I Wanna Be Literated #140

I Wanna Be Literated #140

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Wednesday, 11 January 2017
COLUMN

RASL
by Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith has made a permanent fan out of me against all odds. I’ve only read his book Bone, but what an epic tale that was. And Bone is far from being a perfect story, but that’s just the kind of impact the book can have on people. Smith creates worlds full of interesting and complex characters and the man knows how to move the plot along. Also, I read Bone in the original black-and-white format and taking in Smith’s world simply with the rawness of his lines was an absolute pleasure. And the man puts out his comics himself — how punk rock is that?

I have to admit, I don’t remember Rasl getting a lot of press when it was released. It’s his “official” project after Bone which made a huge splash, so you’d think it would be a book people mention or reference more. I do remember seeing it in a “Best American Comics” collection some years back. Anyway, that’s a shame because Rasl is as complex and interesting as anything else Smith’s done.

Right away what you notice in Rasl is the hideous character design. I don’t know if it’s the coloring or Smith’s choice but the people who populate Rasl are not pleasant to look at. Their features are just “off” at times and other times straight up grotesque. But once that hurdle is overcome, the true complexity of the story which involves everything from romance, religion, time travel, conspiracies, inter-dimensional travel, intrigue, and betrayal takes shape. Smith has crafted a sci-fi plot and injected it heavily with quantum physics and the life story of Nicolai Tesla. Throughout the story, Rasl must outsmart all sorts of characters and conjure up a plan not just to save himself, but possibly our entire universe. You know, low stakes…

Rasl is a terrific book that’s both fun and intellectually stimulating. It’s a remarkable and complex, and a proud entry in the Jeff Smith portfolio

Get your copy from the man himself.

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