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Mass Destruction Jimmie - Part 2

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Welcome to Newport City, the only place ruled by a broad not even Arnold Schwarzenegger would want to call home. The city is the playground of the Bomb Queen, a ruthless black beauty who pulls off wearing a thong as part of her supervillain outfit better than Emma Frost (a.k.a. The White Queen—that’s where the pun comes from, kiddies!) ever could.

Gazers who live too far away from Newport City but still want to get a closer look at this true femme fatale had best check out Bomb Queen: Queen of Hearts, the first issue of which is currently on sale from Image Comics. Queen of Hearts is the follow-up to last spring’s first Bomb Queen mini series, since collected as Woman of Mass Destruction.

The creator of this immoral show is Jimmie Robinson who loves to ramble about his Shadowline book almost as much as he loves to put things on their head inside its pages. Hence, what follows is not your typical BF interview where the comments by interviewer and creator are in (almost) equal proportions. The balance is almost as much out of whack as the law over in Newport City. But, hey, who are we to put the brakes on a raging Robinson when his bloodthirsty companion is threatening to blow our heads off if we do?

Mass Destruction Jimmie - Part 1

(Note: the ensuing article includes artwork not applicable for all ages)

BF: Based on what you said, the reason why you created this series wasn't to let your “inner bad boy” come out of the closet?

JR: I create comics as a reaction to what I see in the industry at the time.  When I made Amanda & Gunn I didn't see enough black heroines in comics. When I made Code Blue I thought the market needed a hospital drama.  Evil & Malice came about due to the lack of all-ages titles.  Avigon wasn't my creation, but I liked the story and nothing like that was on the shelf.  All of these were Image titles.  Then Bomb Queen came along.  I never made an actual "superhero" comic, so I put my hat in the ring.  

As I developed the story, I made Bomb Queen the villain and I liked the character so much that I just took the Hero out of it.  At the Sequentialtart.com forums I openly talked about the creation process and many steps of the entire story and concept.  Then I started writing, I started drawing, and I made a few promotional pieces. Jim Valentino at Image Comics saw it.  I told him this was edgy stuff, not normal, but he said not to worry.  I've been working with Valentino since the late 1990s.  He's seen every angle of my books and knows I change styles all the time.  Bomb Queen was just another dimension, another book.

"Inner bad boy?”  I'm not sure, but the book's concept demands this treatment—it can't be written "straight".  I also hope people don't think of me as that violent, edgy, creator.  Between Bomb Queen and Wolverine I'll look like the go-to-guy for blood and gore, but that's not the case.  This is pretty much what Rick Remender was calling the, "overnight ten year success story".  I have a lot of books under my belt, but this one stuck to the wall and now folks take notice.  It seems from this point you're judged, not from when you labored ten years ago.  But it's like that in many industries.

BF: You just mentioned your previous work, and earlier on, the fact that you were out of the industry for a while. What made you leave and, subsequently, return to comics?

JR: Okay, time to fess up!  Hello, my name is Jimmie Robinson and I'm a video game addict.

I've always played video games.  Since I was a wee lad back in the 1970s when they first hit with Pong.  But it wasn't until 2000-2001 that I fell in head first.  For years I was in too deep, I had all the game consoles, I had import game consoles, I was even writing game reviews for websites - but the worst was playing online games.  Console and computer games that were finite would allow me to get some comics done.  But the 24/7 online world of gaming was pure geek crack (especially for a perfectionist gamer who must have every little tidbit).  I can't tell you how many weeks, months, seasons just blurred by, how my life went to hell in a hand basket.  Even today I still have flashbacks and video game withdrawals, hahaha!  I could step back into that world in the blink of an eye.

But you know what got me back in?  Eric Stephenson at Image Comics called me up just before Christmas and asked, "Where's that Avigon GN, you and Che' Gilson solicited back in 2000?"  I was amazed.  I thought when I fell off the planet I was just another forgotten comic artist.  Well, I got my act together and 5 months later Avigon: Gods & Demons (released in 2005 – ed.) was done.  But I was still playing games when I could.  So, last year, on my birthday, I went cold turkey and donated ALL my games and consoles to my local Boys & Girls Club of America.  I decided to get my life back.  Not just for comics, but for me—as a person.

I fell back into comics just as easy as I’d left and I just started cranking out pages again.  I wasn't gone that long, but things had changed.  Valentino was no longer head of publishing at Image, and the folks making books there had no idea who I was.  I loved it.  A clean slate, a new start.  In one year, from August to August, I had a 200-page Avigon GN, Bomb Queen #1-4, Bomb Queen vs. Blacklight, and the Bomb Queen WMD trade.  I even landed the What If? Wolverine gig with Marvel. Yeah, I was back.

