Writer/Artist/Cover artist: Jeff Smith
Publisher: Cartoon Books
Price: $3.50 US (not printed on publication)
The new Indy Movement is underway with the release of a new, self-published title from one of the three biggest names in comics self-publishing. Jeff Smith amazed us all with Bone, and he even broke through an industry barrier, capturing the attention of non-comics readers, tapping into a wider market. Last year’s announcement of this new project was one of the more exciting pieces of North American comics news, and now, it’s finally here. It’s a delight to see more work from Jeff Smith, but what’s most interesting and engaging about RASL is the dramatic shift it represents in his storytelling. The softness and expressiveness we’ve come to expect from Smith’s art is still apparent, but the subject matter and protagonist boast a harsher tone, making for a surprising change. Don’t misunderstand me, though… it’s a welcome change. It’s entertaining to watch Smith exercise some different muscles in terms of plotting, characterization and dialogue. His rogue thief hero and the mystery that surrounds him will no doubt appeal to just about any reader, and not just those familiar with Smith’s work or fans of the medium.