Rasl Pocket Book One TP Jeff Smith 1st print Bone Cartoon Books Movie


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RASL: Pocket Book One Paperback
by Jeff Smith

From The New York Times best-selling author of Bone comes a stark, gritty sci-fi series about a dimension-jumping art thief — a man who races through space and time searching for his next big score — and trying to escape his past. Known only by the four-letter word found spray-painted at the scene of a crime, RASL stumbles across a mystery that spans centuries and not only threatens to expose his illicit activities but also could uncover one of the world’s most dangerous secrets.

In this collection of the adventures of dimension-jumping art thief RASL, Smith (Bone; Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil) has created a gritty graphic novel for mature audiences that is as captivating as its enigmatic hero. RASL is the tag of Dr. Robert Joseph Johnson, whose former career as a scientist working on classified projects at a military base called “The Compound” has been exchanged for one as an interdimensional art thief for wealthy clients. But his former employers won’t leave him alone. RASL, a devotee of the work of engineer and inventor Nikola Tesla, possesses information which, in the wrong hands, could prove disastrous. Enter Sal, a lizard-faced assassin, who can “drift” through dimensions as RASL does, and so relentlessly pursues him into a variety of parallel dimensions. Though Smith is eminently competent at creating engaging dialogue, he is at his best in wordless action, where he shows a mastery of pacing as well as an ability to render his protagonist as fully human. The narrative moves back and forth through space and time in a manner that cleverly mirrors his hero’s travels. Taken together, these elements form a stunning visual narrative that impresses with its originality, sophistication, and complexity.

Publisher- Cartoon Books (November 1, 2010)
Paperback- 232 pages
ISBN-13- 978-1888963243
Weight- 14.4 ounces
Dimensions- 6.5 x 0.5 x 9 inches

Let’s just get this out of the way early–if you’re coming expecting a tale like Bone or a book for kids like Bone is…don’t. This is a completely different, darker tale and most definitely not for kids. It is however, a pretty darn fantastic story.

Rasl lives in a world much like own and a time like our own. But Rasl is not like you or me. He has the ability to travel across dimensions into parallel universes. He uses this unique ability to steal art from other places and sell in his own. But Rasl wasn’t always this way. He used to be a top scientist, working with his best friend for the military till the day it all came crashing down. And now its coming back to haunt him as an assassin is on his trail hunting him through multiple dimensions and killing the people he cares about over and over. Rasl is running hard trying to evade the assassin and protect those that he cares about, but he doesn’t have much time left.

The artwork in this series is very similar to Bone (well outside the Bone characters that is) and is classic Jeff Smith. He uses a lot of short, little lines to convey depth to the characters, scars, tears, whatever is needed. The proportions aren’t always correct, but Smith does an excellent job at capturing the emotions of the characters and providing a grim/harsh setting that goes well with the story. And the writing is superb for the most part and keeps you on the edge of your seat wanting to know more. The transitions are a little bit rough early on and it gets a little bit confusing to figure out what’s going on until you read the rest of the book and then it makes a bit more sense. Overall though a most compelling story.

I really look forward to seeing where Smith takes the series and finding out more about the other dimensions and Rasl’s past (and the weird/creepy assassin following him.) An excellent start to a new series.

RASL has been optioned for a film by Lionel Wigram.


Near mint, 1st print. Collects Rasl 1-7. More pictures in description.