DC Comics Bombshells

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DC Comics Bombshells refers to a line of figurines released by DC Collectibles depicting DC Comics superheroines in a retro 1940s look based on designs by Ant Lucia.[1] The line has further expanded to encompass variant covers of DC Comics[2] and licensed memorabilia such as art prints, T-shirts, mugs and their own ongoing comic book.[3]

Initial conception[edit]

The DC Comics Bombshells franchise began "in spring 2011 at a convention in Chicago where DC Collectibles found Ant Lucia’s prints re-imaging DC superheroines as pin-up girls."[4] World War II history, fashion, and air planes were studied to conceive the franchise. DC Comics worked with Udon Entertainment to produce illustrations. In fall 2011, four character designs of Wonder Woman, Stargirl, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn were used to pitch the idea of a nine-inch statue line. DC later asked Ant Lucia to redesign their initial conception of a retro Wonder Woman. Tim Miller was requested to handcraft the sculptures. In 2013, the first sculpture of the franchise, Wonder Woman, was sold in stores.

Ant Lucia, the creator of the sculptures and variant covers design, drew a heavy influence from World War II aesthetics and pin-up models.[1] He juxtaposed past pin up girl designs with current rockabilly culture. The sculptures created a convergence between modern ideologies regarding feminine agency and nostalgia for the golden age of comics. The Bombshells variant covers were able to cultivate a coherent narrative by placing contemporary characters in the past. Ant Lucia details his process on detaching the characters from their current history and the construction of their new placement in World War II era, "In our initial conversations, we brainstorm on who this character is and if they were set in this period, what elements would make up their costume."[5] The sculptures were able to pay homage to acclaimed images in America’s 1940s cultural landscape. Wonder Woman’s sculpture has noticeable similarities to Rosie the Riveter’s famed iconic image. The similarities between the two icons is seen in the both of the characters’ bandanna pinned back hair and nearly identical color scheme of red, yellow and blue.

The American pop culture references of the sculptures become more tongue-in-cheek in Harley Quinn and the Joker’s statue as to better reflect the former’s explosive behavior. The Bombshells statue for Harley Quinn depicts her dressed in a World War II nurse's uniform. Harley Quinn is seen dipping a flustered, lipstick-stained Joker in an army uniform. The sculpture was a humorous rendition of the infamous "Kissing on VJ" photo where a sailor embraces a nurse in a moment of celebration.

DC Collectibles Statues[edit]

Batgirl, First Batch, one piece
Batgirl, Second Batch, three separate pieces

The first statue was released in September 2013 with an initial assortment of twelve statues planned for the line. High interest in the line has meant that the line has continued beyond the initial twelve statues, with releases planned through 2019.[6] The DC Collectibles statues have matching "steel plate" bases. The earliest statues were shipped with the nameplates attached to the bases; some statues were shipped as single solid pieces. However, DC began using separate pieces attached with pegs or magnets due to a high percentage of damaged early statues. Between 2013 and 2016, the statues had Edition Sizes of 5200 (during DC's New 52 era).[7] Beginning with 2017's Katana, the statues currently have Edition Sizes of 5000.[8]

Deluxe Statues[edit]

The Deluxe statues have diorama-style bases instead of the shared "steel plate" bases of the regular statue line. Currently, they have Edition Sizes of 5000 each.

Comic books[edit]

DC Comics Bombshells[edit]

Based on the increased interest in the property, a digital-first ongoing series written by Marguerite Bennett and various artists began in July 2015, with a printed comic book following in August 2015.[3] The series ran for 100 digital issues, concluding in June 2017 and 33 print issues with the final issue release in August 2017.

In her initial conception for building a narrative out of Ant Lucia’s designs, Marguerite Bennett has stated, "We were able to retro-engineer this complete environment that lets them showcase their powers that lets them have good relationships and friendships that they wouldn’t have been able to explore in another sphere....Going down to the smallest details that [Ant Lucia] puts into the statues and creating whole backstories for items".[9] Bennett also speaks on her decision to incorporate mainstream canonical backstories of characters in this new world.[10] Bennett explored traditional genres and mediums of the 1940s such as radio shows and propaganda films to provide a realistic history for the Bombshells franchise. Bennett speaks on this decision when she states, "Each of the heroines actually has, essentially, her own genre. Batwoman started off as this cheesy radio adventure reel, Wonder Woman is a war story, Supergirl is a propaganda film, Zatanna is this Hammer horror film, Catwoman is like a noir spy story."[9] Bennett concludes and acknowledges the importance of the decision, "We were able to complete this whole new world that wasn’t just one thing because no woman is just one thing. So they each got to have a distinct voice, a distinct personality".[9] The foundation of feminist tones in the comic are seen in the structure of this atypical history as Bennett says, "We wanted to make a principle of the series to have the conceit that in this alternate history World War II the women came first. No heroine is derivative of a male counterpart. They are the heroes".[9]

The series is collected in trade paperbacks.

