Jeff Smith's talk was on the origins of his comic Bone.
Though he's a great cartoonist and storyteller, Jeff Smith is a surprisingly flat speaker. His talk was very much like an academic lecture given by someone who is very interested in their topic but without much energy or ability to impart that enthusiasm. It was one of those talks that would engage you if you already knew you were interested in the topic, but might not be able to convince you it's an interesting topic.
He also spoke about his upcoming Captain Marvel project for DC at the end of the talk.
Notes in the extended.
Bone is based on southern Ohio (Jeff's from Ohio)
Foothills of the appalachian mountains
Looks just like Bone
Old Man's Cave is a real place
The key to understanding Bone -- the grail quest
Young man on adventure
Solve problems of lands he enters
Find his way home
Temple in Katmandu
Stone threshold guardians
Dragon popping up out of the well
In storytelling, water is important, can represent a turning point
e.g. Arthur and lady of the lake
Also Thorne in water when Fone first meets her
Standing stones of Stense, Orknies
Fascinated by standing stones
Characters are completely fantastic
"If a duck ever walked up to you, you would scream, and scream...it'd be terrifying"
But the world is very realistic -- it looks as if you could walk right into it
Make the unreal real by making surroundings extremely real
e.g. TinTin, Cerebus
Looking at an artist with real brush control
Try to match flowing lines
Same instrument in Kat, Pogo and Bone
Old Man's Cave
Verdant -- deep green moss
Not a cave -- more of a huge overhang
Angle shown is actually in Bone
Comparison of page from Rose and parkland
Konckle's Hollow (I may well have the spelling wrong)
Name also appears in Bone
"Something that's in the middle of Bone, and most people don't really know why"
Put it in because he loves it, and because he likes embarrassing Fone Bone.
Became a storytelling tool
Understanding FB's psyche
Dragon could speak to him
Could tell reader what kind of story it is
Symbolism if you want to find it
Cities with unique architecture
Cities were filled with mysticism
Used as top of gate in Athea
Steps with tracks for carts up the middle
"I never would have thought of that."
Prayer flags -- the wind blows prayers away
Fone Bone adaptation of Vishnu shrine
One hand -- everything is okay
Finger -- demonstrates power
Vishnu rides an eagle
Bone has Bartleby
Symbol on the front, prayer on the back
Eyes on his symbol translated directly into the final cover dragon image
Making the symbol for "one"
"I don't know what that means, by the way. I thought it looked cool."
Captain Marvel material
Announced three years ago
Couldn't work on it while finishing Bone
Four-issue series, writing and drawing
Loosely based on 1950s Captain Marvel serial
Updating it, so need new origin
Billy Bateson is generally portrayed as a teenager
Back to old material, he was eight and living on the street
Billy on the street, meets an old bum
He reads through this like a storyboard artist, reading the dialogue, voicing the psychology and the sound effects.