Meet a Visiting Cartoonist: A Quick Chat with Jeff Smith
Comic book creator Jeff Smith was in town on Saturday for the National Book Festival and kindly took a few minutes on an unseasonably hot day to answer a few questions for us. In a journalistic coup, the Bone creator's hard liquor of choice is revealed, and should be vitally useful in the future to fanboys at cons.
Washington City Paper: How do you feel about being invited to something as prestigious as the Library of Congress' Book Festival?
Jeff Smith: I was very flattered, and doubly so because I draw comic books so even though graphic novels are becoming more and more accepted, it's still novel.
WCP: So, you were surprised to be invited as a cartoonist to essentially a literary festival?
JS: Yeah. There is one other cartoonist here—Jules Feiffer. I get to sit and have drinks with him. He's a lot of fun.
WCP: Scotch, right?
JS: Bourbon, actually.
WCP: I think Feiffer's a Scotch guy. So has the Library of Congress asked you for any of your original art yet?
JS: About a half hour ago. (Laughs)
WCP: Is there anything you particularly like about Washington?
JS: There's a show called the Small Press Expo, which is actually in Bethesda, and I have a great affection for this area because I've been coming to that for like 10 years. I haven't spent that much time just going through the Smithsonian or the Washington Monument, which I'm going to do tomorrow.
WCP: Has your audience for Bone been following you to RASL?
JS: I think a lot of them have. Obviously the younger ones, around 9 or 10, haven't. I took almost 15 years to write Bone originally in black and white and then five more years to put it in color with Scholastic Books. If you put those two together, anybody who's started with these—it's been 20 years—they're all grown up now anyway.
WCP: Obviously you're in it for the long haul. Did you ever expect Bone's popularity? Or when did you start to?
JS: No, no. There was a couple of moments where I remember thinking "Wow," but obviously, no I didn't expect it at all. I was hoping maybe to make it, maybe to five years, that's all. Or just finishing it, that's all I need.
WCP: Yeah, that's a pretty impressive run. So how long is RASL going to go?
JS: I think two more years. I don't think there's another Bone in me. I want to make sure I finish it before I kick off.
WCP: Thank you very much.
And with that, Smith went off to greet his younger fans—the audience that made Bone a smash success.