Jeff Smith is best known for his seminal all-ages work Bone
, a series he worked on for about 13 years and 55 issues. Readers still flock to Bone
in its collected editions, and it's cemented Smith's reputation as one of the most creative talents in comics.
Unfortunately, Bone has overshadowed Smith's recent work, the sci-fi series Rasl (the new issue, #8, hits stores this week). And that's a shame because Rasl is shaping up to be just as engaging and as entertaining--albeit, much darker and adult-oriented--as Bone.
The series focuses on the dimension-hopping title character, who uses hijacked technology to steal works of art from parallel Earths and then sell them. But as the story unravels we find out that Rasl isn't some simple thief; he's part of a tangled web of government experiments that lead all the way back to the Philadelphia Experiment and Nikola Tesla.
Smith is far from the first cartoonist to use Tesla in a comic book. In fact, the eccentric genius has become a scientific superhero in quite a few circles
. He even briefly starred in a Serbian comic called Generation Tesla
in the 1990s. For works a little closer to home, here's a look at five comics that feature the eccentric emperor of electricity.
|Words: Brian Clevinger; Art: Scott Wegener|
Tesla's role He's the inventor of the title character, a freewheeling, Nazi-smashing, joke-cracking robot. Writer Brian Clevinger keeps Tesla in the background of this multiple volume series, but his influence is strong in the comic.
Five Fists of Science
Writer Matt Faction and artist Steven Sanders partner Tesla up with author Mark Twain to take down the evil machinations of Thomas Edison, Guglielmo Marconi, J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie. (If you know your Tesla, then you know the significance of picking these enemies
Hark! A Vagrant
|Kate Beaton |Beacon Tesla's role
He's a big-brained ladykiller and clit tease in Kate Beaton's
web strip. But wait, there's more! Beacon also gives Tesla a call back in this comic
about his relationship with Edison and Marconi.
JLA: Age of Wonder
|DC Comics/Galen Showman|Tesla's role
Inexplicably, he becomes scientific buddies with Clark Kent (a.k.a. The Super Man), who was rocketed to Earth in the 19th century instead of the 20th. Tesla later works with Lex Luthor to create a death ray (a device attributed to Tesla in real life
) in this mini-series by writer Adisakdi Tantimedh and artist Galen Showman.
|DC Comics/Niko Henrichon|
Barnum! In Secret Service to the USA
Tesla's role In a twist, he's the villain of this graphic novel by writers Howard Chaykin and Dan Tischman and artist Niko Henrichon. Tesla is out to overthrow the U.S. government, and the only man who can stop him is showman--and secret agent--P.T. Barnum.
Other comic books out this week
- Action Comics #891 Lex Luthor is now the star of this Superman book, and writer Paul Cornell is crafting some fine stories with the supervillain.
- Fantastic Four #581 Jonathan Hickman continues making the FF fun and engaging. And Hickman's name pops up again. You'd think I'd feature the writer more prominently by now. Well, check back next week.
- Pug Although this came out last week, there's no reason why you still can't pick up this brutal boxing graphic novel by Stagger Lee writer Derek McCulloch and artist Greg Espinoza. You can check out preview pages here.
- Torchwood #1 The popular Doctor Who spinoff gets a comic book adaptation written by Captain Jack Harkness himself John Barrowman.