Where can you find beautiful women wearing skimpy outfits in Las Vegas?
Pretty much anywhere?
Oh yeah…that’s true. But you can also find them in the upcoming “Bomb Queen vs. Blacklight” one-shot this August. Published by Image Comics, the book takes two of Shadowline’s most popular (and sexiest) characters and places them in sin city. And if you know who these two characters are, you’ll realize that means trouble.
The comic’s story is by Scott Wherle (“ShadowHawk”) with art from Jimmie Robinson (“Bomb Queen”). The two were kind enough to take a break from the chaos they were causing in this one-shot and chatted with CBR News about what happens in Vegas…I’m glad it didn’t stay in Vegas.
Jimmie, the “Bomb Queen” miniseries seemed to do well sales-wise. As the book’s creator, were you surprised by the numbers or were they what you had thought they would be? The trade is coming out in July, correct?
Jimmie Robinson: Yes, the trade comes out in July. I was gently surprised by the numbers. Valentino and Simon know I’m concerned about the sales, because the market is just so rocky. “Bomb Queen” isn’t for everyone. It’s a dark and cynical satire. I made the book for myself and for those looking for edgy material. I wasn’t sure how many would support that. Sales have gone up since issue #2, so it looks like the message is getting out.
For those who don’t read “ShadowHawk” (where Blacklight appears) and/or are waiting for the “Bomb Queen” TP, can you give us brief bios for each character?
Scott Wherle: Blacklight is the quintessential newbie. She’s only had her powers a short time. Right after she got them, she found out her dad was the local drug lord and was torn on whether to do the right thing and take him down, or find another way. It didn’t end so great, so she’s not entirely sure she even wants to be what people call a “hero.” It’s a lot of pressure, y’know? She’s crazy powerful too, but is totally blind to what she can really do. For instance, the fight between her and Bomb Queen would be over before Bomb Queen could blink if Blacklight had any idea what she was doing. Thankfully she doesn’t, or this would be a seriously short comic.
JR: Bomb Queen is a supervillain that rules over her city, much like Batman has Gotham or Superman has Metropolis. The twist, of course, is that she’s the villain. Unlike other superhero books, the situation here is completely reversed. Bomb Queen is loved by the citizens in her town, and while she’s in charge the sky is the limit. Heroes are not welcome in her town and her adventures spin around keeping it that way. Living up to her namesake, she uses bombs of every type imaginable.
JR: Nope, this one was Valentino’s brainchild. I would play around with Bomb Queen vs. other Shadowline/Image characters, but I never pushed for it. I used to draw sketches and storyboards of Image characters fighting just for fun and for the Image online forums. But at the time, I was also working on several things and “Bomb Queen vs. Blacklight” wasn’t one of them. I was too busy mapping out stories within the Queen’s city.
Why a team-up/fight with Blacklight? No offense to the creator of Blacklight, but why did she make more sense than, say, ShadowHawk? (NOTE: Shadowline’s “big chief” – Jim Valentino – kindly popped in to field this question)
Jim Valentino: As the creator of both Blacklight and ShadowHawk, I guess that’s up to me to answer. Honestly, the idea grew out of Jimmie’s online comic that he did for the message board (which will be in the “Bomb Queen: WMD” trade) which had Bomb Queen and Blacklight in it. I think it was Scott who suggested we expand it into a mini or something. Kris [Simon] and I discussed it and we both knew how busy Jimmie was so we countered with a one-shot. It was just one of those things that came together organically and everyone thought we’d have fun with.
Who came up with the story? And how did you two wind up working together on this book?
JR: Valentino pretty much formed the assignment like Mr. Phelps on “Mission Impossible.” Scott and I formed a team and we were off to the races. But it bounced around all of us: Valentino, Wherle, Simon and myself. I give credit to the others because I’m juggling many balls in the air. I would chime in on this or that, but mostly I kicked back waiting for the other shoe to drop. Then the script came in, we went over more changes, but (as with my work method) some of that went out the window when pencil hit the page.
On early copies of the solicitation for this book, I thought I saw a retailer warning about content. Is there anything scandalous, or were you just playing with the expectations of fanboys?
