Is it kind of a guilty pleasure to admit that I completely adore this comic? I mean, it feels wrong to admit that I love the Bomb Queen. She’s the ultimate comics bad girl–an absurdly large breasted, anti-social, sexually insatiable murderer who runs an evil and sadistic city in which anything goes–and it truly does.
Bomb Queen is just not a good person on any level. And yet, she’s a fantastic protagonist for this comic. Maybe because she’s such a nasty piece of work, Bomb Queen is amazingly charismatic. She’s truly happy in her own skin; hell, she’s not just happy, she’s downright arrogant about her city and the way that she runs it. Bomb Queen smiles and laughs her way through all of her adventures – well, it’s not a laugh as much as it’s a cackle, really – and that laugh helps make her endearing.
Of course, most of the blame, umm, I mean responsibility for the creation of this character belongs to writer/artist Jimmie Robinson. In an interview published in the back of this book, Robinson gives a lot of clues for why Bomb Queen is so lovable. See, surprisingly enough, Robinson spent many years drawing charming childrens’ comics.
Robinson produced a whole string of G-rated comics in the late ’90s and early ’00s, paying his dues with jobs that weren’t financially fruitful but which were artistically fulfilling. His books were notable for a wonderful feeling of kindness and sweetness that seemed to permeate all his work.
And that’s the odd secret to Bomb Queen’s success. Despite the decidedly adult content of the book–-with lots of nudity and endless adult language–there’s a kind of unique sweetness and charm to this comic that is surprising for a comic of this type. We get surprisingly charming scenes like the one in Book Three of this collection where we see Astroman try to help Blacklight get over her acrophobia. There’s a kindness and realism to the characters’ relationship that feels refreshing in a comic about a character with an incredibly high body count per issue.
All that said, though, this is most certainly not a comic for children. Open nearly any page of the book and you’ll find naked breasts or flowing blood or backgrounds that look like something created by a mix of Will Elder and Robert Crumb. Robinson may have loved creating kids’ comics, but he’s clearly letting the darker side of his personality loose in this comic.
There are some wonderfully dark gags in this comic, like the comeuppance of the villain (or is he the good guy? It’s easy to get confused with this comic) in book two, or the sadistic way the mayor of Bomb Queen’s city is treated.
Robinson pulls all this off with a charmingly light and humorous style. Bomb Queen and her cohorts look completely bizarre, but Robinson’s depiction of them manages to make them feel like they belong on the comics page. He has one of those styles that works well in comics but which could never work the same way if anybody else were to draw the book. In that way, the gallery at the back of this book is really surprising–she just doesn’t really look right when drawn by other cartoonists. Like all great creations, Bomb Queen only looks right when she’s drawn by her creator.
The first three Bomb Queen storylines are presented in this deluxe “Omnibust” edition. Reproduction is absolutely perfect, a presentation that almost spoils readers for any other editions of this book. Heck, forget waiting for the trade; I almost want to wait for Omnibust volume 2 before picking up the next three Bomb Queen minis. Every aspect of this book is just immaculate, a tribute to the work of editor Kris Simon.
There’s a definite feeling that Robinson is settling into his character as the series moves ahead. The first storyline is pretty tightly focused on the Queen’s native New Port City, a place where literally anything goes. However, by the end of book three there’s a sense of where New Port City exists in relation to the rest of the world, and we start to get an idea of how the crazy city works. There’s a feeling that Robinson has moved from being merely outrageous to using the city and its main character as a story engine, using the tools he’s created to imagine a larger world.
I had a fantastic time spending time with Bomb Queen in her crazy town of New Port City. She’s a nasty piece of work, but that just makes her even more charming to me. Maybe Bomb Queen is a real bad girl, but heck, who can resist a bad girl when she’s presented in such a charming way?