When you’re an avid comics reader and you've pretty much bought everything you actually "need", you slowly reach these plateaus of comics reading where you need something new. And this crossroads in your collecting leads to one of two paths:
1) Becoming a “notebook collector” at conventions that has checklists in a loose leaf paper binder--maybe with stickers on it?--documenting what is already at home, stacked in white boxes, and what is essential to completing entire runs of series' you don’t really care about. It’s about completion and the hunt.
2) Looking through every comic in a back issue twenty five cent sale, hoping for something weird by a new artist, or browsing the spines at your local comic shop for a trade paperback of some comic you know nothing about, but for some reason are drawn to. This isn’t about reading canon books or even things you’ve heard people raving about, this is taking a chance on something that no one you know has read, or would want to read and just maybe it’ll be good.
This is what brought me to Bomb Queen, a Titty Comic that is uncompromising in it’s outward sexiness, which isn’t sexy at all--like all good porno comics or weird cult movies. It doesn’t give you a boner but there’s something naughty enough about it that makes it interesting.
See, Bomb Queen isn’t your typical super hero book, because it’s a super villain book, because Bomb Queen killed every hero in her metropolis, New Port City. She isn’t a lunatic who wants to take over the world, she just wants to keep her own city in-line and do what she wants.
BQ is her city’s Batman, except she embraces her city’s populace, not just the buildings and streets themselves. Instead of having a city with crooks on every corner and heroes to chase them, the “cape killer” has designated crime zones, where anything goes, so regular citizens, who can watch her on a webcam at anytime or become a part of her fan club, can live their lives safely. Bomb Queen is able to be totally free because she is a "villain". Her dictatorial, unofficial rule over her city allows her to make whatever rules she wants, and without the law, they work.
Jimmie Robinson, the writer/artist of the series, has been around the block. He’s written stories for kids, sci-fi, and even a hospital drama. He’s done work for Marvel, DC and Image, he knows the industry, and wants it to grow. Bomb Queen appears one dimensional at a first glance. The content and ideas behind the story are mature and parodic, but it doesn’t take itself seriously, which helps a great deal.
The art is sorta terrible, suffering from digital coloring with no inking, and the cover is just a set of boobs in a super hero suit, but really, most comics I read are like this. The art doesn't all fail to impress, the random super detailed city corner or the above head explosion makes the panel that much more devastating, and Bomb Queen's world that much more acceptable as a place that exists. It surprises you in it's grotesqueness, breaking you out of the story to go "ugh". It's gritty and jarring but not too gritty and jarring--the problem with so many "dark" or "mature" comic books.
To comment on superhero comics is a delicate thing, you end up going “all Watchmen” on everyone, being far too serious and the message you may have wanted to get across is lost; or you go all “Dark Knight” and show the “dark side” of a super hero who works outside of the law, changing the character so drastically they lose their heart and what made them a hero in the first place.
Both of these takes on “real life” super heroes have their merit, but the comics themselves aren’t super hero comics, they aren’t light and fun or weird. They want to touch on the reality of super heroes in our world, but the heroes don’t live in our world, they live in a fantasy world where flying men are real, where people die in alien invasions and where a man dressed like a rhinoceros crashes through your wall and kills your wife.
Bomb Queen shows us the collateral damage of super powered people fighting, the political agendas in a world where someone in a cape has more community impact than elected officials and "costume malfunctions" that happen when you're jumping around rooftops and fighting robots in spandex. The only other story that takes on comics like this is Ennis' The Boys, a series that presents super heroes in an over the top, balls to the wall exaggeration, where even the heroes are bad guys. The "good guys" use P.R. goons and lawyers to stay in public favor and out of trouble, even rape and murder aren't below these caped crusaders.
While Boys almost hits the mark, it's in-your-faceness is too extreme, and shock value takes over, not allowing the characters to really grow outside of getting "harder". It's too dark, not silly enough, and it's "realness" is just absurd, buttholes and blowjobs take over what could be a decent story. Stepping up to the plate, Bomb Queen manages to present super powered humans in a disgusting light while not just going for absolute shock-factor. BQ shows how something gross and taboo today is common place tomorrow. TV Reality shows where they kill off members instead of voting, which sounds crazy but really, how many of us have watched a video of someone killing themselves or 1 guy 1 cup? One day everyone is freaking out about "goatse" and not too much later we know his name and where he lives. Bomb Queen's like Souljaboy, she understands her city's fast paced life style and uses it to her advantage, giving herself to the people and tricking them into loving her.
For a while in Bomb Queen they dance around her nudity, placing objects just in front of her nipples, much like old X-Men comics would do with steam or hair, but suddenly in Bomb Queen, it just ends. Bomb Queen's costume is ripped in a fight and she doesn't cover up, she just keeps going.
The fans get what they want, in her world and in ours, and it's not that big of a deal. So many superwomen run around in skimpy, hardly-there costumes that they have to have a nip-slip eventually. It feels just as weird and awkward in the comic as it does in real life when some girl you're with at the pool's boob falls out, you sorta don't say anything and just act natural. They don't talk about it, no bystander screams "Cover up lady!", it just happens and life moves on.
Yes the comic is sorta stupid, it’s sorta ugly, it’s sorta sexist, but it knows, embraces and wants to be these things. It doesn't try to be real by implementing aspects from our lives, it's real because it answers questions we have about the fantasy world. It shows us some behind the scenes action we're kept away from usually. Like Expanded Universe Star Wars, it rounds out the edges, it makes sense where there wasn't any, Bomb Queen helps build a bigger picture of what our favorite super heroes are really like, why they do what they do, and of all the problems they aren't talking about. And it's still a comic book.