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Get your monster-hunter on with Evan Palmer & Anna Bongiovanni’s “The Feast”

I’ve been meaning to send you all in the direction of “The Feast,” a short fantasy-adventure story about a bunch of village children and the giant forest monster that preys upon them, ever since it went up on Top Shelf’s webcomics portal Top Shelf 2.0 last week. Hopefully you’ll agree after reading it that cartoonists Anna Bongiovanni and Evan Palmer’s lushly illustrated monster romp was well worth the wait. You’ll catch a lot of Jeff Smith influence in the creature designs, action choreography, and elegantly inked black-and-white wilderness, but it took Bone a long, long time to get as unexpectedly dark as this gets by the end. This has “can’t wait to see more from this pair” written all over it. Sink your teeth into it.

Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Bone: Quest for the Spark

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on what we call our “Splurge” item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList if you’d like to play along in our comments section.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15:

There’s quite a number of good books out this week, making for some tough decisions, but I think I’d initially go for either the third volume of Bakuman by Death Note creators Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata ($9.99) or Quest for the Spark #1 by Jeff Smith and Tom Sniegoski. The former is a series about would-be manga creators that I’m really starting to dig, the second is a new, official Bone (prose) sequel that, even though it doesn’t star all of the original cast and isn’t being written by Smith, should nevertheless be a worthy purchase, as Sniegoski is no stranger to the Bone universe (having penned the hilarious Stupid, Stupid Rat Creatures spin-off).

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Jeff Smith shows off Superman art from unannounced DC Book

Cartoonist Jeff Smith is best known for his creator-owned work, from his epic Bone to his current dimension-jumping series Rasl. But although he’s a big proponent of creator-owned comics and self-publishing, he still manages to find time in his day to do work on company-owned characters such as the memorable Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil which centered around DC’s Captain Marvel.

Well, as it turns out — he’s not done yet.

Last night on his blog, Smith posted a sketch from a new project he’s working on — a sketch of Superman. According to the cartoonist, it’s a sketch for an upcoming project for DC. Nothing else is said about the shape or scope of this upcoming work, but Smith does talk about his own personal connection with the character.

“One of my favorite memories of Superman,” says the artist,” is from when I was a kid was the character busting through walls, either on the TV show, or as a plastic Aurora model kit.”

This week is a big one for Smith — the new illustrated Bone novel, Bone: Quest For the Spark, hit shelves. Written by Tom Sniegoski with illustrations by SMith, it’s the first in a trilogy which introduces three new members of the Bone family.

Full-color Bone One Volume Edition coming in 2011

BONE: 20th Anniversary Full Color One Volume Edition

Is it okay to start making my Christmas wish list for next year?

2011 is the 20th anniversary of the publication of Bone #1, the comic that kicked off a Jeff Smith’s epic tale and launched his successful career. To celebrate, Smith announced today that a full-color version of the Bone One Volume Edition is coming next year.

“The technology has finally caught up!” Smith posted on the Bone site. “Through a combination of sewing and glue, we can make a nearly 1400 page color One Volume Edition that lays flat when open!”

The Bone One Volume Edition, previously only been available in black and white, collects the entire Bone comic series. Scholastic, meanwhile, has been publishing color collections of the story over the last few years. With a trio of Bone films on the horizon. the timing for this couldn’t be better.

Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Bone: Tall Tales

Bone: Tall Tales

Welcome once again to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy based on certain spending limits — $15, $30 to spend and if we had extra money to spend on what we call the “Splurge” item.

So join Brigid Alverson, Chris Mautner and me as we run down what we’d buy this week, and check out Diamond’s release list to play along in our comments section.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15:

This one’s easy, as Wednesday sees the arrival of Jeff Smith’s latest Bone-related project, Tall Tales ($10.99 paperback, $22.99 hardcover — I’m obviously going for the paperback here). My daughter has become obsessed with Bone — to the point where she’s started making her own Bone-related comics (complete with theme music) — and is eager to pick up the latest volume, even if it does mostly collect material she and I have read before (namely the Stupid, Stupid Rat Tails series). I’ll probably pick it up on the sly this week and give it to her for for her birthday next month.

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Video of the day | What a 2-D Bone cartoon might have looked like

Back at the Alternative Press Expo last fall, Jeff Smith talked about the computer-animated Bone movie that Warner Bros. is working on, and the creator of Bone noted that at one point he tried to get a hand-drawn Bone movie going with some friends. “It was just too big, too expensive,” he said. “I ended up just spending my time trying to get everyone to get along with everyone else.”

What would a hand-drawn Bone movie look like? Well, maybe something like the video above. Cartoon Brew posted it yesterday, noting that it was created by animator Andrew Kaiko, with some vocal assistance from a Bone video game — presumably the one created by Telltale Games.

What are you reading?

Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine

Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine

Welcome once again to What are you reading? Today our special guest is comics retailer James Sime, owner of the world-famous Isotope Comics in San Francisco. As a retailer, James has the opportunity to read a lot of comics, and his submission this week reflects the diversity of great stuff you’ll find in his shop.

Click below to see what he’s been reading lately, as well as what the rest of the Robot 6 crew has had on their reading lists this week ….

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Straight for the art | Jeff Smith’s ‘Read’ poster for ALA

Jeff Smith's poster for the American Library Association's "Read" campaign

Jeff Smith's poster for the American Library Association's "Read" campaign

The American Library Association asked Bone creator Jeff Smith to participate in its “Read” campaign, which promotes the joy of reading. The result is this original art of Smiley Bone, available from the ALA website as a poster or a bookmark.