Title Binding Material collected Publication date ISBN
DC Comics Bombshells Volume 1: Enlisted Trade Paperback DC Comics Bombshells #1–6 (Digital Chapters 1–18) March 2, 2016 978-1401261320
DC Comics Bombshells Volume 2: Allies Trade Paperback DC Comics Bombshells #7–12 (Digital Chapters 19–36) July 13, 2016 978-1401264482
DC Comics Bombshells Volume 3: Uprising Trade Paperback DC Comics Bombshells #13–18 (Digital Chapters 37–54) March 15, 2017 978-1401268770
DC Comics Bombshells Volume 4: Queens Trade Paperback DC Comics Bombshells #19–24 (Digital Chapters 55–72) June 27, 2017 978-1401274078
DC Comics Bombshells Volume 5: The Death of Illusion Trade Paperback DC Comics Bombshells #26-29; Annual #1 (Digital Chapters 76-90) October 17, 2017 978-1401276034
DC Comics Bombshells Volume 6: War Stories Trade Paperback DC Comics Bombshells #25, 30-33; Annual #1 (Digital Chapters 73-75,91-100) April 3, 2018 978-1401276027

Bombshells: United[edit]

A second digital-first series launched in August 2017 with the print release following in September 2017. Picking up from the end of the previous Bombshells series, the new series begins in 1943 with the Bombshells now back in America. Each arc focuses on a specific group of characters, with the first storyline introducing the Bombshells versions of Donna Troy and Cassie Sandsmark.[11] The series was cancelled after 38 digital installments and 19 print issues.[12]

The series is collected in trade paperbacks.

Title Binding Material collected Publication date ISBN
Bombshells United Volume 1: American Soil Trade Paperback Bombshells United #1–6 (Digital Chapters 1–12) June 27, 2018 978-1401280239
Bombshells United Volume 2: War Bonds Trade Paperback Bombshells United #7–12 (Digital Chapters 13–24) October 17, 2018 978-1401284725
Bombshells United Volume 3: Taps Trade Paperback Bombshells United #13-19 (Digital Chapters 25-38) March 5, 2019 978-1401288266

Characters[edit]

Batwoman- In the 1930s, Kate Kane was an "adventurer." She kept her father’s company afloat in the depression and fought in the Spanish Civil War with her then girlfriend, Renee Montoya. In 1940s, Kate is "The Batwoman" a vigilante inspiring hope in Gotham City. She was named after the bat and baseball uniform she uses to fight crime in. She is recruited by Amanda Waller to enlist in the Bombshells war effort.[13]

Wonder Woman- Diana Prince was first introduced in the series as she disrupted an air raid between US troops and an unidentified opponent because they were causing unintentional harm to Themyscira. Diana soon meets Steve Trevor and cultivates a need to protect him from his impending execution for harming Themyscira. With the help of Mera, Aquawoman, Diana helps Steve escape. Diana soon joins the United States Army corps and fights against Germany.[14]

Supergirl and Stargirl- Kortni Duginova and Kara Starikov were raised together as sisters after Kara’s Kryptonian pod landed in Russia. Their parents believed they were "like the twin Goddesses-made where the sky met the Earth. We are blessed by the creatures of the Forest and the creatures of the sky, she says. Her little fallen stars".[15] After their parents met unfortunate circumstances, Kortni and Kara lived in the Dormitory For Daughters of the Workers’ Revolution and had dreams of flying for the Night Witches, "the most terrifying bombers of the Soviet Air Force".[15] At an enlistment exam, Kara’s Kryptonian powers were revealed and the sisters were turned into propaganda for Russia’s war effort. Kara is described as "The wonder of Soviet science-the supergirl walks among us! A gift from the heavens, to favor the motherland in crushing her enemies" in a Russian newsreel. Kortni is described as, "Armed with the strength of the revolutionary soviet cosmonaut program—the Stargirl wields the cosmic staff. A design pioneered by comrade Ipati Dugin, the Stargirl’s distinguished father" [16]

Zatanna- In Germany, Zatanna is held captive by The Joker’s Daughter. She performs in a cabaret singing songs embedded with her signature magic. Zatanna meets John Constantine and in order to save his life, she transforms him into a rabbit. Zatanna is forced to aid the Joker’s Daughter summon a dangerous, dark beast called the Tenebrus, who will bring about destruction. She conspires with Constantine on how to successfully revolt against the Joker’s Daughter, yet her affection for him is constantly used against her.[17]

The Batgirls- Harper Row has a chance encounter with Batwoman where she aids in stopping a crime. Batwoman leaves Harper her Bat, which inspires Harper to form the Batgirls with her best friends and coworkers, Nell Little and Kathy Duquesne. The trio quickly grows in ranks as Bette Kane, Alysia Yeoh, and Felicity Smoak join them. The Batgirls stop corruption from running rampant in an orphanage in order to rescue Harper’s brother Cullen and come across Tim Drake. They both join their ranks as well.[18]

Variant covers[edit]