BF: At the start of Queen of Hearts #1, we’re introduced to a new character, ‘Hollywood agent’ James Barry. He doesn’t seem to lay all his cards on the table—what will his role in the story be?

JR: I don't want to spill all the beans, but his role is to topple the Queen, as we see in all her stories.  Bomb Queen is about many things, but for the character herself it's all about control.  Either through force, or sex, or whatever.  In this case, we see her rule threatened when the tables are turned on her.  James Barry becomes a platform for me to talk about Bomb Queen's origin, and to explore her sexual side.  And how she needs to balance her desires with her "work" of ruling the city. 

In short, you don't get your honey where you get your money.  Or, you don't fish off the company pier.  These often result in tears as we see in Bomb Queen II.  But instead of crying we get explosions and death.  The Queen is the wrong person to abuse in affairs with the heart.  This also gives her another dimension to the reader, and I even set up a supporting cast that we'll see more of in the future.

BF: Queen of Hearts also sheds more light on Bomb Queen’s history with the Four Queens, a ragtag band of four villainesses. How integral are they to Bomb Queen’s world?

JR: Very important, because in my mind, the Four Queens represent what we think of as villains in superhero comics.  And I use that [term] to point out that Bomb Queen is NOT like other villains.  The Four Queens were a typical for comics.  They wanted money, they were in it for greed and used their powers for that gain—and society reflected that.  The city was "normal" at the time, so it's important to show the difference in how they affected society versus when Bomb Queen took over. 

Also, there's a twist in the story that brings the Four Queens’ history screaming back into the present.  Again, I won't spoil anything, but for those already reading the book, they might be in for quite a shock.  This new series takes a look back into those "golden years" when the city was "normal", so those expecting full-out mayhem, as in the first series, may have to wade through some of that normality until we hit pay dirt. 

Hopefully, folks won't see this as "selling out" or toning it down, but as a "set up" for a great payoff in the end of this particular story arc.  I'm just adding another layer to her character.

BF: Do you have any plans for a third volume at this point?

JR: Oh, you don't know the half of it!  Bomb Queen has plans clear into 2008.  And trust me, I'm not making light when I say BIG things are on the horizon.  Not only will you see effects in the story, but you'll also see changes behind the scenes as well.  So yes, a third series is in the works, and even a fourth!  The question that continues to haunt my email box is when Bomb Queen will change to an ongoing series. This is still on the plate, as far as I'm concerned. 

There's a wealth of material for me to run with.  I have several story ideas surrounding the Queen and her rule as dictator over New Port City.  I have plans in how she fits in the Image Universe, too.  I subscribe to Erik Larsen's view of Image's Universe.  In short, there isn't one "solid" universe, it's the version in each creator's book.  Larsen has killed everyone in the world in Savage Dragon - but that's in his dimension, using that as an example.  In my view Bomb Queen, and her city, play a role in the Image Universe as I create it.  There are many Image characters, over a number of Image imprints.  Often, the character is the sole focus of the book.  But in Bomb Queen we're talking about the control over an entire city!  This is geography, not just biography.  And with that power you can imagine the possibilities. 

Sure, many Image characters can beat down Bomb Queen, but she is more than a "person".  And when you tip that domino there's an entire stack right behind it.  In Bomb Queen's book the ripples of her city could affect others dramatically.  No, not in their books, but in mine.

BF: Does all this imply that there are plans to have other Image characters appear in Bomb Queen, or in a one-shot like Bomb Queen vs. Blacklight? I’m sure fans who crave stories in the Bomb Queen/Savage Dragon vein would kill to see the two of them square off...

JR: Well, I'm sure they would, but let's not assume anything so soon.  I am talking with other creators about.... things.  But exactly who, when and where?  We should let the dust settle, but it will be clear soon.  I'm looking at this as a mini-event in Bomb Queen's world.  And it's all just for the fun of it.  Why not?  It's not going to break the Internet in half if I do some crossovers. 

To be clear, this only affects my title, not "across" multiple books.  I'm not out to span a story across the books where you need to read them all just to understand it.  This IS a Bomb Queen story, and her world.  Who joins her world?  Well, that news will hit soon enough.  Some folks will just be acknowledged, some have active parts, some will bleed, and some might even die.  It's a Bomb Queen world and we're just living in it.

And I promise, you won't be bored.

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