Showing posts with label Jeff Smith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jeff Smith. Show all posts

Monday, March 02, 2015

International Ink: Smallbug Comics, the Avengers and Bone book reviews

It's been months since I've had the time to post any reviews, but some new material has arrived in the mail recently and it's prodded me to start again. I'll try to work my way backwards too, even if it's only a brief mention of the book and my thoughts on it. - Mike Rhode*

Charles Brubaker's minicomics, Smallbug Comics #2 (December 2014) and #5 (March 2015) remind me of the heyday of Harvey Comics. His characters Koko the Witch and her younger brother Jodo would easily fit into Casper the Ghost's world. In #2 Jodo accidentally acquires the Wizard King's crown and proceeds to enjoy all the attention he gets -- until the crown is reported stolen. In #5, Koko and Jodo take an 'enchanted' yet still horrible train ride for a break on their annual day off. Both stories rely heavily on physical humor and sight gags. Brubaker's storytelling is competent -- you can tell what's happening, and the words and text work together (this isn't always true of comics, even from full-time professionals).

Ask a Cat consists of 1-page cartoons from an advice column answered by a cat. They didn't do much for me, but a colleague at lunch laughed out loud at "What should I make for dinner?" and "Meow, meow, meow, meow. Meow?" The appeal of this zine probably depends on your interest in cats on the internet.

I think these minis would be good for teens, especially those interested in DIY comics. Brubaker's websites are and Brubaker also writes on the history of animation at Cartoon Research.

Jeff Smith's Bone: Out from Boneville Tribute Edition (Scholastic Graphix, $15) is a very pretty version of the beginning of the almost classic graphic novel. An insensitive or suspicious reviewer may believe that this edition is an answer to the age-old question of "how to sell yet another version of the book to people who already have it?" I personally have the original comic books, Smith's b&w reprints, Smith's one-volume b&w reprint, and the Scholastic editions with Steve Hamaker's excellent coloring. This 'tribute edition' is for Scholastic's 10th anniversary of publishing the story; the comic books themselves began in the early 1990s. And what's the tribute one may wonder? In addition to a "brand-new illustrated poem by Jeff Smith!" one also gets "minicomics and artwork inspired by Bone, created by 16 bestselling, award-winning artists." The poem features the Rat Creatures and much of the artwork is from Scholastic's stable of cartoonists turned children's book authors. For the record, the sixteen are Kate Beaton, Jeffrey Brown, James Burks, Frank Cammuso, Nathan Fox, Jimmy Gownley, Kazu Kibuishi, Mike Maihack, Scott Morse, Jake Parker, Dav Pilkey, Greg Ruth, Dan Santat, Raina Telgemeier, Doug TenNapel and Craig Thompson. Snark about multiple editions aside, Bone is one of the great comics for youngsters, and this version is a good introduction to the series.

Marvel: The Avengers Vault (Thunder Bay Press, $35) is by noted comic book writer Peter David (who, according to the Grand Comics Database, never actually wrote the Avengers). As a wee lad, my favorite superhero team was the Avengers. I'd been given a copy of Avengers #8, introducing Kang the Conqueror, by a cousin, and I spent the next 25 years buying their comics. I can't really relate to the Avengers-centric Marvel Universe of today, but the movies are well-done and probably a good part of the reason this book exists. And honestly, the kid reading Avengers #8 would have loved this book. The 'Vault' part of the title is "ten collectible pullouts: a Thor poster, concept art for Iron Man, Captain America's Sentinels of Liberty membership card, original art by Jack Kirby, and more - perfect for the superfan's bedroom wall." The text of the book is quick summaries of the histories of the Avengers and its most famous members Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk. David does a good job of summarizing almost 50 years of comic book backstory for each chapter, including the major supporting characters, and highlighting Marvel's post-Civil War history. Chapter 6 is a brief look at animated television adaptations, and then there's an appendix of Avengers members which splits into teams such as The Illuminati, the New Avengers, and the Mighty Avengers. It's too much for this aging fan's brain, but a tween who likes comics or the movies should love this book.

*'International Ink' is what Jonathan Fischer, my first editor at the City Paper, titled the column whenever I did book reviews.

Friday, November 08, 2013

NPR reviews Jeff Smith's 'RASL'

Noir Storytelling And Art Thievery In Living Color In 'RASL'
By Etelka Lehoczky
"Smith's dark tale of a dimension-jumping scientist, whose name is pronounced "razzle," is relayed in a jaggy style that couldn't be more different from that of the artist's Pogo-esque epic Bone."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Jeff Smith at Library of Congress National Book Festival

100_0590 LOC NBF Jeff Smith

I got to talk to Jeff Smith for a few minutes at the National Book Festival of the Library of Congress. The interview should appear at the Washington City Paper site this week, but here's my Book Festival pictures.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hellboy game review in Onion UPDATED

This is in the physical paper this week - "Hellboy: Science Of Evil," Reviewed by Scott Jones, Onion July 21st, 2008.