Bone to stay in Minnesota school district’s libraries [Updated]

The offending volume

The offending volume

A Minnesota mother’s challenge to Jeff Smith’s Bone series has failed, with a panel from the Rosemount-Eagan-Apple Valley school district voting 10-1 Tuesday to keep the books in its elementary school libraries.

A committee consisting of parents, teachers and media specialists heard arguments from Ramona DeLay, who wanted the series banned because the fourth volume depicts smoking, drinking and gambling, and from other parents who wanted the book to stay in school libraries. Smith sent a written defense as well.

Bone has won numerous awards and garnered many positive reviews, but here’s the best part: The kids like it.

Rosemount students Spencer Strop, 13, and his fourth-grade brother, Preston, say they agree.

“I didn’t take it in a bad way,” said Preston, who began reading the books when his brother brought them home. “It’s not like anybody got drunk or was doing anything bad with drinking.”

The brothers said the setting of the novel is in a tavern, and some of the characters occasionally smoke a pipe and cigars. Spencer first picked up the novel from the library at Rosemount Middle School.

“We were actually hoping it would stay,” he said.

Said media specialist Melinda Martin, “I respect her right to object to the series, but not for her to censor it for the rest. I feel you would be doing a disservice to our district if you remove this book from our elementary schools.”

Update: Jeff Smith has posted about the decision on his blog and included the entire letter he sent to the review committee.

Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

Tintin in the Congo

Tintin in the Congo

Legal | A Belgian court will rule next week whether Herge’s 1931 collection Tintin in the Congo will be banned because of its depictions of native Africans. The decision, originally expected today, following a nearly three-year-old effort by Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, a Congolese man living in Belgium, to have the book removed from the country’s bookstores, or at least sold with warning labels as it is in Britain. [Guardian, Mail Online]

Libraries | Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson reports on a C2E2 panel devoted to helping librarians deal with public challenges to graphic novels. On a related note, she also talks to Jeff Smith about a Minnesota mother’s attempt to have Bone removed from libraries in her school district. [Publishers Weekly]

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Jeff Smith responds to effort to remove Bone from school district’s libraries

Bone: The Dragonslayer

Bone: The Dragonslayer

During his spotlight panel at C2E2, cartoonist Jeff Smith reacted to Friday’s news that a parent in suburban Minneapolis-St. Paul is seeking to remove Bone from the school district’s libraries.

“It just broke yesterday; I don’t know anymore about it than you do,” Smith said on Saturday, responding to a question from the audience. “She objected to the gambling, smoking and drinking and the sexiness. I feel sorry for her son. He’s going to be really embarrassed, but you know, not everybody has to like my stuff. That’s fine. But I really can’t go along with this un-American concept of banning books. Let the Nazis do that.”

The parent, Ramona DeLay of Apple Valley, Minnesota, filed a formal request with the school district last month asking that Bone: The Dragonslayer be “withdrawn from all students” because it depicts drinking, smoking, gambling and “sexual situations between characters.”

According to KSTP TV, DeLay is seeking to remove the entire series from the district’s 18 elementary schools; 12 of those schools have at least one volume of Bone available to students.

The district’s Reconsideration Review Committee will meet on April 27 to consider DeLay’s request. The good news is that of the 20 similar cases heard by the committee since the early 1990s, materials were removed from library shelves in just three instances.

Minnesota mother objects to Bone‘s content and library availability

Bone: The Dragonslayer

Bone: The Dragonslayer

A parent in a suburb of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, has filed a complaint with the school district objecting to the content in the fourth volume of Jeff Smith’s popular Bone series.

Ramona DeLay of Apple Valley told Sun Newspapers she was “a little shocked” that her son, and elementary-school student, was reading a graphic novel depicting drinking, smoking and gambling. She filed a formal request to the school district on on March 15 asking that the book be “withdrawn from all students.” In the complaint, DeLay also cited “sexual situations between characters.”

The district’s Reconsideration Review Committee will meet on April 27 to consider DeLay’s request.

I’m certainly only guessing, but I imagine this has to be one of the very few times that Smith’s bestselling, and multiple-award-winning, series has been challenged. Tom Spurgeon has additional commentary.

Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

Anaheim Convention Center

Anaheim Convention Center

Conventions | Using next month’s Wizard World Anaheim Comic Con as a hook, Michael Volpe looks at how the city is becoming a “fan festival hub” as it attempts to add Comic-Con International to a convention schedule that includes BlizzCon and The D23 Expo.

“It’s something of an accident,” said Mindy Abel, senior vice president of convention sales for the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor and Convention Bureau. “Our focus is getting trade groups and corporate events that will bring out-of-town guests, but those same amenities are very attractive to public promoters and consumer events.”

According to the article, the Wizard convention is expected to attract 30,000 attendees — “small potatoes compared to the San Diego event.” [Orange County Business Journal]

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Sequential tats

You know, I knew that Bone was a hugely popular series, but I guess I didn’t realize it had reached that stratospheric level of popularity where people are inspired to get tattoos of the various characters embedded on their skin

BONE-TATS-3

I shouldn’t be surprised though. Apparently getting tattoos of comic book characters is all the rage these days.

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Thin wallets, fat bookshelves: Scholastic’s early 2010 plans

Bone: Tall Tales

Bone: Tall Tales

The noted children’s book publisher Scholastic has had great success with their comics-oriented Graphix imprint, mainly thanks to their colorized volumes of Jeff Smith’s Bone. And it looks like they’re going to continue their publishing onslaught this year. Already we’ve seen the release of Copper by Kazu Kibuishi and Missile Mouse by Jake Parker. Want to find out what’s coming up next. Read on, read on …

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