Smith self moderated the panel, and opened things up discussing RASL. Smith discussed the process of creating RASL and how he spent a lot of time on research, as he wanted the science to be as real as possible. He said he was looking to do an Arthur C. Clarke book, with Dashiell Hammett characters.
For the last six months, Smith has been preparing to release the collected RASL. He has been adding pages to the story, cleaning things up, and having it colored. Smith brought on Steve Hamaker, the colorist for the Bone Scholastic color books, as the colorist. The book is set to be released in September, and is available for preorder now from Amazon.
Smith next talked about what he is going to work on next. As previously reported, Smith will be coming out with a new title called Tuki Save The Humans. Tuki will combine the humor and fantasy that Smith had missed from his time working on Bone. It will take place 2,000,000 years ago, and Tuki will be Homo Erectus. The story is during the Ice Age, and the moisture has been sucked out of Africa, creating a desert. Tuki goes on journey to leave Africe, to become the first human to ever leave Africa. Along the way, all of Africa will try to stop Tuki – the animal spirits, humans, creatures, and more.
Unlike Bone and RASL, Tuki will be in color from the beginning. Smith intends to release it as a weekly free web comic. Eventually he will release chapters or arcs as books for sale. Tuki will something that kids will be able to read, and as his editor at Scholastic has been pushing for more books from Smith, Scholastic will likely eventually publish it.
Smith was asked about the Bone movie, and he said Warner Bros. is still spending money on developing it, even five years, so as far as he knows it will eventually happen.
I was able to ask Smith about the IDW Artist’s Edition of Bone: The Great Cow Race, that had been announced the day before at the IDW Artist’s Edition panel. I wanted to know if I could maybe have the entire Bone story in the Artist’s Edition format. Smith said he was very encouraged by the reaction to the audience at the idea of releasing all nine books as Artist’s Editions. I asked what he thought of having been able to release and sell Bone originally as a black and white book, then color, and now as books of his original drawings. He responded that he was very excited that he found another way for people to buy the book.
The panel left me very excited to see a lot more work from Jeff Smith in the near future.