JR: No need for that warning. I think it was a precautionary measure by someone else. You put Bomb Queen in any book and eyebrows will get raised. But rest assured, this one-shot is for everyone. No nudity, no extreme violence, not even for language. It’s a fun book. We went a little “old school” with it, in fact.
SW: Yeah, it’s PG-13 if it’s anything. You’d get worse from a mainstream superhero book right now than what you’ll find between these covers. Lots of innuendo, though. I couldn’t write Bomb Queen and have it be completely innocent…
Correct me if I’m wrong, but Bomb Queen rules over her own city. So what takes her to Las Vegas in the story? Does she want to take over another city? Or is she happy ruling over the city she has?
JR: Ha-ha-ha! No, Bomb Queen has plenty of troubles at home, you’ll see. Las Vegas is the meeting point between these two characters because Vegas also sponsors a lot of conventions. So in one particular week, the NRA has a gun convention and there happens to also be a comic book convention next door. Both come for different reasons, but end up scratching and clawing over a prize item.
How does Blacklight enter the picture? Aside from the good guy/bad guy dynamic, why are they fighting?
SW: It’s pretty simple, really. Lina (Blacklight) is a cape-chaser. She frequents websites that house vast amounts of info about the super-powered set, both hero and villain. Makes her a bit of a nerd, yeah, but frequently gives her an edge in a fight with the bad guys, which is good because of her inexperience. The two run afoul of each other in civilian clothes, and Lina instantly knows who she’s dealing with. She knows that Bomb Queen wouldn’t be outside New Port City without good reason, so she sets about figuring out why she’s there.
Breaking it down even simpler, Lina wants to be the good guy. She always has. She knows Bomb Queen is up to something, so she throws caution to the wind and jumps in with both feet to stop whatever she has planned.
From forum postings I’ve seen, you’ve gotten a lot of raves for the cover. While the cover says that no scene like that exists in the book, it’s fun to play with readers’ expectations. Whose idea was this?
JR: That was another Valentino-ism. I tell you the guy sketches up ideas, scans them and emails me. He did a quick drawing – based on a suggestion by Kris Simon – and that was it. I took the character angles and went straight to the page. Valentino also considered the logo and tag lines, so the art just snapped in place. It’s all a joke cover. And I’ll tell you a secret: Valentino loves covers like this. I’ve seen stuff coming up and he’s just having fun.
How did the partnership between the two of you work? What was your process? Or was it simply a case of one person writing the story and the other person drawing it?
JR: Wherle wrote up a story breakdown, then we’d all talk about it. Then he’d go back and finalize much of it. Once I had the first page I was off and running. We fixed other things as we went along – dialogue and story bits. But the story pace he left to me. Scott knows I love background details, so he just let me roam free. When I emailed the penciled pages, I didn’t know what reaction I’d get. A few times, I went left when he was going right.
SW: We still ended up in the middle, though.
After this one-shot, do you know when readers will see these characters next?
JR: Readers will find a new “Bomb Queen” on the way. After the trade, and this one-shot, “Bomb Queen” hits the shelves again this fall with another miniseries. People have asked, “Why not just make it ongoing?” While I do have many stories laid out for “Bomb Queen,” I have other things I want to do, and I’d rather not end or cut a story. Readers don’t want canceled books. They want good stories and they want them to start and finish, even if it’s just a miniseries. But after the miniseries? Who knows where she’ll end up?
SW: Blacklight is a regular character in the “ShadowHawk” series, so that’s where readers can find her. She’s in the latest issue that’s on the stands, “ShadowHawk” #12, and in most subsequent issues thereafter.
Do either of you have any other upcoming projects that you want to let our readers know about?
SW: I’m working on a couple of projects for another company, but nothing’s been scheduled yet, so I’m hesitant to spill. Probably won’t have any news on that until later this year. Otherwise, I’ve got an eight-page story in “ShadowHawk” #13 which kicks all kinds of ass – mostly because Juan Ferreyra’s art made me look like a genius.
JR: Nothing official from me other than more “Bomb Queen.” I’m always working on a project, but I’m the type that works project first–publisher second. So I’m crafting two series right now. Readers will have to keep their ear to the wall to find out more.