Now, there's a chance you might not know who Jeff Smith is, so I'll try and be brief: he's one of the few genuine geniuses in comics.

All right, that wasn't helpful, so let me try this again. His comic book Bone was one of the great success stories of the black and white self-publishing age. It spanned fifty-five issues, plus two prequel mini-series (one of them drawn beautifully by Charles Vess, whose co-creation Stardust is hitting theatres this summer). The main series was collected into nine volumes, plus a gigantic "all-in-one" mammoth collection, and is now being published in a gorgeous color edition by Scholastic Books. Since then, he created a 200-page Shazam! mini-series, The Monster Society of Evil, for DC Comics.

And now, with that mini-series in the can (the final issue is hitting stores in a couple of weeks), Smith has enigmatically released the title and a teaser image for his new series: Rasl.

Ok, that's not much to go on, I know. But after shaking my brain around a little bit, I suddenly remembered a trip to Mid-Ohio-Con back in 1999. The night before the convention began, the Laughing Ogre comic store had a pre-show party, and I had the good fortune to chat briefly with Smith about this-and-that. We were expressing our admiration for Paul Pope's THB which was due to return in a couple of months (Smith ended up drawing a cover as it turned out), and Smith suddenly turned to me and said, "You know what I'm doing when Bone is done? A science-fiction saga." And then he proceeded to talk for five minutes about how he was talking about the sort of thing that would involve spaceships, and alien worlds-classic science-fiction, in other words.

Now, I won't claim to know that Rasl is definitely going to be science-fiction. For all I know it's actually about wrestlers. (Science-fiction wrestlers? Quick, someone alert the Sci-Fi Channel, they already show ECW matches anyway.) Or maybe Smith sneezed when he was typing up the name of the book and it's really supposed to be Rustle, about a mouse who sneaks through piles of leaves before devouring his prey. (Between Mouse Guard and Mice Templar, I have seen the future of comics and it's little fuzzy mice with swords.) Heck, maybe it's an acronym. Let's see... Ravenous Aardvarks Stealing Lollipops? Read And Smile Long? Ridiculous Acronyms Suck, Loser?

Hmmmm. Perhaps not that last one.

I do know one thing, though. It's going to be really good. I, for one, can't wait.