Other items on comics are appearing on their website:

Jeff Smith
Interviewed by Tasha Robinson
Onion July 28th, 2008

Jules Feiffer
interviewed by Sam Adams
Onion July 29th, 2008

Mike Mignola
Interviewed by Jason Heller
July 24th, 2008

The Luna Brothers
Interviewed by Tasha Robinson
Onion July 25th, 2008

San Diego Comic Con, Day 0: July 23, 2008
By Keith Phipps
Onion July 24th, 2008

Your guide to the WALL-E controversy
posted by: Sean O'Neal
July 10, 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008

July 21: Jeff Smith interviewed on PBS Newshour tonight and website later

This one comes in from Arlingtonian Herschel Kanter - you can watch the Newshour on WETA, WMPT or WHUT tonight or send questions in for Jeff Smith to answer later online, ala the Washington Post's chats. Here's the details:

Jeff Smith and the Bone Comics

Jeff Smith, the artist who draws the wildly popular "Bone" comics says he grew up hiding his drawings in math books.

Now, after launching his first issue in 1991, Smith's drawings have sold over four million copies and have been published in multiple languages. They are on display at the Wexner Center For the Arts at Ohio State University.

"Bone" is an epic fantasy featuring three cousins - Fone Bone, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone - who get lost in a strange world.

He takes your questions on the world of comics and the inspiration behind his series.

Answers will be posted Wednesday, July 30.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Small Press Expo Adds Matt Wagner, Jeff Smith and Kim Deitch As Guests for SPX 2007

Big year at SPX! Lots of great names will be there.

Small Press Expo Adds Matt Wagner, Jeff Smith and Kim Deitch As Guests for SPX 2007

For Immediate Release
Contact: Warren Bernard

Bethesda, Maryland; August 29, 2007 - The Small Press Expo (SPX), the preeminent showcase for the exhibition of independent comic books, graphic novels and alternative political cartoons, is proud to add Matt Wagner, Jeff Smith and Kim Deitch to the roster of guests for SPX 2007. This years SPX will be held October 12 and October 13 at The North Bethesda Marriott Convention Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Matt Wagner is one of the pioneers of indie comics with his original creation of “Grendel”, which celebrates its 25th Anniversary this year. Matt also created, wrote and drew “Mage”, and has worked on a number of projects for both DC and Vertigo. His next installment of the Grendel saga, “Behold The Devil” is due to be released this November from Dark Horse.

Jeff Smith, is the creator of the celebrated epic “Bone”, which has over a half million copies in print and is now available in Italian, Spanish, German and many other foreign languages. Jeff recently completed his critically acclaimed reworking of the Golden Age hero Captain Marvel, “Shazaam! The Monster Society of Evil” for DC Comics. He has recently been named by Fantagraphics as the art designer in charge of the upcoming reprints of Walt Kelly’s classic, “Pogo”.

Kim Deitch will be at SPX to promote his well received latest graphic novel, “Alias The Cat” from Pantheon Books. Kim is one of the original “underground” cartoonists who redefined comics in the 1960’s and has also worked in the field of animation.

These creators are in addition to Bill Griffith, Gilbert Hernandez and Rutu Modan who were previously announced as guests at this years SPX.

Additional guests will be added over the next few weeks, please stay tuned for those announcements.

For further information on the artists or to request an interview, please contact Warren Bernard at

SPX, a non-profit organization, brings together more than 300 artists and publishers to meet their readers, booksellers and distributors each year. Graphic novels, political cartoon books and alternative comics will all be on display and for sale by their authors and illustrators. A series of panel discussions will also be held of interest to readers, academicians and creators of graphic novels and political cartoons.

SPX will be open to the public from 2 pm - 8 pm, Friday, October 12 and 10am - 7 pm Saturday, October 13. Admission is $8 for a single day and $15 for both days.

SPX culminates with the presentation of the 11th Annual Ignatz Awards for outstanding achievement in comics and cartooning. The Ignatz is the first Festival Prize in the US comic book industry, with winners chosen by balloting during the SPX.

As in previous years, all profits from the SPX will go to support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF), protecting the First Amendment rights of comic book readers and professionals. For more information on the CBLDF, go to their website at

Founded in 1994, SPX is North America's premier alternative comic-book festival. This annual event brings together comic creators, publishers and more than 2000 fans together to celebrate the art of storytelling.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Zadzooks interviews Jeff Smith of Bone

Jeff Smith, Bone cartoonist was interviewed in "Mix of tradition, fantasy comics pays off for artist" by Joseph Szadkowski in the WASHINGTON TIMES (June 16, 2007). Szadkowski writes the Zadzooks column every Saturday in the Times and it usually has a comics bit. This Bone interview continues into next week.