Jeff Smith, one of the most successful self-published artists in the history of comics, spent some time kibitzing with CBR TV at WonderCon about his upcoming IDW Artist’s Edition for “Bone’s” Great Cow Race storyline, the importance of viewing comic book art in sequence — even when looking at the original pages — the upcoming “RASL” hardcover — which he says is even better in color than in black & white — and sharing a quick first look at his upcoming webcomic debut, “TÃ¼ki Save the Humans.”
On the upcoming IDW Artist’s Edition for “Bone”: Since the very beginning when [Scott Dunbier] did “The Rocketeer” [Artist’s Edition], he’s been wanting to do a “Bone” version of it. I’ve been completely into it because I just think they’re super cool. I think they’re one of the coolest things to happen to comics in a long time. On the neato scale, they’re at 11, for sure. I’ve always been wanting to do it, but it was just difficult. I think the first year we talked about it was the 20th anniversary of “Bone,” and we had a lot of “Bone” books coming out and we thought, “Man, maybe that’s too soon,” or it would get lost. It was just things like that. It took a long time to get all the stars to line up, but I’m very excited about it.
On the upcoming color hardcover for “RASL”: [Doing the “Bone” books in color] did give me more confidence. It also made me think color sells a lot. There’s a lot of people really attracted to the color. So, I kept “Bone” in black and white because that’s what I really like, and Scholastic does the color versions. Now, I’m self-publishing “RASL” again, but I wanted to explore color with it on my own. I got Steve [Hamaker, “Bone” colorist] back and we discussed — it’s got a noir-ish, hard-boiled feel to it, so it can’t be the same thing as “Bone.” It’s not a fantasy, it’s not a comedy and we worked really hard. We struggled for months until we came up with a palette that was very rich and very smoky and very different from “Bone,” and yet it is actually better than the black and white. I’ve very happy with it.
On “TÃ¼ki: Save the Humans”: This is not something that’s probably going to happen until summer or fall. I’ve got the main characters and I know the plot, but I’ll probably make a trip to Africa this fall, I think. Just to get my feet on the soil and the rock, because this is a story of the first human being to leave Africa, and all the forces of Africa are conspiring to keep him from doing it. I think it’ll be fun. There’ll be sabertooth tigers and other humanoids and Gods and things. It’s going to be a lot of fun.