Makeup, Purse, Bombs: Robinson Talks "Bomb Queen III"

Bomb Queen is one of the oddest things to happen in superhero comics in quite a while, and that's saying a lot for a genre that's given an enema every two years.   Created by Jimmie Robinson, the "Bomb Queen" series of books from Shadowline and Image Comics tell the story of a super villain. And no, not one of those super villains like Catwoman or the Punisher who're in some twisted way actually superheroes. Bomb Queen truly is a full on, one hundred percent badass, murderous, properly evil villain. And she's hilarious.

Jimmie Robinson and Bomb Queen return in March with "Bomb Queen III: The Good, The Bad & The Lovely," and CBR News spoke with the author about his unique and increasingly popular creation.

"'Bomb Queen' is satire," explained Robinson. "Self-parody of all that's wrong with these types of 'bad girl' books.  But I give that a new spin with her attitude, ruthless personality and unforgiving jabs at some social commentary."

We first met Bomb Queen in   "Bomb Queen: Royal Flush," published by Image in 2006 and now collected as "Bomb Queen: Woman Of Mass Destruction." The satirical piece placed the super villainess in the fictional US city of New Port, in a position of power in which a reader would normally expect to find a hero like Batman, except for that in New Port City, heroes are outlaws.   As such, the city is a magnet for every sort of low-life and criminal imaginable, consequently lowering the crime rate everywhere else, which in turn causes Washington to look the other way.   This first "Bomb Queen" mini-series introduced us to the bizarre and violent world in which Bomb Queen defended her self-elected regime from being overthrown. Her next appearance ( about which we spoke to Robinson in July) was in a crossover special with Jim Valentino's Blacklight, in which Bomb Queen traveled to Las Vegas and began a rivalry with the Shadowline character. The second mini-series, "Bomb Queen: Queen Of Hearts," focused on Bomb Queen's personal life as we saw her looking for love.

"The third series opens up a new can of worms, " said Robinson. Blacklight returns to face Bomb Queen on the Queen's own turf, but joining her is Rebound, a character out of Jim Valentino's "Shadowhawk." Robinson also indicates that New Port City will itself feature as a character in "Bomb Queen III."   "Fans love the surreal world of Bomb Queen's town.  It's dark, it's twisted.  Social satire on a bizarre level.  The background details are just as crazy as the foreground action."  

Robinson continued, "Often, I show the man-on-the-street reaction, which connects the reader to the citizens opinion about their 'leader.'  I'm bringing this to the table as usual - but the new twist is how I connect that environment to the 'outside' world that we live in."  

The series subtitle, "The Good, The Bad & The Lovely" refers to Blacklight, Bomb Queen and Rebound, respectively.   The three characters take to the streets in a battle that Robinson promises will put New Port City on the map. "And the ending will be a serious jolt for readers and fans.  As creator of the series I have total control over the character and trust me, I put all cards on the table."

Joining Robinson this time around is Shadowline's mastermind Jim Valentino, who is co-scripting the mini-series. "[Jim's] characters are crossing over into the show and I'd rather he put words in their mouth," Robinson said. "Valentino plots out the story, then we carve out how it affects the direction of the characters, what works, what doesn't, where ShadowHawk fits in, how his girlfriend Rebound fits in, etc.  Then on the scripting level we honor each other's work from the different POVs of the characters.  It's all working out rather well."

Also new to the New Port scene is "Dawn" creator Joseph Michael Linsner, who is contributing a variant cover to "Bomb Queen III" #1. "Jim [Valentino] was talking to Linsner at Linsner's table, and Linsner offered to do a cover for any one of Jim's books," explained Robinson. "Jim thanked him and said he would have to think about which book, but 'Bomb Queen' would most likely be the perfect fit.  There was a fan standing at the table, and the fan agreed with Jim and excitedly started describing what BQ looked like to Linsner.  It was pretty much set from there."

Robinson is very happy with Linsner's cover and is already talking to other artists about providing series covers. Not variants, Robison is quick to note, but the regular series covers. "I hope Linsner is just the beginning."

Incidentally, it was at that same convention that Image editor Kris Simon introduced Seth Damoose to Jim Valentino. Damoose is a newcomer who has illustrated a five page backup story for "Bomb Queen III" #1, a job he got after being active on the official Shadowline forums, posting pin-ups and sequential pages featuring Image characters.

"Valentino and editor Kris Simon had been watching [Seth] for quite some time. Well, the [Linsner] variant cover came up and the retailer incentive needed to run 32 pages of story instead of 22.  More material was needed for this particular issue.  Seth's name got dropped and we all jumped on it.  He agreed to [do] the 5 page [backup story] and I can tell you it's simply wonderful work.  In fact, we agreed not to ink over it and color it right off the tight pencils.  It's fun and active and shows us yet another wild view of the Queen.  I think it adds a nice dimension to the entire package, and I personally like Seth's work.  Unlike my linear style his work flows with gestures quite unique."

Superhero comics have always been under special scrutiny when it comes to depictions of sex and occasionally violence, making the "Bomb Queen" series particularly radioactive in the eyes of some retailers for it's brazen depictions of all sorts of "scandalous" business. Satire or not, some stores made an issue out of the first series, causing Image to ship the Blacklight crossover special with a warning label – a label that was ultimately pointless due to the fact that Bomb Queen was appearing in a Blacklight comic – "an environment where she couldn't be herself" Robinson noted- and as such, the creators made a conscious decision to make the book largely accessible.   However, when series II came around, it lived up to the warning label, as will "Bomb Queen III."

"'Bomb Queen' is made for a specific audience," said Robinson. "I don't want it in the wrong hands, nor do I want retailers to be at risk.  I like to consider responsible marketing and labeling of my product in this case."

The "Bomb Queen" library has so far been a series of mini-series, designed as such partly to give readers a more complete, all-in-one story, and partly to free up Robinson for other work. "Anyone who has followed my work for the last decade knows I have many story ideas and concepts.  'Bomb Queen' is just one arrow in my quiver.  I have work published in a number of genres.  'Bomb Queen' is just the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, but I have a number of other wheels in motion.  In particular, I want to return to my all-ages material - yes, I know it's odd right after 'Bomb Queen,' but I firmly believe we need more kid-friendly books on the shelves.  If I had my way I'd do all my projects (which range from all-ages, to comedy-romance, to crime drama) however I'm just one man, and I like doing it all myself, so basically, until they build a cloning device, I'm only working one title at a time."

While only time will tell what Robinson's next project will be, you can be sure to see more of Bomb Queen in the very near future. Jim Valentino announced just yesterday that everyone's favorite villainess will be appearing in Erik Larsen's "The Savage Dragon" #134 in April, 2007.

"Larsen contacted me a while ago about the possibility and we communicated via email about character details, specs and environment," explained Robinson. "Larsen's Savage Dragon is on a quest to find his missing wife, and Bomb Queen's New Port City is the first stop on a wild tour across the Image superhero universe. I'm of the same mind as Larsen when it comes to the Image Universe.  It's up to each creator how they view and interpret it for their title(s).  I can include and exclude, destroy the world, or whatever without affecting other Image books.  What we all agree on, is to respect each other's property.  That's the key when working together."

Robinson concluded, "[Bomb Queen's] becoming the Joker of Image Comics, that villain with a finger in all the pies," adding, "when it comes to art, people love drawing a villain.  They get to cut loose. There's no need to figure out how to make two heroes misunderstand and fight each other, with Bomb Queen you know the deal and all you need to do is to put your foot to the floor and jump in full speed.  Villains rule."

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