Monthly Archives: March 2010

Mr. Smith goes to Washington!

Blog entry by Jacob Robinson

Jeff will be a guest of the National Book Festival in our nations capital later this month! The 10th annual National Book Festival, organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress, will be held on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between 3rd and 7th streets from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are honorary chairs for the event. The festival, a celebration of the joy of reading for all ages, is free and open to the public.

Details on Jeff’s schedule will be posted here soon.

New findings show RASL might be real…

Blog entry by Jacob Robinson

New Proof Unknown “Structures” Tug at Our Universe

A study being reported at National this week offers new proof that unknown “structures” are tugging at our universe – - from the outside! It suggests that our universe is part of something larger: a multiverse.

You can read the full article here. Thanks to Jennifer Oliver for sending the link.

The new issue of RASL goes on sale today.

National Book Festival 2010

Blog entry by Jacob Robinson

Lots of pics from the National Book Festival last weekend. The top one is of the Library of Congress where the opening reception was held. The sixth pic is Jules Feiffer and me.It was a big show, free to the public, and I heard a record-breaking 150,000 people came out to the National Mall to hear authors speak and get books signed.

Which is amazing enough, but considering it was close to 100 degrees with almost no shade, it blows my mind. All the author talks were full houses, and I had something like 900+ people lined up to get an autograph. I couldn’t draw doodles in the books like I normally do, because we wanted to get to everybody in line – - before they had heatstroke!

It was really great, and I’ll continue to post photos for the next few days.

Here’s a link about the cartoonists who were at the event in the Washington City Paper.

Here are some photos of other authors over at the Huffington Post.

Scott Pilgrim vs. me!

Blog entry by Jacob Robinson

For two weeks straight, Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim books have dominated the NY Times bestsellers list. I haven’t seen this written about anywhere, but it strikes me as a big deal. All six books in the top ten at once? Two weeks running! (I’m a little late in posting this, so a new list may be up by the time you read this)  That’s almost an Elvis or Beatles-like feat! Congratulations, Bryan! Enjoy it, man. I love the Scott Pilgrim books and I loved the movie, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, which I’ve seen twice.

Review Committee votes 10 to 1 not to ban BONE

Blog entry by Jacob Robinson

On April  15, just as we were getting ready to leave for Chicago and the C2E2 convention, the mother of an elementary school boy officially petitioned to have the BONE series banned from all the schools in the district. I learned about it from an article in the Sun Newspapers Minnesota Local News.

Yesterday, a review committee met and heard both sides of the case. At the conclusion of the hearing, a letter I sent was read aloud. The committee then voted 10 to 1 against the ban.

The decision could be appealed, of course, but this was a very decisive statement by the review board.

Whew. I am obviously relieved and happy with this conclusion!

If you want to follow the story in more detail, here are some more links:

The Comics Reporter, Minnesota Parent Objects to Bone’s Drinking, Smoking, Gambling, Sexiness; Review of Work Scheduled

Thisweek Newspapers, Bone graphic novels by Jeff Smith not age appropriate for ISD 196 elementary students, mom says.

Robot 6, Jeff Smith Responds to Bone Ban

Local TV news KSTP Minneapolis and St. Paul, Parent wants graphic novels pulled from schools

Publishers Weekly, Jeff Smith Responds to Bone School Library Challenge

The Pioneer Press, Rosemount-Apple Valley-Egan panel votes not to ban elementary school book series

The contents of the letter I sent to the review committee follows:

To Whom It May Concern:

Thank you for giving me an opportunity to make a statement in light of this most serious situation.

The complaint against BONE, as I understand it from news reports, concerns the depiction of gambling, alcohol and tobacco use, and “sexual situations between characters.”

First, let me say BONE is a book about courage, conviction, and loyalty. The setting is a medieval town and the tavern is a realistic meeting place for the locals. The two main protagonists, Fone Bone and Thorn do not partake in any activities at the tavern other than meals. At no time in the entire series is anyone rewarded for bad behavior.

The main troublemaker, Phoney Bone does try to win bets, and he cheats, but his plans always, ALWAYS backfire. His moneymaking schemes make him look like a greedy loser. That’s the point of the whole series:  selfish, immoral behavior is wrong.

Beer and gambling are depicted in BONE, but only as props or as story devices (even Smiley Bones stogie is little more than a Vaudeville/Groucho character prop). These things play a very small role in the overall BONE story. I will also point out that beer and gambling can be seen in many Bugs Bunny cartoons, Disney movies, and just about anywhere you look. The trick is portraying them correctly.  These characters are the bad ones, and kids know the difference. Phoney and Smiley scheme and gamble and get their comeuppance.  The story’s heroes do not participate in any of these behaviors.

As far as “sexual situations between characters” are concerned, I know of none.Nor was it ever my intention for there to be any. The main character Fone Bone has a crush on the young woman Thorn, but its innocent, and certainly goes no further than holding hands.

Many, many children have learned to love reading because of BONE.  I know this from meeting and talking to kids and their parents, teachers, and librarians at hundreds of book signings and school visits. I suspect that there are members of the review committee who can attest to this. Since the mid 90s, millions of parents all over the world have read BONE with their children. This is the first time I have ever heard it suggested that it was age inappropriate. It is hard to imagine that any bad behavior could be seen to be encouraged in these stories. Frankly, I believe it is just the opposite.


Jeff Smith


Blog entry by Jacob Robinson

It’s a good thing Jeff’s still hard at work in his studio finishing RASL #7, and not in the office seeing me do this. Please help me in wishing Mr. Smith a Very, Very Happy Day! We love ya Jeff!