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Rasl Volume 1: The Drift Paperback – January 20, 2009

11 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the RASL Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The debut volume of Bone creator Smiths new series is distinctly not for kids, but its gripping images and swift pacing are as impressive as anything hes done. In its first two chapters we meet Rasl, an art thief whos mixed up in some very weird circumstances: to make his getaways, he passes (painfully) through a sort of other-dimensional warp called the Drift, and sometimes he doesnt end up on the right version of Earth. Hes also got a mysterious gunman following him, a mysterious tattoo on his arm and a prostitute girlfriend with a mysterious necklace that displays a symbol of emergence. More even than Bone, Rasl is built around a few indelible images, like the agonized appearance of Rasl emerging from the Drift and the sinister grin of the strange-faced man whos following him; its a pretty minimal story so far (the book was reviewed from an incomplete galley), and Smith clearly knows more about the world hes building than he lets on. Still, his scrubby, rough-edged brushwork (showcased nicely by the books oversized format) gets across the storys foreboding, quiet moments as well as its chaotic chase scenes, and his knack for character design is always a treat. (Dec.)
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About the Author

A co-founder of the 90’s Self-Publishing Movement, and an early adopter of the graphic novel format, Jeff Smith is best known as the writer and artist of BONE, an award winning adventure about three cartoon cousins lost in a world of myth and ancient mysteries. In 2008, Smith was the subject of a documentary called The Cartoonist: Jeff Smith, BONE, and the Changing Face of Comics.

Besides BONE and RASL, his other books include Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil, and Little Mouse Gets Ready!


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Product Details

  • Series: RASL (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Cartoon Books (January 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888963204
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888963205
  • Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 8.9 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,071,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
Anyone expecting "Rasl" to be anything like Jeff Smith's graphic-novel epic "Bone" is going to be really, really disappointed.

But taken by itself, it is a thoroughly solid graphic novel experience, and obviously the start to a very unusual sci-fi story. Though brief, "Rasl Volume 1: The Drift" introduces us to a very unusual thief who has uncovered a strange new power. Too bad someone's about to cause him trouble because of it.

Rasl was once an eminent scientist, but is now a master thief. He makes his getaways using the Drift: using a couple of engines, he can transport himself from one parallel world to another. But after one heist, he ends up in the wrong parallel universe -- and a strange lizardy man attacks him, making Rasl realize that someone is pursuing him.

Once he's gotten back to the right world, he stumbles into the arms of his prostitute lover Anne, who says he's never looked this bad before. But when Anne is murdered, Rasl sets out to the Compound -- and a bucketload of old memories -- to discover who the lizardy man is, and who is hunting him through all the different worlds...

"Rasl" is in many ways the opposite of Smith's prior work -- it's low on dialogue (whole pages go by in complete silence), the art is spare and sharp-edged as the deserts Rasl wanders in, and the entire collection is redolent of dusty roads, lonely nights, lost loves and a sense of paranoia that keeps you looking over your shoulder.

Admittedly this first collection is brief -- only three issues long -- and the first part is a rather slow-moving affair.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Keris Nine on May 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
It must be a difficult challenge to follow your debut success, but perhaps even more so when you're talking about a long-running comic-book series. Jeff Smith must have been immersed in the world of Bone for, I don't know, ten years or more, so I'm sure the idea of moving on to something new and entirely different has got to have been a bit daunting. While it's early days, it does look like Smith has been able to make the transition fairly smoothly with Rasl.

The first episode of Rasl hits hard, Smith throwing the reader straight into a parallel universe where an unknown character with a device that allows him to "drift" between dimensions, is using his ability to commit art-thefts of alternative-world paintings by famous artists for unscrupulous clients. Actually, "drift" makes the transition sound a lot more smoother than it really is, the jumps taking a lot out of the young man making the crossings. The young man in question is Rasl, who we will discover was once a promising young scientist, but what has led him to become an outlaw isn't clear at this stage. All we know is that the people he has made an enemy of are called the Compound and, having finally found a way of chasing Rasl across dimensions, they have sent a ruthless lizard-looking assassin after him.

This edition, collecting the first three parts of the series into a large format, 112-page book, is an excellent introduction into Jeff Smith's new sci-fi/noir creation. It's a radical move away from the content of Bone (although in a perhaps unintentional parallel, one of the first characters Rasl meets in the Dylan-not-Dylan world , the President of the Street, bears an uncanny resemblance to the Dragon of Bone) towards a more mature style and content.
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Format: Paperback
Rasl: The Drift should come with some kind of warning, something that would let the reader know right away that this comic is extremely addictive, a fun mystery/thriller with a great hook--and that the next installment in the series won't come out until March 2009.

A wait that long is just too unfortunate. Coming from the brilliant mind of Jeff Smith, creator of Bone, Rasl marks Smith's return to serialized comic fiction, and it's a treat. Smith paces stories with a deliberate purpose, never revealing too much at a time. Hopefully, then, Rasl will unfold over a lengthy period of time. It's so good that it deserves to stick around for a long time to come--but hopefully without so much of a wait in between installments. Rasl is published as a monthly, normal-sized comic book, but in Rasl: The Drift, it gets the oversized treatment--all the better for enjoying the artwork and getting lost in the story.

Here's the basic premise: Rasl is a high-priced thief who travels between dimensions to steal expensive art. He utilizes a special suit to open up something called The Drift, which he uses to navigate to parallel universes. Unfortunately, The Drift takes its toll on him, rendering him sick and a little helpless when he emerges on the other side. Not to mention confused: Where and when he reappears is not exactly up to him, so finding out which type of earth he has landed on takes some detective work. (Smith has fun playing with this in a clever way; one clue Rasl notices on a strange world is a CD in a bar jukebox by Bob Zimmerman--instead of Bob Dylan.)After completing one of his jobs, Rasl runs into someone who is after him--a spooky-looking killer.
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