In June 2014, a selection of DC Comics monthly titles featured variant covers featuring the DC Comics Bombshells.[2] This was repeated again in August 2015.[3] The Bombshells variant covers were able to cultivate a coherent narrative that placed contemporary characters in the past. Ant Lucia details his process on detaching the characters from their current history and the construction of their new placement in the World War II era, "We brainstorm on who this character is and if they were set in this period, what elements would make up their costume. Obviously with Batgirl's mask- what would she actually use left to her own devices to create this style costume in that period? What would her persona be — maybe she is this pilot alter-ego superhero? We take a little time in thinking about who these characters are and who they might be in this alternate reality" [5]

Merchandise[edit]

Based on the success of the initial statues, the Bombshells designs have been licensed out to a number of other companies for a range of merchandise. DC Collectibles released a set of three busts (Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Mera) based on artwork by Emmanuela Lupacchino and sculpted by Jack Mathews.[19] Another company, Icon Heroes, has released a Bombshells Harley Quinn bust. Cryptozoic Entertainment have released a line of PVC statues based on the Bombshells designs, as well as Mystery-Box mini figurines titled 'Lil Bombshells. Funko have released a range of Bombshells figures in their POP! and Rock Candy lines and a wave of Mystery Mini figurines. The Tonner Doll Company have also released fashion dolls of Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Batwoman in their Bombshells designs.

Action figures[edit]

Based on the continuing success of the line, DC Collectibles announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 that they would be releasing a line of articulated action figures based on the DC Comics Bombshells line as part of their 'Designer Series' range of 6.75-inch figures. The first wave of figures will be released in April 2017 and feature Bombshells versions of Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and Batwoman.[20] In a trailer for the series released on the DC Entertainment YouTube Channel they also revealed that a second wave would be released in fall 2017, with a figure of the Bombshells version of Mera previewed.[21] The second wave features: Mera, Batgirl, Hawkgirl and Katana. The third wave was also announced, consisting of Bumblebee and Supergirl to be released in early 2018, but it has been cancelled.[22] A two-pack of Joker and Harley Quinn have been announced for release in 2018, before being re-solicited as single release figures for 2019 before again being cancelled[23] Prototypes of Black Canary and Zatanna figures have also been shown though remain unreleased.

Video games[edit]

Infinite Crisis - Alternate Bombshells costumes were added for Harley Quinn in February 2015 and Stargirl in March 2015.

DC Universe Online - DC Comics Bombshells content was added to the massive multiplayer online game in August 2015. The story mission The Bombshells Paradox sees the Bombshells version of Talia Al Ghul cause a tear in reality and leads to the players interacting with the Bombshells versions of Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Harley Quinn & Catwoman. Various cosmetic items based on the Bombshells look and a number of posters with Ant Lucia's original Bombshells artwork were also added to the game.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b DC Collectibles A Bombshell of A Journey. DC Comics. January 22, 2015.
  2. ^ a b DC Announces Bombshell Variants for June. Comic Book Resources. March 14, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c First Look DC Collectibles Newest Bombshells. DC Comics. May 15, 2015.
  4. ^ https://www.dccomics.com/blog/2015/01/22/dc-collectibles-a-bombshell-of-a-journey
  5. ^ a b "Sunday Geekersation: Ant Lucia drops Bombshell heroines". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  6. ^ Bombshells: An Oral History of the DC Collectibles Line that Exploded in Popularity. Comic Book Resources. October 2, 2015.
  7. ^ https://previewsworld.com/Catalog/MAY160359
  8. ^ https://www.previewsworld.com/Catalog/JUL160448
  9. ^ a b c d DC Comics News (22 July 2016). "Marguerite Bennett talks DC Bombshells at SDCC16". Retrieved 4 July 2017 – via YouTube.
  10. ^ "How 'DC Bombshells' Found a WWII Story In Harley Quinn's Bedroom Eyes". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  11. ^ "DC Comics Bombshells Return to Combat in New Series 'Bombshells United'". dccomics.com. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  12. ^ https://www.comicsbeat.com/exclusive-marguerite-bennett-says-good-bye-to-bombshells/
  13. ^ "DC Comics: Bombshells (2015–2017) #1: Print Version – Comics by comiXology". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  14. ^ "DC Comics: Bombshells (2015–2017) #4 – Comics by comiXology". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  15. ^ a b "DC Comics: Bombshells (2015–2017) #1: Print Version – Comics by comiXology". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  16. ^ "DC Comics: Bombshells (2015–2017) #10 – Comics by comiXology". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  17. ^ "DC Comics: Bombshells (2015–2017) #7 – Comics by comiXology". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  18. ^ "DC Comics: Bombshells (2015–2017) #19 – Comics by comiXology". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  19. ^ https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/dc-comics-bombshells-expands-busts-892987
  20. ^ DC Bombshells Storm San Diego Comic Con with First Ever 6.75" DC Collectibles Action Figure Line. DC Comics. July 21, 2016
  21. ^ DC Collectibles – DC Bombshells Action Figures...Coming Soon!. DC Entertainment. November 1, 2016
  22. ^ DC Designer Series Bombshells Supergirl & Bumblebee Figures Canceled?!?
  23. ^ DC Comics Cancels Your Opportunity to Make Ant Lucia’s Harley Quinn Kiss The Joker Yourself. Bleeding Cool. December 13, 2018